HUFFINGTON POST: Big For-Profit Colleges Quit APSCU

Career College Central Summary:

  • Some of the largest for-profit college companies — including, last month, DeVry and Kaplan — have recently left the industry's main trade group, the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU). The defections have come amid a rapid decline in the reputations and fortunes of many for-profit colleges — and the apparent failure of the D.C.-based trade association's strategy to protect the industry, which in recent years received as much as $33 billion in federal aid.
  • Some of the companies that have left APSCU face mounting federal and state law enforcement investigations for fraud and other misconduct. Some have seen dramatic declines in share prices and student enrollments. Meanwhile, APSCU has pursued a confrontational approach to the Obama Administration's efforts to hold bad actors accountable, aggressively lobbying lawmakers, making extensive campaign contributions, and hiring expensive lawyers to repeatedly challenge new regulations in court. But the approach recently led to defeats before two federal judges, and, although APSCU lobbyists keep pushing, it thus far has not produced legislation to overturn the Administration's signature "gainful employment" rule, which would cut off federal aid to career education programs that consistently leave students with overwhelming debt.
  • Occupants of the APSCU CEO job have for years been the beleaguered servant of a group of impatient, entitled owners of oversized for-profit colleges. The previous president, Virginia Democratic operative Harris Miller, abruptly resigned soon after the Administration issued the first, watered-down-but-still-potent version of the gainful employment rule. In January 2012, with its future on the line, APSCU brought in a higher stature president, former congressman Steve Gunderson (R-WI). He was described then as a "bridge builder." But his tenure has done little to demonstrate that.

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