The sun sets on another week, leaving the for-profit higher education sector with darkening prospects in The Bluegrass State. "Ky. takes legal action against for-profit college," reads the hed to a July 28, 2011 Bloomberg Businessweek article. "Kentucky will seek a multi-million dollar judgment against an Owensboro-based career college that it alleges violated Kentucky's consumer protection laws," the article reports.
At issue are the college's practices, which Kentucky's attorney general considers exploitative and misleading. High on the list of grievances is the accusation that the for-profit gouges its students on textbooks, often leveraging them into the purchase by withholding student aid.
This textbook scuttlebutt comes close on the heels of another scandal involving the alleged witness-tampering of a person slated to testify at a Senate inquiry into career-college business practices. "Questions have been raised about whether [Iowa] Sen. Tom Harkin's office improperly coached a Senate committee witness," a July 28, 2011 Des Moines Register article reports, "but legal scholars say handling of the witness was routine."
The senator himself "denies wrongdoing," and the witness backs up his claim, averring that "neither Harkin nor his staff asked the witness to lie, but instead coached him about how to most concisely respond to questions using information he'd previously provided the senator's staff."
Scandals spurious or factual have done little to dampen the fortunes of for-profit colleges -- at least in the Buckeye State. A July 28, 2011 Oxford Press article reports that "online and distance learning jumped 150 percent in Ohio since 2004 to more than 93,000 students; nationwide 4.3 million students take at least one online course, according to federal and state data."
Career colleges have thus far claimed the lion's share of fresh enrollees, but the online appendages of recognizable nonprofit schools have offered a bit of competition. "Much of this growth has been fueled by schools like Kaplan, which operates in 20 states and 30 countries, and the University of Phoenix, which, too, has a global footprint," the Oxford Press article continues. "Traditional schools like Miami University and Sinclair Community College are also offering more web-based courses."
The fair winds buoying for-profits to further financial success show little sign of abating, even in the aftermath of the "gainful employment" imbroglio. Indeed, one fact that is becoming increasingly apparent is that private sector colleges and universities are here to stay.