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No sports teams, but UP sponsors a stadium.
"The first thing to know about the free market is that it's not free, and turning Wall Street loose on college students will turn them into chattel, effectively indentured to investors." ~Jim Hightower
Ah, yeah, that's happening, more and more, faster and faster. No question.

You may have seen the internet banners: return to school in your 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond. Or become an air-conditioner fixer, nurse, dental hygienist, security guard, commercial artist, truck driver, paralegal, or IT guru. Better yet: get that MBA or PhD! Still looking for work? Retrain for the new economy.

Everybody wants to teach you something, and you'll find their snappy sales pitches on billboards, sports stadiums, bus wraps, subway stations, magazine covers, TV screens and public urinal ads. Hell, our local NFL team, the Arizona Cardinals, plays at the University of Phoenix Stadium—no peewee sign in the end zone for them! UP's parent company, the Apollo Group, shells out about $7.5 million a year for naming rights to the big aluminum muffin. The University of Phoenix itself has no sports teams, anywhere, but $7.5 million is walk-around change for Apollo, which, in addition to UP, owns more than a half-dozen other large for-profit colleges and universities. Based in Phoenix, the Apollo Group, a Fortune 500 company, made about $740 million last year. I guess you can run schools like a business.

(Continue reading below the fold.)

In today's brave new world of learnin', the classroom is being hijacked by Wall Street charlatans who value education as a profit-maker, rather than a social good. The college where I learned from Mr. Olsen, one of those teachers you remember your whole life, certainly had to account for revenues and expenditures, but those decisions weren't controlled by predatory private-equity peckerheads, like the CEO in Boca Raton whose fundraiser showcased the smooth stylings of Mr. 47 Percent. Mitt Romney of course views education through the same tunnel vision he sees everything: as a profit center. The other "bottom lines," social and environmental, are lost on him; he's what forester Aldo Leopold condemned in A Sand County Almanac: "[He] assumes, falsely I think, that the economic parts … will function without the uneconomic parts."

Candidate Romney has embraced the gargantuan venture capitalist education industry in a big way. He added Charlie Black and William Hansen, Beltway lobbyists who've represented for-profit colleges, to his campaign team; other Romney advisers from the industry include Rod Paige of Chartwell Education Group and Nina Rees from Knowledge Universe, Michael Milken's enterprise. Not surprisingly, Romney has also taken bucketfuls of Corp U cash. They know a Romney presidency (yeah, I threw up a little too) would slow down or even end congressional hearings into for-profit education, led by Sens. Dick Durban (D-IL) and Tom Harkin (D-IA), who, along with the White House, have been shining a bright light on the industry's shortcomings.

The upshot of their investigations is that the corporate schools' performance record sucks, yet they're more expensive and, on average, their CEOs take home seven times more than the five highest paid public university presidents. What also distinguishes many for-profit goliaths is that they're frequently in trouble with the authorities. Wiki any of them, and there's usually a "Controversy" section filled with multi-million-dollar lawsuits. At Sen. Harkins' hearing this summer, he introduced a scathing report (250-page PDF), the result of a two-year investigation:

"In this report, you will find overwhelming documentation of exorbitant tuition, aggressive recruiting practices, abysmal student outcomes, taxpayer dollars spent on marketing and pocketed as profit, and regulatory evasion and manipulation," Mr. Harkin, an Iowa Democrat who is chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said in a statement on Sunday. NY Times

The Democrats' public focus on the for-profit college industry, whose profit relies nearly 90 percent on public funds, has resulted in new federal regulations, something the industry would like to reverse. And that's what Romney would do, hence the cash to his PAC and $40 million spent lobbying since 2007.

Large donations are troublesome because they suggest the donor will have outsized influence on the politician if elected. It's more troublesome when these great friends own businesses that seek to avoid government accountability for harms to the American people. And a great example of that is the for-profit college industry, which has engaged in more than a decade of waste, fraud, and abuse with taxpayer and student money. Public Report
Screw what education should be about, says Wall Street. Take out the guts but leave the economic scaffolding, where profit reigns—not educating a community, not fostering an informed and active citizenry, not advancing research or social equity, including economic improvements for all, not a select few. Check their boards of directors: financial players, not education experts. It's the same blinkered conviction that steered Romney's Bain years, it ruined people's lives, and it's a pretty shitty shaper of educational values. In addition to fleecing students (who swap horror stories in online communities), Wall Street's pursuit of coin in the classroom also threatens traditional state and private institutions. A Romney administration would run education the Bain Way—mindfuckingly worse.
In short, Governor Romney is pushing for much more privatization in higher education. Given his way, Romney's plan could transform our system of public higher education, once the envy of the world, into a disconnected tangle of diploma factories. These institutions would spit out into our increasingly complex and challenged society an increasing number of poorly trained students.… HuffPo
Walmart Education
Here in Phoenix you can't escape for-profit higher ed. Heck, this is the headquarters of Corporate U's 1,600-pound guerrilla, the University of Phoenix (UP), which John Sperling started in 1976—a former beatnik, Reed College and Berkeley grad with a PhD in economic history from Cambridge. He took UP public in 1994 and became a billionaire. Today UP's modern cement and glass "campuses" blanket the Valley of the Sun, seemingly plopped down at every freeway interchange. They're selling education to almost a half-million people in those buildings, but when UP leaves the complex could just as easily be filled with stockbrokers or bank executives. That would be fitting.  

UP is all over the country world now, more than 200 campuses, and they've unquestionably altered education's landscape—the most noticeable change being the mind-numbing growth of humungous for-profit schools: business, technical, medical and art colleges, multiplying like Cialis-nibbling rabbits. In the last decade alone, commercial colleges, universities and trade schools have grown 225 percent, increasing enrollment to 2.4 million students, and reaping revenue of $32 billion, most of it paid by you and me. Since 2001, for example, their share of Pell Grants, already in short supply, has grown from $1.5 billion to $7.5 billion. Collectively, Sen. Harkins' report says, the growing for-profit education industry has a terrible track record—providing crap service, exploiting students and bilking taxpayers. Sure, for-profit schools work for some students, but overall they suck and they've gotten bigger and suckier faster. Mitt Romney would continue the trend toward majorly suckdom.

[Romney] wants to run colleges and universities as if they were businesses, believing that our government would work better it were run like Bain Capital. Put another way, Mr. Romney's private equity tunnel vision may work well in the clubby atmosphere of the corporate boardroom, but is a prescription for the rapid spread of educational mediocrity that will retard social and economic progress. Mr. Romney's worldview charts a path toward more—not less—social inequity, which, if history is a reliable teacher, suggests a future of broken dreams and social chaos. HuffPo
Some students clearly benefit from the University of Phoenix, ITT, DeVry, Argosy, Kaplan, Carrington, Capella and other national juggernauts, and a few franchises have decent records, including UP's move toward transparency and accountability. It's like some charter schools do a fine job, although many do no better than the average public school and some perform a lot worse. I have friends who value the degree they received from the University of Phoenix (the chipper grads in the TV ads say "I'm a Phoenix!"), and I know administrators there who are dedicated professionals. And some arguments their lobbyists make hold water, like reaching "nontraditional students," including working adults. The model can work but it often doesn't, and the Romney-Ryan vision for higher ed would insure that it doesn't, by reversing some of the progress toward more transparency, accountability and honesty—undoing the administration's new regulations.

Corporate U's lobbyist in the 2010 PBS program College, Inc. says public universities have "turned their back" on students who don't come from wealthy elite families, so the for-profits are filling that need. Bull! You can't say traditional schools are too expensive and then charge more, which is what they do—on average $10,000 more for a four-year degree, and many are twice as costly. Two-year trade and vocational schools are even more expensive: three to five times the cost of community colleges. They'll counter that they don't receive state appropriations so they have to charge more, which might be understandable if their academic performance and job placement were top-notch. They're not, not by a long shot.

Public institutions haven't "turned their back" on anyone; they simply can't accommodate the growing numbers of people seeking a college diploma, mostly because their budgets have been ravaged by legislatures like ours in Arizona, dunderheads controlled by ALEC and other privatization goons, who've cut higher education nearly 22 percent in the last two years while student population keeps rising, to the point Arizona State University is the nation's largest school. The solution is not to turn higher ed's challenges over to Wall Street, but to fund public schools adequately. It's not hard to figure out who's not too keen on that: Wall Street firms and their GOP sycophants like Mitt Romney who preach market solutions, at the same time they push austerity programs at the state level to undercut their competition—public institutions.

The crisis can be healed by letting the magic market (aka Wall Street) lay its hands on the funding of college education. Get the government out of the student loan business, they preach, and let global speculators invest directly in students by covering their tuition. In other words, turn students into just another Wall Street commodity to be purchased by the wealthy. Jim Hightower
The gang that couldn't teach straight
Increasingly, for-profit higher ed resembles, in style and substance, the corrupt gang that took down the mortgage industry—tricking victims into buying risky products, bankrupting customers, fleecing taxpayers and rewarding the crooks. One of the most effective education lobbies in D.C. today, led by at least 14 former congressmen, represents for-profit enterprises owned by private-equity firms; trust me, they're not there working on behalf of teachers and students. In addition to pushing their own deregulation agenda, reminiscent of tearing down the financial firewalls in the '90s, the corporatists cripple public-sector institutions, applying money and pressure to:

• water down higher-ed regulations, accreditation, and oversight;
• shift funds from classroom instruction to marketing, recruitment, management salaries and investor returns;
• weaken valuable public-sector programs like Pell Grants;
• exploit the GI Bill and veterans' vulnerability;
• conceal their crappy graduation, job placement and loan default rates;
• drive students into bankruptcy, indenturing them to Wall Street's schools and banks;
• steer federal funding and opportunities toward CorpEd, where benefits mostly redound to managers and investors, not teachers and students, and certainly not the general public.

We can expect for-profit mouthpieces to continue producing studies defending their existence, but they can't bury the fact that many of them charge more for an inferior product, at the same time most of their profit is subsidized by taxpayers. The people running the Walmarts of education do well, students and the public not so much. That's the ugly core of the education "industry" that's metastasizing, with help from the Wall Street friends of Mitt "Borrow money from your parents" Romney.

Championing the competitive nature of the free enterprise system, Romney has famously advised college students to "shop around" for the best loan rates. As for his educational philosophy, Mr. Romney seems to be crusading for private for-profit institutions of higher learning, outfits that process a large number of students with efficiency and good returns on investment. HuffPo
Many for-profit colleges, trade schools, and ethereal online campuses are owned by Goldman Sachs and other ethical Orcs. Argosy University, which has 19 campuses nationwide, is owned by Education Management Corporation (EDMC), the nation's second largest big-mart retailer of higher ed, next to Apollo Group. EDMC's major investors include Goldman Sachs (41 percent) and two private-equity firms: Providence Equity Partners and Leeds Equity Partners. The majority investors at powerhouse Corinthian Colleges, which operates more than 100 strip-mall schools, include Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisee and other usual suspects. The head investor at Chancellor University, a Cleveland-based school, is former General Electric CEO and Romney supporter (and economic truther) Jack Welch, famous for his hacksaw and employee relations. And it wouldn't be a real Wall Street story without junk-bond king Michael Milken, who's co-founder and chairman of Knowledge Universe, another giant for-profit.

The Sootz on The Street haven't entered this market because they've suddenly grown a pair of ethical balls and are concerned about the state of education in America. Our higher-ed isn't failing academically; truth is, the U.S. has some of the finest public, nonprofit, and private colleges and universities in the world, one reason so many foreign students study here. Public institutions, though, for kids whose parents can't send them to a private school, are just woefully underfunded, thanks to GOP austerity policies that Romney would accelerate, forcing universities to raise tuitions and pursue corporate ties—naming rights to buildings, stadiums, endowed chairs, entire programs. In effect, even public universities are becoming less public and more corporate, which has prompted more than a few ethical and legal concerns.

The classroom competition and higher tuitions also leave an opening for the for-profit sector, but while UP and others may be successful at lobbying, marketing, and investor returns, they charge a lot more to do their most important job a lot worse. More than 75 percent of students in for-profit schools won't complete a degree in six years, double the failure rate at public colleges. The University of Phoenix is even worse: more than 90 percent of their students fail to graduate in six years. All told, more than half of for-profit students never earn a degree, and nearly half of the dropouts only stay in school four months. Heck, we used to derisively call them diploma mills, but as Charlotte Allen points out, they're non-diploma mills.

Then there's the students who do graduate from UP, ITT, Walden, Argosy and others. Although the recruiter shoveled some shinola like "90 percent of our graduates land a job right out of school," many students have a tough time finding work because their diplomas aren't as competitive. Some entry-level jobs the graduates do land, like working at Romney's Staples, don't pay enough to cover the student loan, which is why their default rate runs almost 20 percent, twice that of public-university students. At Corinthian Colleges, which agreed to a $6.5 million settlement with the California AG in 2007 because they lied about student job numbers, the default rate is 40 percent. The result is a crapload of students in debt, unemployed and increasingly homeless. On average, students who attend for-profit enterprises leave school $29,000 in debt, compared to $10,500 for public institutions. Neither figure is anything to brag about, and the entire student loan debt now tops $1 trillion. Failure to repay the loan can land a student's ass on the Feds' shit list, depriving them of public housing, food stamps or other federal assistance.

They're called for-profit for a reason
The GOP-Wall Street circle jerk about "competition holding down the cost of education," is first-class bunk, as high tuitions are common throughout the industry, but you wouldn't know that if you only listened to the Heritage Foundation and other invisible hand goobers:

Entrepreneurial educators are attempting to resolve this dilemma by using new business models and new ways of learning, such as through online courses, to slash the cost of a college-level education. These innovations offer the prospect of a fundamental restructuring of higher education with a sharp reduction in costs—a revolution that would be a boon to students seeking to acquire the skills they need in today’s economy.
Yeah, they "slash the cost" so much they're often twice as expensive. A degree from ITT's main campus in Indiana costs $68,000, a heckuva lot more than nearby Indiana University ($38,000), which, last I checked, is a pretty damn good school. A one-year nursing degree at Corinthian's Everest College, which probably won't get you hired as a nurse, costs $30,000. An online credit hour at the University of Phoenix costs almost $500; the same hour at a place called Harvard is less than $200. One handy tool the Department of Education established, which Wall Street probably doesn't like, is an "Affordability and Transparency" website where you can compare the cost of public, private and for-profit schools.

Two-year trade and vocational schools are especially lucrative, with tuitions three, four or five times that of community colleges which, unfortunately, are turning students away because they don't have space—foisting people onto the more expensive for-profit sector. I've worked with community colleges for decades and consider them local treasures, but rather than give them the resources to meet the demand, which is what President Obama announced with his $8 billion Career Fund, we're seeing well-orchestrated attacks on community college faculty as lazy, ill-prepared and overpaid. The solution, according to private-equity firms trying to squeeze community colleges out of existence, is something like California Assembly Bill 515, which, had it passed, would have privatized the state's community college system.

America's community colleges are in a near-death cycle after decades of budget cuts designed to weaken the public commons… Rather than acknowledge the years of economic neglect and the new austerity that have left the public community colleges in a most precarious fiscal position, the recent swarm of corporate news articles instead seems aimed at demonizing public colleges, their faculty, students and staff… So, while the neglect of the public sphere is devastating to students, the private for-profit subprime colleges can hardly contain themselves now that they have helped foster and create the material conditions for future profits. truthout
Follow the money
To no one's surprise, Mitt Romney promotes private for-profit universities as the solution to classroom scarcity and higher tuitions. Get this: His fundraising co-chair in Florida is Bill Heavener, CEO of Full Sail University, who Mitt all but fellated in public for "hold[ing] down the cost of education." He called Full Sail a model for the nation, just like he said Arizona is a model for immigration policy. Rachel Maddow pointed out that Romney's commercial for a Wall Street company, which is what Full Sail is, neglected to mention that the school's two-year degree in video game art costs $81,000, twice the cost of many good public institutions. Way to hold down costs, Mr. Heavener!
Of all the hundreds of for-profit colleges in America, Full Sail has the third highest net price … more than any non-profit or public college. In that light—Full Sail may be the third most expensive college in our nation—Romney’s assertion that Full Sail keeps costs down is nothing short of astonishing. And Full Sail has at best a mixed record in training students for productive careers. Many attendees and observers say the instruction at Full Sail is of poor quality, and one if its programs boasts a 14 percent on-time graduation rate. Public Report

Conveniently, during Romney's cheerleading for the corporate vultures that Full Sail represents, he also didn't mention that graduates leave with an average $59,000 federal loan debt—five times the average debt for public-school students. Nor did Romney bring up the money his Super PAC, Restore Our Future, received from CEO Heavener and TA Associates, the private-equity firm that owns Full Sail. Within the for-profit higher-ed world, Full Sail is the second largest donor to mostly GOP candidates, trailing only Apollo Group. CEO Bill Heavener contributed at least $85,000 to Romney, and C. Kevin Landry at TA Associates shelled out $120,000.

Another Public Report followed the stench of this money even further. Hold your nose. It turns out TA Associates was a corporate benefactor of the fund Solamere Capital, which was launched with a $10 million investment from, you guessed it, Mitt Romney! It gets smellier: The founder and managing partner of Solamere is Romney's son Tagg; another partner is Spencer Zwick, head fundraiser for Romney's 2008 and 2012 campaigns. Heh, I see what you did there.

Part 2, next week: If for-profit schools have such a sucky track record, how do they convince millions of students to sign up, including more and more veterans? And how would Mitt Romney's policies further undermine traditional schools at the same time they help Wall Street gain more access to public education funds?

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Comment Preferences

  •  No-win for those on the downward (64+ / 0-)

    spiral slide.

    Can't get a job/a job that pays the bills? If you weren't lazy, you'd go back to college and get the skills you need to be in demand.

    Got another degree and now up to your eyes in student loans? Oh, so rather than bit the bullet like everyone else, you went for the luxury life of a grad student and now you'll pay for it.

    Still can't get a job? Why didn't you get a degree in something in demand? Your bad choice, idiot.

    Took out even more student loans to do the extra time to switch fields entirely for your graduate degree and now struggling? You're an irresponsible spender who thinks you deserve to get degrees in two subjects and be a professional student forever; no wonder you're up to your eyeballs in debt—you can't manage your life.

    Didn't want to go into debt so you studied part-time while you worked, only to find that because your degree took so long, your skills are out of date the moment you graduate? You're afraid to take risks and take responsibility for your actions; you should have taken student loans like everybody else so that you could get your degree in a timely fashion rather than slacking off.

    Basically: It's always your fault. College has little to do with it. Poor? YOU SUCK, THAT'S WHAT.

    Welcome to America.

    -9.63, 0.00
    I am not a purity troll. I am a purity warrior.

    by nobody at all on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 07:07:30 PM PDT

  •  I'd give anything to stop for-profit schooling (65+ / 0-)

    I went to a for-profit school, one that you might see on TV every now and then -- the International Academy of Design and Technology.

    They have a pretty solid sales pitch when you're in and once they realize you need more than federal aid will provide, they instantly whip out the Sallie Mae papers. Financial aid doesn't bat an eye as you ignorantly sign up for private student loans that give you no rights and have a variable interest rate that gets in the high teens.

    If you dare try to find another lender, they make you feel like a criminal. If you question anything, they make you feel like an idiot. If you're not up on all of the jargon, it's your problem. Once you leave their career group does little to help you.

    There is no way that a for-profit institution has education in mind as their first goal. And despite well-meaning teachers and some people who do make it through, I am absolutely convinced that these schools exist only to find cash cows such as myself that they can fleece as much as they possibly can.

    60% of my monthly income goes to Sallie Mae. They don't see this as a problem and won't help. If I'm late, they harass me. If I default, they'll ruin my parents lives.

    It's been years now. I'm done thinking my situation will get any better. But I do NOT want this to happen to other people. There is nothing fair, just or right about it at all. There is NO reason a place like Sallie Mae should be able to give someone essentially government-guaranteed private loans at 15%+ interest while getting that money from the government at 1%. None.

    I find it truly, truly fucking amazing that kids as young as 17 are supposed to understand what this will mean for their entire lives under such intimidation and misinformation... Just because they dared to hope they would be able to make something of themselves. Yet only in recent months have politicians, the media and economists even woken up to this. The adults in the room???

    I'm so tired of being told just to deal with it, that I took out the money and have to repay it. Fine. I took out $50,000. Explain to me why I've been paying $16,000+ a year to one loan and still owe $105,000 on it. Explain to me why that should be allowed to happen.

  •  I think for-profit colleges should exist (22+ / 0-)

    but they should be allowed to take no tax money. Free market, baby! If they're so great, they should thrive on their own personality responsibility and great business plan. NO tax money!

    Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07.

    by anastasia p on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 07:08:38 PM PDT

  •  Now that real universities are offering... (19+ / 0-) degrees, I'm hoping the U of P's of the world will fade, or at least stay bottom feeders.

    Show us your tax returns !!!!!!

    by Bush Bites on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 07:12:48 PM PDT

  •  Wowza. Jaw-dropping stuff. (16+ / 0-)

    Thanks for the diary, Mother Mags.

    Ho'oponopono. To make things right; restore harmony; heal.

    by earicicle on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 07:13:42 PM PDT

  •  I did a cover story for my paper (18+ / 0-)

    on a local band that is breaking out nationally, and among others, I talked to a guy who engineered their albums. In a section of the interview I didn't use, because it wasn't relevant to the story at hand, he told me how he got into the recording business, crediting one producer with being his mentor.

    He said, "I wish I could have given him the money I gave Full Sail, because I learned more from him than I did from Full  Sail."

    Don't even think of going there if you want to be a recording engineer or producer. Intern in a local studio or multiple studios. Learn for free from someone who's doing it.

    Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07.

    by anastasia p on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 07:15:25 PM PDT

    •  There are a lot of fields like that. (7+ / 0-)

      Cooking school being one of them.  If you want to be a chef, go to work in a kitchen at the bottom of the ladder.  It'll get you a lot closer to being hired as a full chef than a for-profit cooking school degree, and you'll learn just as much... without the student loan debt.

      Unfortunately, a combination of slick (and misleading) advertising and the (often explicitly stated) fact that "people with college degrees earn more" gets people to sign away their financial futures for a degree of iffy value -- if they can even afford to finish it.

      (What the ads don't say: the quality of the college you go to matters in those future earnings.)

      © cai Visit to join the fight against global warming.

      by cai on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 08:19:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My partner works for Capella, an online graduate.. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annieli, cai, Mother Mags, JVolvo, sethtriggs based in Minnesota. Many of their students are in the military.

  •  And this mentality is also venturing into the (10+ / 0-)

    "traditional" universities. Couple this with the ESPNization of college, and there's your explanation for our higher education in its current state.

  •  I earned my Masters online... (5+ / 0-)

    from a little school called The George Washington University. I think they are legit because they have a hospital and a basketball team. (And a Med school, and a Law school, etc.).

    But now I see their ads on the net for security guard training and stuff and I begin to wonder.


    "I was so easy to defeat, I was so easy to control, I didn't even know there was a war." -9.75, -8.41

    by RonV on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 07:31:49 PM PDT

  •  It is worth noting that Romney and his kids (26+ / 0-)

    all attended private, non-profit universities--mostly Harvard, I think. The education that these for-profits provide is inferior, and their default rate is much higher than traditional non-profits.

    It breaks my heart that we are underfunding the community colleges. They are the gems of the US educational system, providing reasonably priced education and technical training. All three of my kids took classes at our local community college while they were still in high school.

    When you factor in need-based financial aid, these for-profits are charging far more than I spent to send my two older kids to one of the Ivies.

  •  Minor, minor addition re: the Cardinals' Stadium (13+ / 0-)

    And it's not really a correction so much as it is added info - "University of Phoenix" sponsors the name of the Glendale stadium where the Cardinals play, but they don't actually "have" a stadium, which is what you indicated.

    Of course, why buy naming rights to a stadium rather than, say, a soccer tournament or a NASCAR race?  Because the stadium naming rights make the average person who turns on a football game (And, nearly the entire country did in Feb. 2008 for the Super Bowl) will come to the perfectly reasonable conclusion that the "University of Phoenix" has a physical campus with a physical stadium, no different than Sun Devil Stadium or the Los Angeles Coliseum.

    As I said, a distinction without a difference.

    "The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, you can begin to distance yourself from anger." - The Dalai Lama

    by auron renouille on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 07:31:57 PM PDT

  •  My 100% legit graduate school is HARD (8+ / 0-)

    Big State University is charging me a pretty penny for tuition, but they're also putting me through the wringer for my dollar.  Out of a cohort of 26 for my Internet Technology degree, two people had to drop out because they just couldn't handle the programming.  I studied and studied for my hardest classes and was totally grateful for my B; some students received Is and were given the opportunity to re-do the assignments to get the required C to graduate, rather than pay the tuition again next year and retake the class.  The profs know it's expensive, but they also value the reputation of the institution.

    Whereas if I had paid twice as much to one of the for-profit schools, those folks would have been given a C (or even a B or an A) anyway and given a pat on the head for trying.

    The Cake is a lie. In Pie there is Truth. ~ Fordmandalay

    by catwho on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 07:32:48 PM PDT

    •  Addendum: (6+ / 0-)

      My degree us a "hybrid" class - half our classes are virtual, done remotely through ELC.  The other half are in-person.  Our professors use the in-person classes to bring in guest speakers, to do workshops, and to just plain old lecture.  (Or, in the case of the tougher programming classes, to provide some critical one on one help.)  We thus get the best of both worlds.  The flexibility of distance learning - I'll be doing my User Experience and Design class from Savannah this Thursday - combined with the all important classroom presence.

      Thus, I don't mind that Big State U is charging me $6,000 a semester.  Unlike the for-profit schools, the job placement for my degree is historically close to 100%.  (Unemployment in the IT sector is around 2-3%.)

      The Cake is a lie. In Pie there is Truth. ~ Fordmandalay

      by catwho on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 07:37:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  But if you want a career in (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, billso, sethtriggs, catwho

      programming, you have to accept that you will need to go through a rigorous course every year.

      If you think you can pass this and then cruise for the next 20 years you are mistaken.

      Your degree in this one course doesn't mean much.

      •  But further studies don't have to be official; (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        radical simplicity, catwho

        it's not like you have to keep going to grad school to keep your Masters or Ph.D in computer science.  You just have to keep your skills up through a combination of what you do all day at work, and independent study.  

        Which makes it not that different from careers like law and medicine.

        © cai Visit to join the fight against global warming.

        by cai on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 08:24:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  We used to hear about people with 20 years (0+ / 0-)

        experience in COBOL, who turned out to have 2 years experience repeated 10 times. ^_^

        I write materials for teaching programming to third graders, and we are working on how to extend that all the way to kindergarten. See, for example, my suggestions for Turtle Art/Logo lessons for preschoolers.

        You be the Turtle

        We also have lessons that apply programming to physics and other subjects, again starting in third grade.

        America—We built that!

        by Mokurai on Mon Oct 15, 2012 at 10:40:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I did an online master's degree from a traditional (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      university. It wasn't as well-known or as sleek as Phoneix or the other but I got a good education at a "real" school.

      One of my classmates left to do Walden. Better for her career. Better for her schedule. They promised her the world.


      "Some drink deeply from the river of knowledge. Others only gargle." Woody Allen

      by SquirrelQueen on Mon Oct 15, 2012 at 02:35:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My Experience at UoP (7+ / 0-)

    I'll preface with what I'm saying with I don't work for UOP.  

    I was working as an Operations Analyst (a semi-professional, semi-technical role) at a very large financial institution back in 2003.  

    I wanted to continue my education and get a Bachelors degree, but couldn't find a program that would allow me to get the degree I wanted while working more than full-time.  Traditional  schools at that point in time, at least near me, didn't offer "working adult" oriented class schedules.

    I graduated from UOP with a BS in 2007.  I switched jobs just prior to my graduation, and having that education certainly helped.  I now also have an MBA, also from UOP.

    The problem I have with UOP is lack of consistency.  My undergrad instructors were all over the board.  I'd say I was satisfied with 65% of my instructors, which is not commensurate with the price I paid for the education.  Now, this could be that I already had a decent mastery of my subject of study prior to starting my degree, but there it is.

    I sailed through my BS easily, even though I had classmates that struggled and dropped out.  My MBA, on the other hand, was significantly more challenging that I ever imagined.  A close friend of mine was also doing her MBA at a traditional school, and we constantly compared lectures and assignments.  While some of my classes were significantly lighter than hers (Statistics being one of them), other subject areas (including Law, Operations, Change Management etc). seemed fairly equal.

    As of today, I'm paying $458 a month in student loan payments.  But my income has gone up 115% between 2006 and 2012.  I can't quantify it, but I'm sure a lot of that has to due with my education.  And like it or not, UOP and "for profit" schools offer classes that fit the schedules of people who work full-time or more.

    Traditional schools are catching up now in catering towards working-adults.  Would I go to UOP again?  Probably not.  I'm debating getting a Liberal Arts Bachelors and hitting a traditional University for that.  

    GOD! Save me from your followers.

    by adversus on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 07:33:48 PM PDT

  •  an excellent diary (4+ / 0-)

    at one moment in history the for-profit model only applied to institutions training for industries like cosmetology, and the secretarial(sic) field, but as technology proceeded from electromechanical/non-solid state to transistor electronics the profits displaced the non-profits. The for-profit industry should all return to that status, training cable installers, robot and wind turbine maintenance, and lighthouse keeping.

    yksitoista ulotteinen presidentin shakki. / tappaa kaikki natsit "Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) 政治委员, 政委‽ Warning - some snark above ‽

    by annieli on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 07:38:35 PM PDT

  •  Also, I often wonder - there are jobs out there (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    in the world - teaching is one of them - where a possession of a higher degree - a masters in your teaching focus, or perhaps an MBA, result in an automatic increase in salary.  I have done exactly zero research into this, this is all based on just my observations in life, but they seem to proliferate particularly in white-collar Unionized workforces; teaching, state and federal government, etc., where pay is set by contract and a graduate degree or graduate coursework is quantified in the CBA.

    Some of those people go to local community colleges, but more and more of them seem to look for online degrees.  That's not all that bad, as I know that the UC system offers some great online lectures, iirc some of them free.

    But I went to law school in Boston (a local school, not one of the big ones) and I was struck by how many people I knew who were already working professionally (but outside the legal profession) were going to Harvard Extension School at night or, iirc, online.  At first, it sounded great, to have access to really great professors, the awesome resources at the Cambridge campus, etc., and not need a 1600 SAT (well, 2400 now) and parents named Kennedy or Bush.  But then I realized that with everyone and their brother attending the Extension School, there was no way that those hilariously numerous students were getting the same quality a traditional Harvard student would receive.

    Harvard is not a diploma mill, not even the Extension School, and I do not believe that they are so hard up to keep their endowment secure that they would stoop to that level.  Wealthy alumni would certainly intervene.

    But there's still something scammy in milking unsophisticated students, be they unsophisticated due to either their circumstances or simply because of being out of school for a long time, for what was probably a lot of money for not a lot of content.  I doubt that the Extension School was giving people University of Phoenix quality.  But I also doubt that they were getting their money's worth when they (or their loan company) wrote that check out to Harvard.

    "The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, you can begin to distance yourself from anger." - The Dalai Lama

    by auron renouille on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 07:40:56 PM PDT

    •  I know someone who teaches adult classes like (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      auron renouille

      that at a school which is also a big name.  Perhaps it is the nature of the program, which seem to be more about enrichment than about careers advancement, but my understanding is that the adult students (mostly quite savvy professionals) are quite satisfied with their instruction (and make noise if they are not).  Indeed, they probably get more personal attention than do some undergrads in big departments.

      I see no problem with Name Schools running programs like this -- some hold weeklong summer seminars for alumni, or even educational cruises and tours -- as long as the students do not expect that it will read the same on a resume as an actual degree from Name U.

      © cai Visit to join the fight against global warming.

      by cai on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 08:32:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Some of the teachers in the extension school (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      auron renouille

      Are full-fledged Harvard faculty, and some are not. I learned this from a former teacher at the extension school. Basically, his recommendation: do your research. If a class looks interesting, check the faculty directory to see if the professor is listed, and whether they're a full professor, or an adjunct. The answer to that question should determine whether or not you take the class.

      On the plus side, for out of state students, the extension school tuition is often only a couple of hundred dollars more than the tuition and fees from several off the state/community colleges in the area. In the state schools, the fees drive the costs up substantially. I love that nearly all of them have changed the "parking" fee to a "parking and access" fee, so they can charge online students, too.

      We were looking into options for a few months for our homeschooling teens, but settled on a combination of a homeschooling co-op and MIT-X and Coursera courses. We'll see how it works out. I know the MIT-X class is whipping my kid's butt, with a good 10 hours a week of complex coding homework, but its what he really, really wants to do, so he's pushing himself through it. Of course, he decided to take that class at the same time he's taking AP chemistry, so he's going to be a very, very busy boy this semester.

      In the mean time, I'm taking courses via and The Skillshare ones have a much stronger experiential requirement, while the Udacity is more lecture-based. However, both require an exceptional level of self-motivation, and both require real work outside of the classroom, doing real research, speaking with actual humans. The classes are free, or nearly free, but even at that, the percentage of people who actively complete their projects and interact with other students is a fairly small fraction. I think many expected "online" to mean "easy." Though I guess not doing the work part would make it easy. There is some value to taking only the lecture portions, just not as much.

  •  Great topic, important diary. Thanks! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mother Mags, JeffW

    Okay, the Government says you MUST abort your child. NOW do you get it?

    by Catskill Julie on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 07:41:55 PM PDT

  •  Excellent | Incredibly Thorough Diary (6+ / 0-)

    Thank you for documenting yet another part of the commons being privatized and abused. What an awful world this is going to be if we don't stop these bastards.

  •  Two points. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    offred, cai

    First, traditionally, there has been a contrast between “training” which is technical and vocational, versus “education” which is academic, theoretical, and not vocational. These two related but fundamentally different things have been confused since WWII and the GI Bill. Before the war, education was for elites, post-graduate education was for pointy-headed intellectuals. There was also engineering school, law school, medical school, business school, and so on, which were for people who wanted to “get ahead”. I'm not denying that even then there was overlap, but it was pretty clear that some courses of study were aimed at a job and others were aimed at an education. I believe that if this distinction was made more consistently and formally, so that being trained to get a better job was explicitly that, while getting an education either to become an educated person as an end unto itself (hey--this is what people used to do), or to get an advanced degree so you could do research and/or be a university professor was explicitly that, this would help. It hasn't happened, because, let's face it, even academicians love money, and all that training that's been going on in our universities has been well-lubricated with filthy lucre. But it needs to happen. Let the colleges and universities be smaller and less-well funded, and let the technical and vocational institutions get the lion's share of support: the Bain way, if you will. This would be a much better system. Even Socrates could rest peacefully with such a dichotomous system in operation.

    Second, just a brief story. My daughter is a senior at the University of Delaware (Go Hens!). She also works as a dancer in a regional ballet company. This means that she can only take classes during certain hours to avoid conflicts with rehearsals, etc. To graduate, she needed a certain class which was taught only during her rehearsal hours. After long discussions with advisors, they decided that if she could find an equivalent class at another school, they would accept it. She was advised to try a nearby private school first because she would have the benefit of a “real” class in a real college. However, there was a wall of forms, fees, and requirements to take the class she needed, and after several weeks, it turned out that she couldn't get the class there either. Enter University of Phoenix: within a day she was signed up for the course, which was all online. As a result, she will graduate this semester. Without U of Phoenix, there's no telling when she would have been able to graduate. This is a big problem with many universities today: it is just really hard to get the classes you need to graduate, especially if you work.

    •  Funny. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      annieli, cai

      I know of a very prestigious university where the alums from the humanities and sciences schools call the alums from the business school the "trade school graduates."

      Show us your tax returns !!!!!!

      by Bush Bites on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 08:05:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  undergraduate business programs fall into (0+ / 0-)

        that category, but there are certainly many other undergraduate majors that fall into that area e.g. Fashion Merchandising

        yksitoista ulotteinen presidentin shakki. / tappaa kaikki natsit "Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) 政治委员, 政委‽ Warning - some snark above ‽

        by annieli on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 08:17:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Mrrh, I dunno. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      radical simplicity, semiot

      You can get a liberal arts degree and go on to do all kinds of work with it, from business to teaching to medical school.  

      While some fields require specialized training -- such as architecture or engineering -- there are lot of jobs one can do where the skills one learns in humanities and social sciences courses of study serve you very well: reading and writing at a high level, critical thinking, and learning how to learn.

      I have no problem with seventeen or eighteen-year-olds who know where they want their careers to go slotting into programs (at community colleges or four-year universities) that build immediate and obvious building blocks towards those careers.  But I think our country would be the poorer intellectually if it became mandatory for the majority of students to have a "practical" major.  

      (And, anecdotally, I know people who chose majors for practicality who were not particularly happy with the preparation those "practical" majors gave them, or with what they left them prepared to do.)

      © cai Visit to join the fight against global warming.

      by cai on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 08:43:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I despise those for profit 'schools'. Thankfully, (10+ / 0-)

    I've never walked into one of those buildings.  Whenever I've needed 'training' I've gone to the local community college that has a very, very good reputation.

    I think those 'schools' should be made to publicize their graduation rates and job placement rates.  As well as how much they're charging, up front.  I also hate their damned commercials, so misleading.

  •  Never trust a Reedie. (0+ / 0-)

    They're a bunch of East Coast silver spoons who want to play at being funky bohemians for a few years, just for kicks.

    They're as phony as the day is long. I'm sure there are exceptions, but this is my experience.

    Here in Phoenix you can't escape for-profit higher ed. Heck, this is the headquarters of Corporate U's 1,600-pound guerrilla, the University of Phoenix (UP), which John Sperling started in 1976—a former beatnik, Reed College and Berkeley grad with a PhD in economic history from Cambridge.

    Paul Ryan has risen to prominence because he thinks that poor people should suffer and he doesn't mind saying so.

    by VictorLaszlo on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 07:49:48 PM PDT

  •  another area of interest is the (4+ / 0-)

    work rules for for-profit faculty which is more about clock-punching and other efficiencies, with higher degrees of surveillance and corresponding reduction of academic freedom.

    yksitoista ulotteinen presidentin shakki. / tappaa kaikki natsit "Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) 政治委员, 政委‽ Warning - some snark above ‽

    by annieli on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 07:50:31 PM PDT

  •  Im sorry but (0+ / 0-)

    if you get the right degrees you can get a well paying job period.

    Yes these for profit institutions are a scam and should be treated as such.

    But also at some point you need to take ownership for your own success..... Not all degrees are created equal. If you bother to actually look at the statistics it is rather obvious which degrees are not worth the paper they are printed on.  

    The idea that you can take out 200k in student loans is a blessing if you take the time to actually plan your career.

    •  For many students, that is not as obvious (6+ / 0-)

      as you  might think. These schools have slick marketing, and a lot of personal attention in the sales process. For low income folks from families where nobody went to college, and who don't know where to even start with the search, these schools can seem quite welcoming and accessible.

      Then, of course, they rip the kid off. But I don't think it's fair to call people stupid for falling for millions of dollars worth of marketing explicitly designed to fool them.

      •  stupid? (0+ / 0-)

        Maybe. Not as informed as they should be. Yes.

        Either way the student does bare responsibility. Even if the scam-artist does as well.

        But the problem is not limited to for profit institutions.

        You half people who get 4.0's and perfect scores on the SAT studying to degrees have them living in their parents garage.

        Some times people make stupid choices.

        My personal belief.

        Public society values different topics than than jobs market.

        That's the problem of society, not the jobs market.

        •  Good lord (0+ / 0-)

          Students with so-called "useless" liberal arts degrees have average unemployment rates half those of people with no degrees. Yes, even English or Philosophy. It doesn't matter what you study very much; it matters that you finish, and you learn how to think for yourself in the process.

          The for profit schools emphasize "practical" degrees and look where that gets their students - deep in debt without a job.

          •  Check the stats. They don't agree with you. (0+ / 0-)



            This would disagree with you. The degree itself matters.

            If you sort by highest unemployment rate, you will also notice that the average salary is about the average salary WITHOUT any degree; from the wiki.

            Than check the average earnings if you sort by the highest median income. Again the stats actually give you a CLEAR AS HELL picture.

            •  Utter Bullshit (0+ / 0-)

              Amazing how people fall for this narrative. From Time magazine:

              "While the unemployment rate for recent four year college graduates is 6.8%, according to researchers the unemployment rate for recent high school graduates is nearly 24%. Additionally, nearly 200,000 jobs for workers with at least a Bachelor’s degree were added during the recession; 2 million jobs for college-educated workers have been added during the recovery. At the same time, nearly four out of every five jobs destroyed by the recession were held by workers with a high school diploma or less."


              As for your fantasy about majors, outside of a handful of highly specialized majors that most people don't want to do, or can't do, the overall range is very small. Unless you are suggesting everyone should be a chemical engineer or a wall street leech, you're full of it. We need teachers, social workers, artists, policemen, civil servants. And those folks earn that middle range of wages. Their degrees are far more valuable to society than the oil derrick engineers, though the WSJ wouldn't know that.

              •  dude did you even look at the stats? (0+ / 0-)

                I take it no.

                Since you seem hell bent on blindly defending what you seem to see as a slight against liberal arts degrees without even bothering to look at the stats.

                Ill toss the figures right in your face.

                "EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY" Median Earnings $35,000 UE rate 10.9%

                "LIBRARY SCIENCE"   $36,000   15.0%

                "STUDIO ARTS" $37,000   8.0%

                UNITED STATES HISTORY $50,000     15.1%


                $65,000   0.0%

                $45,000   3.0%

                Even within so called liberal arts there is a HUGE HUGE HUGE margin.

                Dear god man don't these stats just smack you in the face and say don't  go for "LIBRARY SCIENCE" maybe I should get a degree in "SOCIAL SCIENCE OR HISTORY TEACHER EDUCATION"

                and since your going on a mini rant about how not everyone should go into science etc. Ill give you a little story

                One of my friends right out of college at his first real job as an electrical engineer.

                Within the first few months working at this firm. He found and fixed a problem which did one of two things.
                If the company had found it later it would probably have cost them 10s of million dollars. If the company did not find it at all........Likely literally hundreds of people would have died in an airplane crash.

                What my friend did in a couple of weeks saved hundreds of lives and millions of dollars, a history major could not have done that in a lifetime. That's the difference between a career the job market considers valuable and one that society values . The same goes for oil derrick engineers and petroleum engineers.

                Im gonna go out on a limb here but we dont need college educated artists period. But for the others, the unemployment rate gives you a good idea if we need more or less of them......

                and get a clue. for some its more for others its less.

    •  Well, part of getting the right degree is not (5+ / 0-)

      getting it from a for-profit university.  Those degrees simply aren't marketable.  If I were evaluating job applications, any with degrees from for-profit institutions would go to the bottom of the pile.  Those institutions have no standing nor accreditation in my field anyways, and even those few for-profit schools that do have accreditation basically got it by buying out some defunct school that was already accredited.  That loophole will hopefully be closed soon.

      Also, MIT has released tons of on-line, free courses, and hopefully that will kill off the on-line, for-profit degree scams.  After all, why pay $20k per year to some sham of a university when you can take the same coursework from MIT, on-line and for free?  Passing just one on-line course from MIT would be worth 10x an entire degree from a for-profit university.

    •  I'm sorry, but this comment seems more appropriate (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cai, radical simplicity, sethtriggs

      for a conservative  republican site than for DKos.  Not everyone has been blessed with the same level of economic or educational sophistication as you seem to have.

      "Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy

      by helpImdrowning on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 08:38:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  But not-for-profit schools generally don't LET (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      you take out that much in loans -- they provide more in need-based aid.  

      I hate to say this, but -- if you need to take out $200,000 in loans for an undergraduate degree (or a certificate, or a junior college degree, even worse), then it's time to ask yourself some hard questions about whether college is a good fit for you, either at this time, or at all, or whether your career goals can be reached through a for-profit college.  

      The statistics indicate that "the right degree" isn't going to be one from a for-profit college for most people who attempt to matriculate at one.

      We should be increasing our support of community colleges, as well as improving traditional college access for low-income students, students of color, and older college students.  We should also be building a society where people can live decently without a college degree, because academically rigorous college is not for everyone.

      We shouldn't be providing free money for for-profit schools to mislead people into mortgaging their futures for a degree that may leave them no closer to a "professional career" than they started -- the small fraction who can afford to finish that degree.

      © cai Visit to join the fight against global warming.

      by cai on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 08:51:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  B.S. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cai, sethtriggs, ebohlman

      Kids are often told in high school which careers are considered "growth' careers, and they're pushed toward those careers by teachers, guidance counselors, their parents, everyone. The research and stats back them up, 100%.

      Not surprisingly, a few years later, those careers experience a glut of new graduates, but the stats don't catch up for a couple of years. The funnel kids are still being fed into from high school is actually already full, leading to kids signing up for degrees that will be worthless when they graduate, but which look perfectly reasonable at the time they sign up.

      In addition, more and more jobs are being outsourced, decimating some of the markets that weren't glutted. Just ask anyone who got into IT or software development around 2004 how well that formerly useful major worked out for them.

      •  When I was in highschool (0+ / 0-)

        technology and healthcare were the growth sectors......They still are.....

        I disagree with this statement completely  "Not surprisingly, a few years later, those careers experience a glut of new graduates, but the stats don't catch up for a couple of years. "

        I doubt the factual validity of the statement. Do you have data to back this up?  I did some quick googaling and found no supporting evidence of this.  Could still be wrong.

        •  Clearly (0+ / 0-)

          You weren't paying attention in the 1990s. Software engineering and IT were the HOT tech careers. Bio-sciences were the big natural sciences jobs. Law school was "the" place to go for non-techies. Students were directed into those fields, because they were the growing sectors of the economy.

          Well, now there's a lawyer glut.

          A glut of phd scientists.

          And you can't seriously be claiming that IT and software haven;t taken a hit from outsourcing, so I'm going to skip the necessary 2 seconds on google.

          "Technology" is such a broad concept, that sure, you can say the sector is growing. But you can't major in "technology." You major in an area of technology. And the majors you're advised to major in are the specific ones that the prognosticators claim are growth sectors.

          You can look anywhere on the web to see accounts like:

          "Long ago I majored in Biology. Turning that into an actual job was not easy. I applied to medical technology schools when it was hard to get in and didn't. I got the Navy to train me. When I got out I applied for lab jobs when there was a glut of Medical Technologists, and it took two years to get hired. Meanwhile, people who were taking up computer science were THRIVING.
          Now they have been laid off and outsourced to Asia..."
          •  Dude I got pulled (0+ / 0-)

            into doing software development from a different engineering field because there is a MASSIVE software developer shortage in the states.


            so the unemployment rate for layers is a whopping 1.5% ya they are going though some real hard times sure.

            There has always been a glut of PHD's in engineering.  But there is a massive shortage of MS in engineering. So guess what the PHD's just end up doing the job of a masters and still have virtually 0 unemployment.

            And yes you can "major in technology" There are a few major branches of engineer.
            Mechanical Electrical Civil Chemical and Biological

            And from my understanding all of them are growing and all of them are applicable to the ever changing future

      •  There are really two problems here (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        radical simplicity

        The first one is that there's no real relationship between how fast a particular field is growing and how many total jobs it's expected to generate. If the current number of jobs in a field is fairly small, then even with 500% growth the future number of such jobs is still going to be fairly small. Relative demand isn't the same as absolute demand. Many of the fastest-growing fields are in fact like that: while they're currently experiencing a shortage of qualified applicants, they're not expected to account for more than a small percentage of employment in the next decade or so. It would take only a fairly small number of students shifting into those fields to satisfy the excess demand; any more than that will lead to a glut.

        The second is that many technical fields, particularly IT, experience boom-and-bust cycles in hiring and the period of those cycles isn't much longer than the amount of time it takes to get a degree. Thus the kid who decides to major in a "hot" field may very well find that it's become "cold" when he graduates. Of course it will become "hot" again a few years later, but during the waiting period the marketability of his degree will drop, since when the field heats up again most employers will be looking to hire either more recent graduates or people with substantial experience in that field.

        Another problem with technical fields is the uncertainty that your job won't be offshored. And yet another is the perception, not entirely unrealistic, that you're considered over the hill by 40 or so in those fields and your only choices then are to start your own company or go for an MBA and move into management.

        In a dog-eat-dog world, rabies is an advantage in the short term.

        by ebohlman on Mon Oct 15, 2012 at 07:55:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Have you looked at Charter College at all? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cai, radical simplicity

    Sorry for the third comment here.  I have a friend (in Wasilla AK - yes, that Wasilla, I love the town even if it produced a miserable mayor) who attends Charter because of not being in a place - financially, physically, everything - to go down to Anchorage for school, and Charter seems uniquely deficient to me.  I guess Charter is based out of the Northwest somewhere but they have campuses throughout at least urbanized Alaska

    One thing that for some reason went unremarked on during the Palin controversies is how poor Wasilla and the Mat-Su Valley is; it's not as destitute as some of the rural Native Alaskan fishing communities, but it is not the suburbia that the Palin people painted it to be; most of the valley, particularly the Willow-Wasilla-Palmer stretch, is extraordinarily underprivileged with a very high crime rate, and given Charter College's comparative success in the Valley, it seems perfectly plausible that a UAA satellite could succeed in that area; there's certainly demand.  Wasilla is barely close enough to commute to Anchorage and many people do because of the poverty and lack of good jobs in the Valley but commuting to go to a traditional college campus for school is a dicey proposal.

    The coursework she gets from Charter College that I've seen thus far is shockingly abysmal - each class has the same structure with similar assignments, and the basic English class had standardized tests used throughout the Charter College system that incorrectly taught certain grammatical principles.  Really bad stuff.  So I understand why she can't go to UAA or UAF, but... it saddens me that's all that she has available to her.


    "The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, you can begin to distance yourself from anger." - The Dalai Lama

    by auron renouille on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 07:58:48 PM PDT

    •  Doesn't appear to be well-regarded (3+ / 0-)


      I'm a little suspicious of Charter College. My sister in law is going there. They signed her up for $70,000 in student loans. She's a single mom with almost 0 income, so I'm not sure how she thinks she's going to pay that much back.
      And, though I love her to death, she's not exactly the sharpest tool in the shed. Yet, somehow, she's pulling straight A's. Now, maybe she's really applying herself for once, and Charter's instructors are working hard to make sure she's does well... But I'm wondering if maybe good grades are earned or just given.
      I also have a friend who is teaching classes there. But, doesn't have any sort of teaching credentials. He's an "expert in his field." From what I've heard, that's how most of the instructors there are qualified.
      And any degrees or credits earned there are not transferable to any other academic establishment.
      It might not hurt to check with the Better Business Bureau and see if they have recorded any complaints against Charter College.

      As far as living in Wasilla goes, I love it. Great place to live.


      Charter College is a school that will accept anyone who is willing to pay their tuition. Waste of money in my opinion with no reputation.

  •  Employers Want 3 to 8 Years Experience + School (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    offred, 4Freedom, cai, radical simplicity

    In this job market, no amount of schooling counts for much unless you are in your twenties looking for that first office job.

    And they want school then experience.  Taking time off for school is like maternity leave.

    There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

    by bernardpliers on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 08:03:01 PM PDT

  •  Back in the day the manufactors in the area (6+ / 0-)

    supported high school and CC classes that taught tech skills, for they understood that a skilled work force had to come from some were.

    Now they demand tax breaks so they can hire people at half the wage that use to support a family, and whine that "There are No skilled Worker". It is all Bullshit!

    "Behold the Turtle, it only makes Progress when it sticks it's neck Out."

    by vzfk3s on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 08:03:45 PM PDT

  •  I wish I could rec this 100X. Great piece of (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, cai, eru, Mother Mags

    journalism!  This is such an important topic.  It shows the extent to which the corporate oligarchs seek to continue to extract every bit of economic value and power there is to be had everywhere and anywhere while continuing to offer a less and less valuable product to the masses/consumers.  Their next step after forcing vast numbers of people into unmanageable debt by creating this for profit education nightmare, not to mention credit cards and other debt traps, is to make not being able to pay back all of your debt, on their timetable, a crime.  Then they have ready made product for their private for-profit prisons.  Not a pretty thought, but one we should be having none-the-less.  Great work!  I look forward to the next installment.  Thank you.

    "Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy

    by helpImdrowning on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 08:23:22 PM PDT

  •  for-profit (0+ / 0-)

    I do think that this is a problem and an important subject to explore, but I honestly don't see the linkage at all to the Hightower article.  That article is about something very different than expensive loans.  I think the diary would be better if it didn't strain for that connection.

  •  I would recommend this a hundred times if I could. (6+ / 0-)

    My husband was ill and I knew I would have to make a living for us in short order so I went to one of these schools for programming.  The equipment was fairly up to date and the books were mostly OK, but all except two of the teachers were awful.  Sometimes there was no teacher.  My husband would call the owner of the school and remind him of their common business connections and we would get a teacher.

    Since there was active military nearby, they primarily preyed on military was during the first war in Iraq and most of the people shipped out before they could finish.  Win win for the school.  All the interviews they sent me to had two applications from me, because the jobs were the ones listed in the paper and I'd applied on my own.  It took me 15 years to pay off the loans.  And I had it better than a lot of people because I already had a college degree from 27 years earlier.

    If there is ANY other way to get an education, avoid these schools like the plague. Before this school, the best classes I took were at a community college: the teachers were knowledgeable and cared whether you were able to learn; the books and supplies were reasonably priced.  The for profit school was primarily interested in getting the students' money and entangling them in loans.

  •  This is what many right wing homeschoolers (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, helpImdrowning, cai, eru, Mother Mags

    are against and why (they said ) they opposed Clinton's "school to work" ... as they saw it the only purpose of education (in Clinton's eyes) was to create an army of workers for coporations . . .

    Well hello!  and even if you point this out to them, they'll still vote for Romney and against everything they say they believe and want for their children

    Bumper sticker seen on I-95; "Stop Socialism" my response: "Don't like socialism? GET OFF the Interstate highway!"

    by Clytemnestra on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 08:35:14 PM PDT

  •  One of the key points you make that is very (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eru, cai, earicicle, Mother Mags, OldDragon

    important is the fact that Mitt Romney and his fellow republicans and private equity buddies are doing everything they can to force austerity measures at the Government level, thereby gutting public education and other public programs that benefit us all and providing themselves with a ready-made market to exploit for profit.  If public programs that actually benefit the public, and society as a whole, were actually funded at appropriate levels, there would be no need for these privateer rackets to exist.

    "Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy

    by helpImdrowning on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 09:00:23 PM PDT

  •  Human husbandry is what it is-- (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the exploitation by humans of their own kind to their detriment. It's kinder and gentler than outright slaughter, in the sense that torture is less drastic than execution on the spot. There is something doubly ironic in that cattle and chickens are being returned to the field, while people are being increasingly restrained. Our favorite mode of transport, cages on wheels, manage to kill off some 40,000 a year without much of a stir and a significantly larger number are fed into medico-industrial stream via the "accidental" encounter between human bodies and steel at speed.
    Human husbandry is not a species-sustaining enterprise.

    We organize governments to provide benefits and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 11:05:13 PM PDT

  •  Another name for human husbandry as (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    semiot, LucyandByron

    Practiced by the financial engineers is vicarious cannibalism. Money makes it possible to milk and consume humans indirectly.
    HOWEVER, money also makes it possible to solve the depredation with a stroke of a pen. Taking the student loan portfolio away from the banks is evidence. Since it is our money, we could cancel the debts unilaterally, by Congressional fiat.
    "Consumer loans" are a misnomer. They're more properly called "consuming loans" albeit the consumption is virtual and bloodless.
    It's important to describe things accurately, so we can take corrective measures. The euphemism is not just a matter of politeness. The euphemism disguises evil intent. To exploit one's own kind is evil.

    We organize governments to provide benefits and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Sun Oct 14, 2012 at 11:21:11 PM PDT

  •  Bifurcate at 15 (0+ / 0-)

    University should be low-priced or free and provided strictly on a merit basis. A certain level of vocational training should also be available at low or no cost. The key would be to split university, vocational and legal minimum students at 15. Vocational students in Finland, for example, get a year of state-paid internships in their field at age 18. 15-20% are hired directly by the company giving the internship, and about 40% get work based on that experience and recommendations. University students in Finland get modest support like subsidized lunches and housing as well as a minimal monthly stipend. However, only about 10% of students make it to the university level. Some programs, like med school, are entered directly after graduation from gymnasium.  

  •  The lens of money (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mother Mags

    After living overseas for a long time I'm very aware of how much many americans view the world through the lens of money, it's so pervasive that it's hard for many to comprehend.

    Romney is the epitome of the money lens syndrome, completely blinded by it.

  •  Sperling & Tucker's Book (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mother Mags

    For-Profit Higher Education: Developing a World-Class Adult Workforce was published in 1997. At the time I recommended it to the president of the local community college.

    They criticized the traditional colleges and universities for not keeping with the times, not offering job relevant training, not offering classes at convenient times, not spending on computers and IT etc.

    I thought it was an excellent critique, despite my disagreement with  their prescription.

  •  Nice informed diary on education. nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mother Mags

    P.S. Here's the link to Part II:

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