THE SEATTLE TIMES: Critics appeal to Inslee for probe of 6 for-profit colleges

Career College Central Summary:

  • A national advocacy group is urging Gov. Jay Inslee to start an investigation of the six Washington campuses in the for-profit Corinthian College chain as a way to protect Washington students enrolled in the schools.
  • But the state agency that regulates private career colleges says it has received no valid complaints about the six schools, known here as Everest colleges, and that it is not planning to start an investigation.
  • Corinthian, which operates 97 schools across the nation, is proposing to sell 56 of its college campuses to Education Credit Management Corporation (ECMC), a nonprofit student-loan guarantor. The move follows a number of investigations and lawsuits, which allege Corinthian falsified job-placement rates and pushed students to take expensive private student loans. Earlier this year, it agreed to sell or close its U.S. campuses.
  • The 56 schools up for sale include the six Everest campuses in Seattle, Renton, Tacoma, Everett, Vancouver and Bremerton.
  • Higher Ed Not Debt, a campaign run by the left-leaning Center for American Progress, has appealed to Inslee, requesting that he askthe state’s Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board to launch an investigation before the proposed sale is finalized in January, said Maggie Thompson, the group’s campaign manager.
  • The timing is important, she said, because Everest students will lose the ability to get a tuition refund or sue for fraud if the sale goes through.
  • But Jim Parker, the consumer-protection unit manager for the Workforce Training board, said he toured all six Everest college campuses in September, meeting with the president of each college and with students. He said he’s aware of the investigations and lawsuits going on in other states, but saw no evidence the Washington schools were being run irresponsibly.
  • “We’re not seeing any indication of substandard education or fraudulent business practices going on,” Parker said. He said four complaints have been filed against Everest Colleges in Washington in recent months; two were dismissed, and two others weren’t applicable because they concerned Everest’s national online courses, which aren’t regulated by the state.

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