For-profit Vocation Schools Expanding in Milwaukee

Another for-profit vocational school is expanding into Milwaukee with a new campus opening on the west side.

Meanwhile, a different for-profit school’s plan to open in the Historic Third Ward is being delayed by opposition to providing federal tax credits to help finance that downtown campus.

Both are among a growing number of for-profit schools expanding in the Milwaukee area, with detractors calling some schools "diploma mills," and supporters saying they provide opportunities for poor people.

Strayer University, operated by Strayer Education Inc., has agreed to lease 14,922 square feet of office space at Honey Creek Corporate Center, a business park north of I-94 and east of the Zoo Interchange.

Strayer will be at 9000 W. Chester Ave. through a lease brokered by Inland Cos. This will be the first Wisconsin campus for Arlington, Va.-based Strayer, which has more than 54,000 students at 78 campuses, mostly in the Southeast and mid-Atlantic regions.

Strayer Education’s latest annual shareholders report, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, mentions no pending lawsuits or investigations of its business practices.

That’s a contrast to Pittsburgh-based Education Management Corp., which plans to open its first Wisconsin campus in the Third Ward. Education Management’s schools include the Art Institute, and the company plans to open a Milwaukee Art Institute at 320 E. Buffalo St.
Art Institute schools in the Chicago area and Portland are being investigated by attorneys general in Illinois and Oregon over "the relationships between the schools and providers of loans to students attending the schools," according to SEC filings by Education Management. A similar investigation in Massachusetts ended without charges being filed.

Also, another Education Management school, Argosy University, is being sued in Texas by former students who claim Argosy misrepresented the importance of its accreditation, the availability of student loan repayment options and the quantity and quality of their career options.

Education Management spokesman Mark Toth declined to comment on the lawsuit, and said the company has cooperated with the state attorneys general on their investigations.

Gardner Group LLC is seeking federal New Markets tax credits to help finance renovations to its Third Ward building where Milwaukee Art Institute would be located. Garnder would lease 35,000 square feet to the company.

The Loan and Finance Committee at Milwaukee Economic Development Corp., a city-affiliated business lender, last week recommended giving $6.5 million in tax credits to Gardner Group, which would then sell them to U.S. Bank.

Michael Rosen, president of the union that represents Milwaukee Area Technical College teachers, wants MEDC’s Executive Committee to deny the tax credit request.

The institute "should not be rewarded with a public subsidy for its unscrupulous business practices and checkered legal record," said Rosen, president of American Federation of Teachers Local 212.

The Executive Committee on Tuesday delayed acting on the tax credit request. MEDC will seek more information about Education Management before considering the request, said city Comptroller Wally Morics, an Executive Committee member.

Meanwhile, Santa Ana, Calif.-based Corinthian Colleges Inc. plans to open a for-profit Everest College downtown campus at 1311 N. 6th St.

Opponents say Corinthian is a "diploma mill," citing lawsuits similar to those filed against Education Management. Corinthian officials said those lawsuits amount to a handful of complaints from the 100,000 students the company serves annually.

The Board of Zoning Appeals in February granted a special use permit for the Everest campus.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Online

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

Notify of