Sen. Harkin: Grand Canyon and Others Bilking Public
A senator's examination of for-profit colleges paints them as dropout factories, where billions of dollars are squandered on financial aid and the schools' emphasis is more on attracting students than educating them.
The result, according to the report: Too many students are left with bad debt and no degree.
Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, released his report this week after two years probing the education industry, its profits and sometimes aggressive recruiting techniques.
"In this report, you will find overwhelming documentation of exorbitant tuition, aggressive recruiting practices, abysmal student outcomes, taxpayer dollars spent on marketing and profit, and regulatory evasion and manipulation," Harkin said. "These practices are not the exception. They are the norm. They are systemic throughout the industry with very few individual exceptions."
The report criticized Grand Canyon Education Inc., which operates Grand Canyon University in Phoenix and online, for not offering adequate career-planning assistance, but noted that a smaller proportion of its students default on their debt than the average at for-profit colleges.
Grand Canyon also spent a higher-than-average percentage of its revenue on marketing in 2009, 32.6 percent.
I laugh at the hypocrisy of management at Grand Canyon, who talk up their unaccredited school while they continue to sell their shares. They wouldn't do that if they really believed in what they were doing. Watch what they do, not what they say.