All research for this post was provided by Dr. Dahn Shaulis, professor and researcher from New Jersey.
As Dr. Shaulis writes:
“Check out these photos I took in Philadelphia last week. They illustrate the sociological imagination, showing the links between our present economic system and the gross inequality that it creates. This is not a doctored image. It’s an image of a homeless person sleeping behind a Strayer advertising sign in Center City, Philadelphia, a short distance away from City Hall” (e-mail).
The photographs are also by Dahn and they show Strayer College in Philadelphia where a homeless man spends the night to get escape the ravages of the cold. The irony is ice cold, as is the weather in Philly, for this is precisely what students will suffer as they face down accelerating debt for useless college degrees and no jobs.
Historically, some of Strayer’s executives have made out like bandits.
Strayer also gets about $100,000,000 a year in Pell Grant money, which means $100,000,000 taken away from public schools each year. It’s a big moneymaker for a few, and a drain on almost everyone else (Historically, some of their executives have made out like bandits (http://www.help.senate.gov/imo/media/for_profit_report/PartII/Strayer.pdf).
Here’s Strayer’s tv advertising.
For-profit predatory college sloth
As the privatization of education moves at lightening speeds, the following is the predictable direction of higher education — education using the business model as a vehicle to asset strip citizens, students and taxpayers. It is not surprising that the Apollo Group, owner of the University of Phoenix, is a leader in “innovation” (business slang for ‘market based education’) using the organized criminal business model.
Outsourcing jobs through such sordid treaties like NAFTA has been the norm now since Bill Clinton passed the market based ‘treaty’ back in the 1990’s. Now, education is being outsourced faster than industrial jobs.
The University of Phoenix will now outsource their ‘business practices’ to provide students in the US a useless degree, vacant of education and devoid of thinking. The college, amongst other for-profits in the syndicate and cartel, are nothing but call centers.
And they specifically target veterans, working people, the down and out and minorities (If you’ve served our country, you could qualify for these VA loan rates.)
Take a look:
“Not Surprised Outsourcing for ACC; Message for AECCSS employees:
“The Technical Assistance Center’ (TAC) will soon participate in a pilot program to test the long-term viability of outsourcing services through an existing University partnership.
The pilot is targeted to begin Monday, January 20th, 2014 . We will partner with a company called HCL and will leverage agents in India to support the anticipated increase in call volume surrounding the undergraduate rollout of New Classroom.
These agents will continue to take a portion of technical support calls throughout the duration of the pilot. The rest of ACC is just a matter of time.
How should we handle this? Be happy and content in the red socked lined unemployment line. How should I handle any personal feelings I have for or against the TAC pilot? The pilot in TAC provides an opportunity for the University to explore ways the organization can provide effective customer service while maintaining financial stability. We ask that you maintain your professionalism throughout the pilot phase and not share your personal feelings with others, including students.
Using charity to promote theft
Then there the Apollo charity partnerships that are now bubbling from the dungeons of higher education despair.
The Apollo Group/University of Phoenix is very slick, buying more “goodwill” by aligning with charities such as Boys and Girls Clubs and Goodwill Enterprises…http://finance.yahoo.com/news/goodwill-university-phoenix-join-forces-200000666.html?bcmt=comments-postbox
This reminds me of Jerry’s Kids’, you know the televised muscular dystrophy fraud set up by Jerry Lewis. Not much went to the kids. Even charity has been commodifed under capitalism. ‘Goodwill’ is now more appearance than reality in huckster America.
University of Phoenix to launch and MBA program to meet market needs
And here’s one to make you run to the porcelain thrown. The for-profit higher educational predator, the Apollo Group, is also starting another MBA program at University of Phoenix to “meet market needs.” The degree is an MBA with a concentration in Finance.
Apollo Groups uses the ultimate in doublespeak and slick sophist rhetoric to sell this new major. The bolding is mine:
“As the country begins recovering from the latest economic recession, it is critical to our nation’s economic success to provide talented, ethically responsible individuals access to education options that further strengthen their skill sets in finance fields,” said University of Phoenix School of Business Dean Dr. Bill Berry. “University of Phoenix is excited to launch our new Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Finance degree because it offers students the opportunity to gain additional knowledge and skills based on current employer needs to help them advance their career goals in the finance sector ( http://finance.yahoo.com/news/university-phoenix-launches-additional-master-130000501.html).
One author noted that:
“Yeah, I just accidentally saw a TeeVee advert for U of Phoenix. Slick as hell, and they are using big names in industries and professions to hawk their crap for them. Yes, indeed, Finance MBA, because the finance sector (sic) needs more crooks.
I suppose we always need more predatory minions and supplicants, even if everyone else is also producing a glut of MBAs with little or no future. But to claim that the University of Phoenix is doing this in order to produce more “ethically responsible” business people is ludicrous, perhaps even funny-if you enjoy pathos, suffering, pain and sadistic business practices..
So, what are the teacher unions doing to stop the bloodletting by the for-profit college syndicate?
The answer: nothing!
Researcher and Professor Dahn Shaulis wrote Craig P. Smith the Director of the American Federation of Teachers Higher Education division to ask why the union is buying for-profit college stocks like pancakes. He also asked why disinvestment from this for-profit drive by sector is not being considered, for after all it is not just undermining public education, what AFT says it protects, but it is also putting pensioners and future retirees at risk. Dr. Shaulis spoke with Craig in Washington and asked for answers.
Initially he never got any. Below is his follow up e-mail to Craig Smith sent by Dr. Shaulis:
I haven’t heard anything from you, AFT or CFT since I spoke to your group in Washington.
I take this to mean that AFT won’t do much more publicly against for-profit predators in higher education. Keeping the membership ignorant of this situation is, in my opinion, a form of complicity. Hundreds of thousands of people every year will get caught in this for-profit trap of default and debt peonage if people who are aware don’t stand up.
Proposing to “do things behind the scenes” because you are concerned about teacher retirements shows a strategy based on little courage and little faith.
Here’s Danny Weil’s latest article on for-profit colleges. Note the reference to CFT and teachers unions.
AFT is up to its neck in for-profit stocks for their pension portfolios so when Craig finally did answer Dahn Shaulis here is what he said. Notice there is no mention of disinvestment in what can only be called a racket.
“I’m sorry for the delay in response. Our work against for-profit fraud and abuse covers several departments at AFT and includes cooperation with different facets of the federal government so it took some time to gather this all together as you can see from the attachments.
I would also like to mention that the issue of for-profit fraud and abuse is not kept separate from our other work. Because it is a huge driver of student debt, it is in our student debt report. Because of their deceptive recruiting practices we’ve warned prospective college students using our Just Ask app at whichcollege4u.org. We meet weekly with a broad coalition of groups working on this issue to shape policy and advocacy.
When Senator Harkin began his investigation in 2011 we provided a great deal of assistance to his office including a briefing with President Weingarten. We ensured our members were aware of this important investigation with this Q&A in our March 2011 On Campus magazine. For-profit issues have also been covered in On Campus in 2012 here and here
More recently, because of regulatory changes noted below we’ve ramped up our Hill work on for-profit issues. We’ve been educating members of Congress on the importance of gainful employment regulation. We’ve promoted several dear colleague letters. We have opposed bills like the Foxx-Kline Supporting Academic Freedom through Regulatory Relief Act, which seek to stymie gainful employment regulation and is supported by for-profit institutions. We have supported bills like Durbin and Harkin’s recently reintroduced POST Act that takes particular care to protect student veterans.
Chairman Kline of the House Education and the Workforce Committee requested comments on HEA a few months ago; ours included a significant section on for-profit fraud and abuse.
After the original gainful employment rules were vacated by the courts the Department of Education declared their intent to convene a negotiated rulemaking panel on gainful employment (and a number of other issues). We submitted extensive written comments. We also met with Martha Kanter’s office to discuss the importance of the issue. And finally, perhaps most importantly, we arranged for one of our members, Mike Rosen of Milwaukee Area Technical College, AFT Local 212, to testify in person at a hearing in Minneapolis. His experience with for profits and the way his local has fought back on behalf of students is truly inspiring.
The gainful employment panel will go into their second round of negotiations next week and they are not expected to reach consensus. At that point we will once again be pushing the Department of Education to write strong regulations to protect students.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is also interested in for-profit issues. We have worked with CFPB staff on issues of preventing and reporting fraud and abuse.
At the urging of our coalition the Federal Trade Commission has begun using their considerable investigatory and enforcement powers to pursue for-profit fraud and abuse. We are encouraging them to go after deceptive marketing practices and to improve the Consumer Sentinel complaint portal.
As referenced above MATC, AFT Local 212 has done extraordinary work in Milwaukee keeping public money out of for-profit institutions that hurt students. The press release on their work is included among the attachments.
As we discussed on the phone we encourage our members to use their power as owners of publicly traded for profit companies. Attached are examples of shareholder letters in NYC promoting lobbying disclosures and other fair practices. We are working with more locals to spread this practice of shareholder action on not only for-profits, but a number of social justice issues as Dan Pedrotty mentioned during our phone call.
Looking forward to continuing our discussion”.
Craig P. Smith
Director | AFT Higher Education
T: 202-879-4559 | F: 202-393-6386 | E: email@example.com
American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO
555 New Jersey Ave. N.W. | Washington, DC 20001 | 202-879-4400
www.aft.org | www.facebook.com/AFTunion | www.twitter.com/AFTunion
(e-mail to Dahn Shaulis)
Craig Smith is slick and skirted the issue nicely by reiterating the failed Obama policy of ‘gainful employment’ (an oxymoron in America if there ever was one).
Yes, the teacher unions are now hedge fund shell games that invest in for-profit syndicates. One can only be reminded of Jimmy Hoffa and the teamster pension funds that were given over the Mafia that is before Hoffa went missing (http://www.socialistproject.ca/leftstreamed/ls194.php).
And then there are the Genesis loans
What big banks can’t squeeze out from the US government’s Title IV funds, they squeeze out from working class students and their families through private loans. This is typical Mafia behavior.
Wells Fargo appears to be involved in predatory behavior at multiple levels, including institutional investments in Corinthian Colleges (a sub-prime college) and a “partnership” with Genesis Lending (sub-prime student loans).
As I have noted before, Genesis is lending money to students at rates exceeding 14%. This is a money machine for Wells Fargo at the rate they are getting money from the FED. Get US money for close to nothing, and then invest in predatory loans that squeeze the future from working class folks.
Goldman Sachs, Barclays, and Deutsche Bank are also “partnering” with Genesis student loans.
Genesis Financial Solutions (Subprime Loans)
I’m not sure of the entire money machine/predatory process, from origination at the FED (including quantitative easing) to collections and to SLABS. That would probably make a great book. The only problem is that those who know the inner workings wouldn’t dare explain the process while they’re still raking in the money. This is not likely to happen with the Obama administration’s penchant for prosecuting whistleblowers.
So, there you have the latest in for-profit college news where students die on the altar of debt while CEO’s and Wall Street asset strip both citizens and the country.
For-profit colleges are simply a vehicle for asset stripping, as are most American institutions. Stocks are doing well, even as students end up in the streets.
This is the best document I have seen regarding “third party lenders” who collect on predatory student loans at for-profit colleges.