Thursday, April 29, 2010

ED Opening Pandora’s Box

by Andrew Gillen

Inside Higher Ed reports that deputy under secretary of education Robert Shireman criticized the for profit sector in speech yesterday. Reeling off the amount of federal aid that each for profit school took in, one person commented:
"It was like fourth grade, with a teacher scolding students over their grades,"
Shireman then asked
What are taxpayers and students getting in return for that investment?
That is a very good question and I'm glad ED is asking it. In fact, I like to call it the 432 billion dollar question.

But I’m more than a little perturbed that those asking this question of the for profit sector are not quite so enthusiastic when it comes to asking the same question of the public and non-profit sectors. I guess it doesn't really matter too much - whatever weapons end up being used in the apparent crusade against for profit colleges in the near future (gainful employment, debt limits, etc.) will be applied to public and non-profit colleges as well in the not too distant future. Given the greater adaptability of the for profit sector, these changes will have a much more devastating and long lasting effect on the public and non-profit sectors.

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