Wednesday Linkpile compiles, for your information and delight, links to noteworthy news articles pertaining to all things online and higher-educational.
- Career colleges under fire yet again. "For-Profit College Group Sued as U.S. Lays Out Wide Fraud," reports The New York Times. "The Department of Justice and four states on Monday filed a multibillion-dollar fraud suit against the Education Management Corporation, the nation’s second-largest for-profit college company, charging that it was not eligible for the $11 billion in state and federal financial aid it had received from July 2003 through June 2011."
- But the for-profits aren't taking this latest legal assault lying down. "For-profit colleges respond to increased scrutiny," the Associated Press reports. "The for-profit industry, which prefers the term "career colleges" or "proprietary" schools, grew rapidly over the last decade amid renewed calls to increase the nation's college graduation rate and a need to help laid-off workers find new careers. The private sector's slice of federal aid money grew from $4.6 billion to more than $26 billion between 2000 and 2010."
- This week also brings word of a "Squeeze from the Bottom: Tuition Hikes and Plateauing Graduation Rates." "This plateau in the amount of degrees conferred in a time of escalating tuition rates bodes ill for the expansion -- indeed, the perpetuation -- of an American middle class. Educational costs increase at a time when the economy has become increasing high-tech and the job market has begun demanding highly skilled workers. The fear is, then, that the digital age will see remunerative work go to only a small segment of the eligible workforce -- namely, those who can pony up the premium to gather the credentials and training -- while everyone else is left to shift for themselves."
- It can't be denied, however, that proprietary colleges are expanding educational opportunities. "For-Profit Colleges Draw Minorities, Stir Murky Debate On Student Success," reports The Huffington Post. "As the for-profit college sector has tripled in size over the past decade -- attracting government scrutiny over aggressive recruiting and poor student outcomes -- so has the rate of enrollment for low-income and minority students. Black and Hispanic students make up 28 percent of undergraduate students nationwide, but they represent nearly half of all students in the for-profit college sector, which includes large online schools such as the University of Phoenix, Kaplan University and smaller, privately owned trade schools."
- The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that a "Small Group of For-Profit Colleges Agrees to Observe Standards of Conduct." "Facing pressure to shape up from Democrats in Congress, the federal Education Department, accreditors, and even traditional nonprofit institutions, a small group of proprietary colleges is trying to set a good example for the rest of its sector."
- 9and10news.com reports that many students have larger concerns than the shenanigans of for-profit colleges. "Debt Deal Could Cost College Students Thousands." "Congress eliminated some student loans subsidies as part of the debt ceiling deal in Washington. Students will have to pay a half percent more in interest on new federally backed loans issued after July 1st of next year. The interest rebate subsidies were designed to reward students for 12 months of on time payments."
- Those students fortunate to secure financial aid may face a larger difficulty down the road. "Overwhelming Interest: Students Buried Under Unprecedented Amounts of Debt." "The inexorable presence of Sallie has many college graduates crying 'Uncle!' as a consequence of the huge debt obligation ever escalating tuition rates have forced on them. The Rebel Yell article reports that 'in 2008, a fourth of students who undertake university studies come out with at least $30,000 of student loan debt,' which owes to the fact that the average tuition cost is $25,000 a year at nonprofit private universities and $9,000 a year a public institutions."
- And compounding interest may be the least of these later troubles. "Moody's Warns Student Loans May Be The Next Financial Bubble To Burst," The Huffington Post reports. "The Moody's report points to the fact that student loan volume growth, unlike other lending, has accelerated during the recession. This is due in part to people seeking more education and retraining as well as some students opting to remain in college longer to avoid poor job prospects."