Lost in Translation — $=$$=Zero — What Is the Contradiction? Money for Uneducation

University of Phoenix Dumpster Diving for Dollars

“The education system that was created hundreds of years ago needs to change,” says Michael Clifford, a major education entrepreneur who speaks with FRONTLINE. Clifford, a former musician who never attended college, purchases struggling traditional colleges and turns them into for-profit companies. “The big opportunity,” he says, “is the inefficiencies of some of the state systems, and the ability to transform schools and academic programs to better meet the needs of the people that need jobs.”

Hundreds of years ago? Not the community college system, created fifty years ago. Yes, more community colleges, more community education, more schools to bring labor, blue, pink, brown, whatever, to the table of the Humanities, to underscore the need for democracy to work with the leaders from the rank and file, not the elite boys and girls from those clubs of the Skull and Bones country club variety.

More, that is, bricks and mortar, teachers with benefits, students on campuses, in respective cities or towns or suburbs, wherever. But schools paid for by citizens through fare tariffs, called progressive taxation, the price of doing business in America. Socialized education, if you will. No middle-middle man, profit haven for investors. Let them invest in suits, or TV sets, or the other millions of items of junk.

The time is to fortify education, facilitate a paradigm shift so it’s more student-faculty centered, more centered in community, a place where city councils and county supervisors and mayors and district legislators and business have to DO business.

It’s time to shave off the rot on the outside of America the big, mealy apple that it is. It’s time for the for-profits to end up on a raft — without a red cent from the American taxpayers’ coffers. End of journey.

It’s the same insertion of deceit and destruction that the purveyors of privatized and for-profit health care have helped engine the USS Good Ship Dumb-Downing to run aground, letting the banks and the bankrolled run amok over the 70 Percent. Same with privatized prisons. Privatized everything. It’s what happens when the Supreme Court  decides that corporations ARE persons. This is not the Citizen’s United thing that happened in 2010!

1886, Year One for Corporate Green Light to Attack America!

… known as . . . . Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad

As late as 1840, state legislators closely supervised the operation of corporations, allowing them to be created only for very specific public benefits, such as the building of a highway or a canal. Corporations were subject to a variety of limitations: a finite period of existence, limits to the amount of property they could own, and prohibitions against one corporation owning another. After a period of time deemed sufficient for investors to recoup a fair profit, the assets of a business would often revert to public ownership. In some states, it was even a felony for a corporation to donate to a political campaign.

But in the headlong rush into the Industrial Age, legislators and the courts stripped away almost all of those limitations. By the 1860s, most states had granted owners limited liability, waiving virtually all personal accountability for an institution’s cumulative actions. In 1886, without comment, the United States Supreme Court ruled for corporate owners in Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, allowing corporations to be considered “persons,” thereby opening the door to free speech and other civil rights under the Bill of Rights; and by the early 1890s, states had largely eliminated restrictions on corporations owning each other. By 1904, 318 corporations owned forty percent of all manufacturing assets. Corporate owners were replacing de Tocqueville’s “equality of conditions” with what one writer of the time, W. J. Ghent, called “the new feudalism… characterized by a class dependence rather than by a personal dependence.”

Throughout the twentieth century, federal courts have granted U.S. corporations additional rights that once applied only to human beings—including those of “due process” and “equal protection.” Corporations, in turn, have used those rights to thwart democratic efforts to check their growth and influence.

Richard Grossman Says Citizens United, Personhood Fetish, 

Greed and Corruption Are Diversions 

And some Grossman, RIP, for clarity on the Declaration of Independence and Constitution:

There’s no shortage of corruption and greed going all around,” says Richard Grossman. “But corruption and greed are not the problem. They are diversions.”

“The essence of the power arrayed against the 99 percent are structures of minority-rule governance deeply rooted, honored and celebrated, even by, I suspect, many of the people who are occupying Wall Street today.”

“I’m referring to the great myths of this nation’s founding and founders, of the U.S. Constitution and constitutional jurisprudence, the nonsense about limited governance, the sanctification of ‘the rule of law’ when lawmaking and interpreting and enforcing have been the special preserve in every generation of a small minority.”

“I’m talking about the private ordering of economic decision making, the sweeping constitutional privileges wielded by directors of the ‘creatures of law’ we call chartered, incorporated businesses camouflaged as ‘free enterprise’ and ‘the invisible hand.’”

“I hope that teach-ins about such realities in Wall Street and Washington and other places are going on. So far, I’ve not seen evidence.”

Grossman has been one of the major philosophers of the movement to challenge corporate power.

Over his career, his thinking has moved from regulate the corporation, to challenge corporate constitutional empowerment, to criminalize the corporate form.

“And criminalizing public officials who have enabled and abetted usurpation,” Grossman adds. “And then rethinking everything relating to designing institutions to help a sovereign people live in sane and rational ways.”

Grossman objects to being called the father of the movement to challenge corporate personhood – what he dismissively calls the “corporate personhood fetish.”

“ I never focused on personhood,” Grossman said. “I helped to explain Supreme Court cases starting with Dartmouth College in 1819 that turned business corporation directors into usurpers.”

“My focus was on the Constitution as a minority-rule plan of governance, and on usurpations galore.”

“And so this move to amend the Constitution that sprung up after the Citizens United decision – I don’t understand it as strategy, as an educational process, as an organizing process, as a goal.”

“Why validate the idea that amending the Constitution offers a remedy for two hundred years of minority rule? For today’s corporate state? Corporate ‘speech’ is such a minuscule aspect of the nation’s private governance and mass denials that have been in place since the nation was founded.”

“Let’s keep in mind that when the Constitution was ratified, all states denied most people standing before the law. They denied most people the authority to vote.”

“The authors of the US Constitution included no language in that plan of governance requiring the United States to remove all barriers to human liberty – to maximize liberty throughout the land.”

“They did craft language requiring the United States to remove all barriers to commerce – to maximize production and commerce throughout the land. To impose a national economy on communities throughout the land.”

“They certainly understood the concept of a strong, centralized federal government swimming in the preemption and prerogative authority of kings.”


Some history needed — Check out  The Daniel Pennock Democracy School  


Propagandists for the revocation of the First Constitution, the Articles of Confederation, called themselves “federalists.” A small contingent of Congressional delegates meeting at the Annapolis Convention of 1786 called for the First Constitution to be amended, but the Virginia delegation arrived in Philadelphia with a plan that would not simply amend, but would replace the Articles with a centralized governmental structure intended to facilitate the interests of the rising merchant class, while increasing the power of the slaveholding states in Congress.

The anti-federalists argued that the proposed Constitution would give rise to a continental empire and the ascendency of the propertied class over the  ideals of liberty and self-governance that had only recently been won through Revolution. (See Richard Grossman’s “Anti-Federalists Speak: Property vs Democracy in 1787“)

Here you can read a selection of the anti-federalists’ work:

“John DeWitt” #3

“The Pennsylvania Minority”

“Anti-Federalist” #1

“Centinel” #1

“Brutus” #3

“Brutus” #11

“Federal Farmer” #1

“Federal Farmer” #18

“Cato” #5


The Abolitionist’s struggle for the emancipation of all people, and the end of slavery as a legally sanctioned ownership of one class of humans by another, took as its rallying point the ideals of the American Revolution and the language of the Declaration of Independence.

They did not seek to “mitigate” the harsh circumstances of fellow humans bound to servitude. They repudiated schemes to “repatriate” black Americans to Africa. They did not attempt to create a “Slave Protection Agency” that would regulate the slave-based economy and the plight of those in bondage. They demanded the immediate end to slavery, and the immediate protection of the law and Constitution for all people.

Although the Abolitionist Movement gained momentum beginning in the 1830s, the ineluctable injustice of slavery was clear to many at the founding of the new nation. An unsettled debate, at the outset of the Revolution, the question of slavery was left to each state to decide when the First Constitution, the Articles of Confederation, was adopted in 1776. But when it was replaced by the Second Constitution, slavery was legalized and protected in law.

Here you may read about the attitudes and demands of the Abolitionists who insisted the Constitution be made to live up to the ideals of the American Revolution:

Benjamin Banneker, writes to Thomas Jefferson, 1791 — On August 19 of 1791, free black man Benjamin Banneker wrote to then Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson, on behalf of black Americans then in bondage, and to include a copy of an Almanac published by Banneker.

Thomas Jefferson Responds to Benjamin Banneker — On August 30, 1791, Thomas Jefferson wrote a brief response, indicating that he would submit the letter, and the Almanac, to the Secretary of the Academy of Science in Paris (and a member of the Philanthropic Society) as evidence in support of the intellectual equality of people of African heredity.

Statistics on Slave Smuggling Just Prior to the Civil War — Captain Richard Drake, Slave Smuggler

“The Liberator” Inaugural Editorial — William Lloyd Garrison, in 1831 (more than thirty years before adoption of the 13th Amendment), called for the immediate end of slavery.

Angelina Grimke’s Appeal To The Christian Women of the South — Angelina Grimke was drafted into the Abolitionist Movement when William Lloyd Garrison published a private letter she had written to him. A Southern woman of the slave-holding class, she never-the-less stood by her words, and eventually began publishing and lecturing for the immediate abolition of slavery.

An Essay on Slavery and the Inadvisability of Women to Join Abolition Societies — by Catharine E. Beecher, addressed to Angelina Grimke.


When the US Constitution was adopted, the liberating rights so highly praised in popular history applied to a small minority of Americans, perhaps no more than 10% of the population. No Native Americans were counted to be “persons” in the eyes of the new Constitution. Nor were Black Americans, nor propertyless White Men. One excluded group of people crossed all racial and class lines. Women had no legal standing, and were extended no protections nor rights by the Constitution.

Suffrage — Vote for Women.bmpAggitation for inclusion of Women began even before the document was written. Abigail Adams wrote to her husband, John, even before the Philadelphia Convention proceeded to overthrow the First Constitution (Articles of Confederation) behind closed doors:

“I long to hear that you have declared an independency. And, by the way, in the new code of laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make, I desire you would remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors.

“That your sex are naturally tyrannical is a truth so thoroughly established as to admit of no dispute; but such of you as wish to be happy willingly give up — the harsh tide of master for the more tender and endearing one of friend.”

Abigail’s assessment of the natural tendencies of men proved all too true. A century and more of struggle was required before women were permitted to participate in the electoral process. Thirty five years before Women were recognized to be “persons” in the eyes of the Constitution, corporations had been granted “personhood” by the Courts.

Today, the right to gender equality remains only a partially attained goal of the Women’s Movement.

On the Equality of the Sexes — Judith Sargent Murray in 1790, wrote a “scandalous” essay denying the Biblical assertion of the inferiority of women to men.

Society Encourages Low Self-Esteem, Especially in Women — Judith Sargent Murray in 1784, published “Desultory Thoughts Upon the Utility of Encouraging a Degree of Self-Complacency, Especially in Female Bosoms” in Gentleman and Lady’s Town and Country Magazine. Following a harsh public reaction, she was never invited to publish there again.

The Seneca Falls Declaration, 1848 — More than suffrage, the Declaration signed at the 1848 Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York demanded gender equality.

Women’s Half Century of Evolution — Susan B. Anthony in 1902, on the struggle for Women’s rights, 18 years before adoption of the 19th Amendment.

75 Suffragists — a listing of some of the most influential women in the struggle to have women recognized as “persons” under the US Constitution.



It must be understood that Movements drive Rights into the fundamental, Constitutional structure of law. The Abolitionist Movement drove the Civil War Amendments (13th, 14th and 15th) into the Constitution, ending slavery, affirming the rights of freed slaves, and extending to (male) black Americans the franchise. The Women’s Suffrage Movement drove the 19th Amendment into the Constitution, and extended the vote to all women in 1920.

The Labor Movement of the 1830s and beyond attempted to drive workers’ rights into the Constitution, and the Knights of Labor argued, following the Civil War, that the 13th Amendment’s protections against involuntary servitude did not only apply to slavery, but extended legal protections to all workers against unsafe work conditions, long hours, inadequate pay and loss of Constitutional rights on the job. Corporate-friendly courts consistently refused to “find” workers in the Constitution, and refused to concur that the 13th Amendment was in fact a “Labor Amendment” that could fulfill the aspirations of the early Labor Movement.

Today, organized labor functions within the regulatory parameters of the National Labor Relations Board, which, under the Wagner Act, created a semi-judicial regulatory agency that permits workers to negotiate for wages, hours and working conditions within industry defined limits. No Labor Movement exists today.

Declaration of Principles of the Knights of Labor — Founded in 1869, the Knights of Labor sought to advance the rights of workers and define a people-based system of production and industry in America.

Toward A New Labor Rights Movement — James Pope, Peter Kellman and Ed Bruno

Furthering American Freedom: Civil Rights and the 13th Amendment — Alexander Tsesis

The Wages of Resting Fundamental Rights on the Commerce Clause — William E. Forbath, The New Deal Constitution in Exile

How American Workers Lost the Right to Strike — James Gray Pope

(Cartoon – Matt Wuerker, from Building Unions)

Again, University of Phoenix is a Symptom of the DISEASE 

So this University of Phoenix privatizer featured in Frontline’s College Inc.  is an ex-musician, coke head, wheeler-dealer, now a born-again Christian, multi-millionaire, with beach house, 10,000 square feet, three more on the way. Absolutely the PT Barnum death of education, death of culture,purveyor of making money-money-money. Listen to him and how crass he is — and where he lives, and the posturing, and the absolute demon nature of this fellow —

PBS, Frontline —  College Inc.

See how that U of Phoenix creator John Sperling ducks the interview, so here are the executives raking in multiple millions yammering their yammer.

Then these guys just say, “Man, we can hire and fire faculty at-will, and we can put in curriculum without any faculty input. They are punks, the reason why this country is bankrupted morally — Lord of War, King of Penal Colonies, Prince of Penury, Commander in Chief of the Capitalists.”

So you listen — watch this Frontline, College Inc., and you get this slimy film over your tongue. These executives are rolling in dough, and the cover-up is in plain sight — here’s one:

“When I left Apollo — I did better than I ever imagined,” he says, tongue in cheek, the Frontline reporter afraid to push for that magical number of $30 million? A hundred mill.? — Mark DeFusco, former Apollo executive $1111111111.00

“From a business perspective, it’s a great story,” says Jeffrey Silber, a senior analyst at BMO Capital Markets, the investment banking arm of the Bank of Montreal. “You’re serving a market that’s been traditionally underserved. … And it’s a very profitable business — it generates a lot of free cash flow.”

These people have bilked us, fleeced students, and are laughing all the way to the lobbyists’ lounge.

High-stakes Washington lobbyists have multiple tactics to win policy fights on behalf of their clients. A classic move is to line up unusual allies, especially progressive supporters for special-interest causes. Sometimes this is done through shell groups, but it’s far more effective to get established progressive leaders and organizations to lend their credibility to your cause.

Which is how the Obama administration, in its recent attempt to regulate the for-profit college industry, found some unusual opponents: Melanie Sloan, director of the government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, and Tom Matzzie, MoveOn’s former Washington director. With their help, the industry successfully delayed the implementation of new rules to obstruct predatory lending practices, in part by painting critics of the industry as scheming banksters.

“What we see here is that the for-profit school industry has not just bought off the Republican Party but has done an amazing job of buying off the elite of the political left as well,” says education activist Barmak Nassirian, who heads a trade association of nonprofit college admissions officers.

From the Village Voice a few months ago —

The for-profit industry is so rife with deceit, it has been billed as the second coming of the mortgage-loan debacle. And the same people are behind it. Three-quarters of all for-profit students are enrolled at schools owned by Wall Street banks and private-equity firms.

All told, they soak $30 billion a year from American taxpayers. But even in the age of slash-and-burn government, Congress has shown no interest in stopping it.

And, Barmak again from AACRAO

“The problem with the subprime [housing] scam was that it got so big, it almost brought down the entire world’s economy,” says Barmak Nassirian, a former official with the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers. “This one’s wisely limited to $30 billion a year, which is highly sustainable. In the context of a multitrillion federal budget, that’s not even a rounding error.”

 Q –Going to put money behind it? Real dollars?

A -Are they putting real money behind it? Look, this is capitalism, but you have to understand, this is crony capitalism; this isn’t real capitalism. Real money isn’t changing hands among private parties. The genesis of the system is the big premise which somehow sort of evades people, namely that this is all set in motion only if you assume that billions of [dollars in] federal money are available for the taking. Once you make that assumption, then everything else follows.

Now, for that assumption to be true, though, you need to grease the right kinds of palms, have the right kind of presence, pay the right kind of attention to people who write our laws. And the sector absolutely does that. It is astonishingly good at that. They have extensive and intensive contact with every tier of our government from the federal government, from Congress to administration to state government to various semi-governmental organizations. So the sector understands this is a heavily subsidized business. This is not Main Street activity. This is really Washington activity.

It shouldn’t surprise anybody that a disproportionate amount of attention and a tremendous amount of money goes into lobbying here. And that’s how the die is cast, because the one requirement here for all of the rest of their practices to ensue is that billions of dollars of federal money flow with no accountability, no oversight and minimal regulations. And for that to happen, they need to pay attention to Washington. And they do.

Q –They say the reason why they’re able to grow fast in nursing is because the traditional sector is failing. Community colleges, sort of the logical place for many people to go for at least basic nursing training, are largely inaccessible. We talked to one in New York: 300 in every year, 1,000 on the waiting list. Is that a failure on the part of traditionals? Is it the market working?

A — No. What it is is the manufacturing of scarcity. It is the way you create a need that you can then step in to satisfy, allegedly, at vastly greater cost than would otherwise be the case. Nursing is a perfect example. …

Nursing programs have faced this particular issue now for a number of years. On the one hand, we all know that there is a nursing shortage in this country. On the other hand, we have slashed the budgets of the very programs that could most quickly and most efficiently produce the right number of qualified nurses. And we have done so in the name of lack of funding, right? We’ve done so because we are cutting budgets left, right and center, and institutions simply can’t meet the demand that is out there.

So on the one hand we plead poverty and limit the number of quality programs that can be offered. On the other hand, we take our wallets and our checkbooks and hand them to somebody who steps in and manages to supply the seats that some other community college can’t supply at vastly greater cost.

So what you have is a sleight of hand again. You have an example of, again, crony capitalism. It almost links to itself, because the very same forces that create the underfunding of the community college programs are the forces that then benefit from the scarcity that is created there, because they can now step in and essentially offer something that we think in many instances is vastly lower quality at vastly higher prices.

Read more: 

Q- I wanted to go back to something you said about credits. Your contention is that a B.A. at a for-profit and a B.A. at a four-year institution is qualitatively different and that one of the ways you can tell that is that you are just getting far fewer hours at the for-profit. Is that right?

A — Well, a couple of things. First of all, I don’t know that it’s true, by the way, clear across the board. There are plenty of nonprofits whose B.A.s are equally as worthless, so who’s kidding whom? But in general, … there’s a huge difference between taking a student through the necessary coursework that leads to a bachelor’s degree at one venue versus another. We all know that. Different schools have different sort of characteristics. Some are tougher; some are more demanding; some are easier.

Frankly, within the same school, people have views that certain fields are harder fields than others. We all understand that. So I’m not sure that … I would draw a big line that would put all the traditionals on the side of the good and all the for-profits on the side of the bad.

But I am suggesting that one of the really distinctive features of some of the for-profits and of the sector in general has been that if you pay up and if you show up, however that is defined, they will shepherd you through, and you will get a credential.

Now, the issue then becomes, is a credential that is earned that way likely to be on par with a credential that actually involves a fairly intensive amount of gatekeeping on a course-by-course basis by professors who fail people? And my answer is no. If there are two engineers and one of them sailed through a for-profit program, despite the fact that he or she was recruited without a whole lot of academic review and despite the fact they actually kind of hounded them throughout their career at the place, and particularly if I find out that the person got that baccalaureate degree in two and a half years, now I have to wonder: Either they have invented something that we should steal from them if they can really manufacture legitimate baccalaureate programs in two and a half years out of unqualified pools of applicants, or something much more likely is going on, which is if you have a pulse and you’re eligible for federal financial aid and you occasionally show up, you will sail through and you will get your degree.

And in fact, the challenge is hounding enough people to stay on long enough so that that happens. So one of the challenges for us is quality. Quality. Are these credentials, all of them federally financed, is this what the American economy is going to go up against China with? Are we going to have engineers with those credentials compete with the Chinese engineers?

Read more: at Frontline

Well, another way to fleece the fleecers — Action and some agency here –

About Campus Progress’ Initiative on For-Profit Colleges

Campus Progress supports measures to ensure that taxpayer dollars spent on higher education go to helping students to learn, gain skills, and succeed in the job market – rather than to high-priced, low-quality, deceptively-marketed programs that rip off students and taxpayers.  Campus Progress and our allies have highlighted disturbing practices at some for-profit colleges across the country. For-profit schools currently serve 10 percent of U.S. students but account for 25 percent of federal student aid—and nearly half of student loan defaults. While there are some quality programs at for-profit schools, too many for-profit programs are marked by skyrocketing tuition, high dropout rates, and insurmountable debt for many students. Numerous investigations have exposed deceptive and intimidating recruiting tactics, fraudulent reporting on student job placement, and other misconduct that can wreck the lives of Americans struggling to support themselves and their families.

In July 2010, the Department of Education proposed regulations to enforce current laws that require programs, like those offered at for-profit colleges, to prepare students for “gainful employment.” These regulations asked two important questions:

  • Is the program burying students in overwhelming debt?
  • Is it training students to earn a living?

In an effort to kill the proposed rule, for-profit education companies hired scores of big-name lobbyists and consultants, increased campaign contributions to members of Congress, and bombarded the airwaves with slick, misleading TV commercials. In 2010, alone, the industry spent over $8.1 million on lobbying, compared with $3.3 million in 2009, and industry executives and political action committees gave more than $2 million in 2010 campaign contributions, almost double the 2008 amount.

After nearly ten months of debate, a series of hearings, a public comment period, and scores of meetings with organizations on both sides of the issue, the Department of Education announced its final “gainful employment” rule in June 2011. The full rule can be found on the Department’s website here.

Below are Stories

of students and employees

who have been victims of the predatory

practices and abuses of for-profit college programs.

Campus Progress is gathering these stories through web-based research and direct outreach to students, as well as outreach to partner organizations. Unfortunately, these stories are not isolated incidents. We are continuing to collect stories from former students and employees of for-profit colleges.

University of Phoenix Charged Me Three Times More Than My Classes Were Worth

“I’m on disability, but the financial aid counselor convinced me that if I sacrificed and paid off the loan, I would receive my financial aid in a couple of weeks. So, I took my rent money and paid off the loan. My financial aid was not certified until September. I faced eviction and my electricity was turned off for lack of payment. When I realized that they were charging me over $1,100 per class and I could get the same classes at my local community college for 1/3 of that, I withdrew before they could schedule me for any more classes. I enrolled in the community college and have a 3.5 GPA. But I cannot take anymore classes because I have an outstanding balance with U of P and they will not release my transcript until they receive their money.”

—Cherryl Lockett, former Univeristy of Phoenix student

DeVry Monsters Feed Off of Students’ Hope

“From my experience working there, a good 70 percent of the students are students from low- and mid-class families that are trying hard to etch out a life for themselves. These monsters come in and tell them pretty words that don’t mean anything. They make it seem like their only option is to go to DeVry and not another college, community college or university. They feed off the hope of the students essentially.”

—a former DeVry University employee

I Paid $22,000 For a Useless Degree

“The day I graduated from this school, my ‘degree’ was considered obsolete. The school’s answer to this problem was, ‘go back to school and get another degree.’ More debt for me, more profit for the school. Total loan debt: $22,000.”

—Jeffrey Bland, former ECPI College of Technology student

These Schools Should Be Closed Down

I know all about. I worked for an EDMC school as an adjunct. More than 60% of the students were not ready for college. I had students with serious learning disabilities who were not capable of understanding the subject nor how to follow assignment directions. The school has 10 week semesters and they design them so it’s almost most fail and drop out.

The CEO of EDMC was awarded a $600,000 bonus while people are racking up debt.

It’s a scam, nothing more nor less.   The faculty at the school I worked at were good, frustrated and very well aware that the management was full of it. EDMC is huge scam, it needs to be closed down.

–former adjunct faculty EDMC

 DeVry Billed Me for Tuition the Army had Already Paid For

“Working with DeVry’s finance staff was a nine-month nightmare that I would not care to repeat. I used the military tuition assistance (TA) program to pay for a portion of my tuition for DeVry. However, DeVry repeatedly billed me for the entire tuition bill, including the portion ALREADY PAID by the US Army. Attempts to contact DeVry’s finance staff were exceedingly frustrating. They were rarely responsive, and when they replied they simply stonewalled the problem while late fees were piled on to my balance. [Enrolling at Devry] turned out to be an incredibly disruptive influence on my education, military career, and personal finances.”

—a former DeVry University student

 The Interview on Frontline, posted, with  Barmak Nassirian

This was one of the better interviews in this program that does not water down the realities of corporate policy, as many of the other interviewees were avoiding or passing off as unimportant. As a young adult(the only one in family who has a BA from a State university, for whatever that is worth) looking out for younger relatives, I question the amount of stock many thousands of people put into these for-profit schools and what this will mean for them. How will they recognize the quality of education before signing? Are students being used literally as a pawn to gain access to student aid funding made readily available to them because they are low-income or special interest? Are they being lured into skillful management of regurgitating money from the federal aid system into pockets of profiteers? My parents would not know a community college from a 4-year university from a for-profit institution and with such clearly aggressive marketing and sales tactics and heavy advertisement it is no wonder so many people are getting confused and drawn in. The colorful analogy about the safety and quality of a building was very powerful. Thank you for bringing this topic to light.

–Anonymous Commenter on Frontline blog for College Inc.

More  at PBS

July 31, 2012, 11:11 am
Senate Committee Comes Down Hard on For-Profit Colleges
Following a two-year investigation, the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Labor, Education and Pensions [HELP] yesterday released a dense and damning report on the for-profit college industry.
July 2, 2012, 2:22 pm
Judge Blocks Key Provision of “Gainful Employment” Rules
A federal judge has struck down a Department of Education initiative aimed at improving the quality of degrees issued by for-profit colleges
June 27, 2012, 5:41 pm
Some For-Profit Schools At Risk of Losing Federal Aid
The Obama administration warned this week that nearly 100 for-profit colleges could lose federal funds for not meeting new performance requirement standards.
May 25, 2012, 1:58 pm
As Public Schools Face Cutbacks, Federal Funds Flow to For-Profits
While state and local governments cut back funding to public higher education institutions, the volume of federal government subsidies to for-profit colleges and universities continues to increase
March 16, 2012, 6:02 pm
Lawsuits Address Recruitment Practices at For-Profit Colleges
This week’s for-profit education news features two lawsuits filed against two different companies. One suit was settled; another, from a … 
December 12, 2011, 3:51 pm
How the For-Profit College Industry Took on the Obama Administration (and Won)
Where could you find alleged threats against a high-ranking senator, millions of dollars changing hands and a massive, coordinated show … 
September 19, 2011, 1:01 pm
Joe Nocera on Why We Need For-Profit Colleges
In recent weeks, for-profit colleges and universities have seen some bad news, including a federal lawsuit alleging fraud at EDMC . . .
August 24, 2011, 2:20 pm
For-Profit College Enrollment Drops Sharply
Are the industry’s glory days over? It’s likely too early to tell, but The Wall Street Journal’s Melissa Korn has … 
August 9, 2011, 6:21 pm
Feds Sue Second Largest For-Profit Education Company, Allege Fraud
“We are forced to do anything necessary to get people to fill out an application. Our jobs depend on it.” … 


So [Phoenix is] doing some online [courses] before they start Axia? They know about online?

Yes, Phoenix was a pioneer in online education well before Axia. And if you think about it, their academic model was quite suited to online education because they have a standardized, centralized curriculum. Everybody who takes a given subject, like business or criminal justice, a given course, they take the same course, they read the same books and so on. So it’s quite easy to replicate and take onto a grand scale, as against a traditional college like Harvard or Yale, where every professor has a very different course. So their growth model lent itself very well to online expansion.

Tell me about the online experience.

The way the online experience works at most of the for-profits, including Phoenix, is what’s called asynchronous, meaning that you’re not necessarily watching the professor talk to you in real time. The professor may leave a lecture that you can watch anytime you want, and then, at some point, you will post responses or thoughts on an online bulletin board and chat with your classmates or communicate with them on the bulletin board.

And in the course of the week, you hand in a couple of assignments or whatever’s required. So it’s a very convenient way to take classes in the sense that you don’t have to be on your computer at a given hour, and so whenever you have downtime from work, you can be online. In that sense, for Phoenix, it was an extension of their mission to serve working adults because it’s very convenient and flexible.

The downside of online education is, if somebody requires remedial help, it may not be as easy or helpful for them to get it online as against meeting with a person who’s actually there. And also if your life is unstable, if you’re a low-income student, maybe you get evicted from your apartment, maybe you’re constantly moving around, you may not have Internet access all the time, and then that can make online education very problematic. …

So they recruit much more intensively?

They do recruit very intensively. Anybody who’s gone online to Google or Yahoo! or their e-mail will often see pop-up ads from the for-profit colleges. Or if you’re watching television late at night, it almost seems to be saturation advertising.

Read more:

Democracy in America

DESCRIBING THE UNITED STATES of the 1830s in his now-famous work, Democracy in America, the young French aristocrat Alexis de Tocqueville depicted a country passionate about self-governance. In the fifty years since sovereignty had passed from the crown to the people, citizens of the new republic had seized upon every opportunity “to take a hand in the government of society and to talk about it….If an American should be reduced to occupying himself with his own affairs,” wrote de Tocqueville, “half his existence would be snatched from him; he would feel it as a vast void in his life.”

At the center of this vibrant society was the town or county government. “Without local institutions,” de Tocqueville believed, “a nation has not got the spirit of liberty,” and might easily fall victim to “despotic tendencies.”

As historian Lawrence Henry Gipson noted, “The period from 1760 to 1775 is really the history of the transformation of the attitude of the great body of colonials from acquiescence in the traditional order of things to a demand for a new order.”


Consent of the Governed


The reign of corporations and the fight for democracy


Published in the November/December 2003 issue of Orion magazine


Paul Haeder's been a teacher, social worker, newspaperman, environmental activist, and marginalized muckraker, union organizer. Paul's book, Reimagining Sanity: Voices Beyond the Echo Chamber (2016), looks at 10 years (now going on 17 years) of his writing at Dissident Voice. Read his musings at LA Progressive. Read (purchase) his short story collection, Wide Open Eyes: Surfacing from Vietnam now out, published by Cirque Journal. Here's his Amazon page with more published work Amazon. Read other articles by Paul, or visit Paul's website.

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  1. Paul Haeder said on March 27th, 2013 at 9:46am #


    Very nice work. It looks like there may be a class action suit (by students) brewing. I just called and emailed the lawyer,

    Lawrence Salisbury
    Majors & Fox, LLP
    401 West A Street, Suite 2350
    San Diego, CA 92101
    Phone: (619) 234-1000
    Facsimile: (619) 234-1011


    In solidarity and empathy,