Unusual Gathering of For-profit Colleges

With their institutions under increasing scrutiny on many fronts, leaders of for-profit colleges have responded in many ways — including lots of aggressive political lobbying and some forceful legal actions.

On Thursday, a group of the institutions took a slightly more positive tack: talking among themselves — and with leaders of sector-crossing national higher education associations — about how they can respond to the concerns about their integrity and improve their students’ learning experiences. At a closed two-day meeting at (of all places) the Princeton Club in New York City, the presidents of 32 regionally accredited career colleges gathered to discuss their common concerns and how they might work together to address them.

The meeting did not take place under the aegis of any existing group or, at least for now, with any specific, stated goal; a spokeswoman for the organizer, Dario A. Cortes, president of New York’s Berkeley College, said that the gathering had emerged from a series of discussions he had had with individual presidents about a need for a "national conversation" among the institutions. Whether it eventually leads to more meetings or some kind of common plan of action is still uncertain, said the spokeswoman, Laura Jewell.

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