By Doug Porter
On Sunday, April 26th, the for-profit Corinthian Colleges, Inc. closed its doors. Twenty eight campuses, plus online options, spread over five states were gone. Ten thousand of the sixteen thousand students then-enrolled at those colleges are from California.
The predatory recruiting and loan sales practices of Corinthian left many students with tens of thousands of dollars in debt. The U.S. Department of Education is urging students to considering transferring to other schools, including at least 13 other for-profit institutions with corporate owners subject to state or federal investigations.
While the former students are now eligible for complete forgiveness of their federal student loans, the Education Department is working hard to avoid a potential $214 million payout. The problem for many of these students is that their completed credits are not transferable to schools accredited as public institutions; they can keep (and run up further) their debt or start over.
From the Huffington Post:
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) sharply criticized the Education Department on Tuesday for its apparent policy reversal, asking during remarks on the Senate floor, “Why now will the department accept that outcome for these students?”
“Has the Department of Education learned nothing?” Durbin continued. “How in good faith can they tell these Corinthian students — who just had their college disappear and are sitting on a pile of debt — that these are viable transfer options?…”
…Bridgepoint Education Inc., which owns Ashford University, is under investigation by at least four state attorneys general. Graham Holdings Co., which owns Kaplan University and Kaplan College, faces probes by at least three state prosecutors. At least two state attorneys general are investigating Apollo Education Group Inc., which owns University of Phoenix. And DeVry Education Group Inc., which owns Carrington College and DeVry University, faces investigations from at least three state prosecutors and the Federal Trade Commission.
Attorneys general of 20 states are investigating Career Education Corp., which owns International Academy of Design & Technology, Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, and American InterContinental University. The U.S. Department of Justice and at least a dozen state prosecutors have pending investigations into Education Management Corp., the owner of Argosy University and the Art Institutes. And Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has a pending 2012 lawsuit against Westwood College, alleging the school misled students about their future employment prospects while leaving them with mountains of debt.
The companies have either denied wrongdoing or said they are cooperating with the probes.
Defending the Indefensible
As bad as this whole situation with Corinthian Colleges may seem, there are some who who want to blame the Obama administration.
From Media Matters:
On April 27, The Wall Street Journal editorial board defended Corinthian, claiming that the “feds and [California Attorney General] Kamala Harris put 16,000 students on the street.” The editorial alleged that the Department of Education (ED) “began to drive Corinthian out of business by choking off federal student aid,” that Corinthian was held at “government gunpoint,” and that an ED “penalty scared away prospective buyers.”
These actions by Corinthian and some other (but not all) for-profit schools should have been criminalized long ago. There are real victims here, people who were trying to do the right thing with their lives, fed false promises and left with huge mountains of debt. That, of course, is the same scenario that played out on Wall Street over the past decade… lots of victims, few consequences.
UPDATE: The Mario Rubio Corinthian Connection
This is a bit snarky because it’s from Wonkette and that’s what they do… Facts are facts:
What will the the CEO of Corinthian do now that he won’t pull down $3 million-plus a year? What will the many marketing-related entities that sucked at the teat of Corinthian to the tune of $294 million dollars do without that money? Why wasn’t someone thinking of the real-world damage done when you take vast sums of money away from people who earned it honestly — by dicking over under-informed students?
Oh wait. You know who was thinking of that and striving to protect the all-American goodness that was Corinthian? Our hero, Marco Rubio. Yes, the good senator from Florida with a thirst for justice (and also for actual water) stood athwart Corinthian yelling STOP.
Last summer, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida asked the U.S. Department of Education to “demonstrate leniency” toward Corinthian Colleges by permitting the wealthy for-profit company to continue accessing millions of dollars in federal financial aid while it was cooperating with a federal investigation.
San Diego Civic: Weak Sauce, Strong Disrespect
There are other folks working on this story who know a lot more than I do… …more to come…
My understanding is that the Board of Directors of Civic San Diego met yesterday and approved a completely spineless set of guidelines for staff to “consider.”
I know that advocates for an actual meaningful policy were disrespectfully treated. And I know that some of the local media published the following paragraphs, missing out on what actually went on at the meeting.
The Civic San Diego Board of Directors Wednesday approved a Community Benefits Policy, which establishes guidelines that staff will consider when working on publicly funded projects to make sure the projects have positive impacts on their neighborhoods.
Civic San Diego staff will use the policy, developed after several months of public meetings, to evaluate projects proposed for downtown San Diego, City Heights, Encanto, Southeast San Diego and other communities included in former redevelopment areas.
The policy calls for promoting the development of mixed-income housing; helping the recruitment, training and retention of local residents to work on projects; contracting with local businesses; expanding, retaining and relocating local businesses; developing the youth workforce; sustainability; and arts and culture.
Yeah, right. These tweets might give you an idea of what was really going on:
— Kyra Greene, PhD (@kgreeneCPI) April 30, 2015
Andrew Keatts at Voice of San Diego took a deep hit off the Chamber of Commerce’s anti-labor crack pipe and posted a piece headlined That Civic San Diego Fight is About Unions. The fact that Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez is sponsoring a bill is all the proof he needed. (She used to head up the Labor Council, y’know.)
@andy_keatts there’s no way to tell a hotel to hire a unionized workforce-Only to ensure operators don’t intimidate workers who unionize
— Lorena Gonzalez (@LorenaSGonzalez) April 30, 2015
I have no doubt the local union movement is supportive of efforts to reform Civic San Diego. They also support an increased use of solar power. And educating people about racism. And fighting gender bias.
Quit with the dog whistles, already…
Speaking of Dog Whistles…
The push-back against protests stemming from the death of Baltimore’s Freddie Gray continues. The tactic du jour is denigration of the victim.
From Shaun King at Daily Kos:
One conservative reporter is claiming that Freddie broke his severed his spine jumping from a three story window eluding police and then running full force into a wall. Except even the Baltimore Police have claimed they simply spotted him on the street.
Other conservatives literally doctored a lead paint exposure settlement that Freddie and his sister received and claimed that it was for a severe spinal injury he received in a car accident.
Perhaps no lie being told, though, is more disturbing than the one the Baltimore Police are “leaking” to/through the Washington Post. It is irresponsible for The Washington Post to advance this lie and corrupt for the Baltimore Police to be “leaking” it to advance a false narrative to protect them.
So we are now supposed to believe that the deceased was arrested, driven around for 38 minutes on a journey that could be made in 2 minutes, and managed to self inflict a crushed voice box, three broken vertebrae and severed spinal chord. While handcuffed.
NBC investigator Jayne Miller:
“The medical evidence does not suggest at all that he was able to injure himself,” Miller said. “The force of this injury, akin to have the force involved in a car accident with all that momentum going, that is much more force than you would get trying to bang your head against the wall of the van.”
“You have to have other injuries,” she continued. “You can’t bang your head against the van, to injure yourself in a fatal way, without having a bloodier head. There is just no information that would corroborate that.”
Solidarity Marches in San Diego, Other Cities
There were numerous protests around the country last night. I saw reports from Denver, Houston, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Oakland, Washington DC, Boston and New York.
Here’s one local account, from NBC7:
In San Diego, about 100 people marched around the Officer Jeremy Henwood Memorial Park in City Heights to stand against problems between officers and the community.
“Whether we choose to admit it and choose to deal with it or not, is up to our political leaders,” said protester Bryan Kim over shouts of “All night, all day, we will fight for Freddie Gray.”
“And I think it’s pretty clear, from the community behind us, that there’s the will to make it happen, he added.”
Here’s a national summary from The Root:
According to NBC News, hundreds gathered in New York City’s Union Square on Wednesday, picking up protesters as they marched to different areas of the city and growing to a force of more than 1,000. By night’s end, more than 60 people had reportedly been arrested. NBC News noted that similar rallies were held in Seattle, San Diego and Denver, with 11 demonstrators in Denver held for “resisting police, disobedience to lawful orders, obstructing roadways and interference.”
The Guardian, meanwhile, reported rallies in Ferguson, Mo., as well as in Washington, D.C., Minneapolis and Boston. In Boston more than 1,000 assembled in front of police headquarters and began chanting, “Being black is not a crime, same story every time,” and “Every night and every day, join the fight for Freddie Gray.”
Keeping Things in Perspective
Wells Fargo Bank first pushed sub-prime mortgages on thousands of black families in Baltimore, then foreclosed on their homes. But unlike Baltimore’s black youth who threw rocks, not one single banker was arrested for destroying the community.
Wells Fargo paid $175 million settlement to Baltimore, and in the legal discovery, it was revealed loan officers deliberately targeted black families. They called it “ghetto loans for Mud People.”
On This Day: 1803 – The U.S. purchased the Louisiana Territory from France for $15 million. 1970 – U.S. troops invaded Cambodia to disrupt North Vietnamese Army base areas. The announcement by President Nixon led to widespread protests. 1988 – Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” fell out of the Billboard 200 chart for the first time in 725 weeks.
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