Ride the Regulatory Wave

For-profit colleges should be leaders in measuring student learning and making the data public, said a panel of experts at the annual meeting of the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities, held here today.

Federal scrutiny of higher education won't stop at for-profits, the speakers said, in a discussion that included a few surprising moments, such as praise for a community college and a nuanced compliment for federal regulations on "gainful employment."

"We are moving toward some kind of general accountability," said Michael B. Goldstein, a lawyer who heads the higher education practice at the Washington law firm Dow Lohnes and who moderated the panel. "Something has to happen in terms of measuring value."

Peter P. Smith agreed, and told the audience of for-profit college leaders that it would be a smart tactical move to stay a step ahead of the accountability push.

“They’re going to run you out of town anyway,” said Smith, who is senior vice president of academic strategies and development for Kaplan Higher Education. “Get in front and make it look like a parade.

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