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Another For-Profit Diploma Mill Bites The Dust?

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http://www.ibj.com/articles/58982-brown-mackie-to-shutter-indianapolis-campus-in-nationwide-retreat

 

 

Brown Mackie College will cease to enroll new students in Indianapolis and eventually close its downtown campus as part of a nationwide drawdown for the for-profit college chain.

The local Brown Mackie site in Circle Centre mall will continue to teach existing students through June 2018. The Indianapolis location is one of 22 of Brown Mackie’s campuses that will stop enrolling new students nationwide, according to its parent company. The school has 26 campuses in total, including sites in South Bend, Merrillville and Fort Wayne that will be part of the eventual closure.

The decision was “a response to changes in regional demand and conditions in the education sector,” said Bob Greenlee, a spokesman for parent company Education Management Corp., which besides Brown Mackie also runs Argosy University, the Art Institutes and South University.

The company recently emerged from deep legal trouble as for-profit colleges have come under increased scrutiny nationally.

Late last year, Pittsburgh-based Education Management Corp. reached settlements to stop investigations into its recruiting practices, resulting in a $95.5 million win for the federal government and $100 million for student loan debt forgiveness in 39 states.

More than 5,500 Indiana students of Brown Mackie College and The Art Institutes were reported to receive loan forgiveness totaling more than $5.7 million under one settlement, according to the Indiana Lawyer.

Brown Mackie’s Indianapolis campus offers programs in business and technology, health care fields, and legal studies. A Brown Mackie campus in Michigan City closed in May—part of an earlier move that shuttered a few campuses nationwide.

For-profit colleges have received increased skepticism in recent years as reports show their students leave school with significant debt and little to show for it. A report published in late May by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that students who attended for-profit schools from 2006 to 2008 “were worse off” after leaving, according to the Wall Street Journal.

For-profit colleges knocked the study, saying the results were mostly explained by the Great Recession.

In late May, former Arizona nursing students sued Brown Mackie College-Tucson and its parent company over its nursing program, claiming their training was so deficient that they weren't allowed to take a state licensing exam.

"The 11 plaintiffs expected to graduate last year until a state nursing board investigation found some of the school’s faculty weren’t qualified and were using veterinary supplies to teach students how to care for human patients,” according to an article in the Arizona Daily Star. In the article, Greenlee said the school would not comment on pending litigation.

 

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The heartbreak with these schools, is that many students thought this was their way up and out. Now, they are saddled with debt and still can't get a decent job that pays enough to get ahead.

 

Here in TX, I try to suggest the local county community college programs. Much more credible and less expensive.

Edited by tmcgill

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IME, the only "for profit" education institution that produces graduates worth hiring is ITT Technical - and that's just for entry level roles that you're willing to start at the bottom for low pay and mold them into something useful. Brown Mackie, Phoenix, etc diplomas aren't worth the paper they are printed on.

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IME, the only "for profit" education institution that produces graduates worth hiring is ITT Technical - and that's just for entry level roles that you're willing to start at the bottom for low pay and mold them into something useful. Brown Mackie, Phoenix, etc diplomas aren't worth the paper they are printed on.

About 20 years ago when I was like 21 I knew a couple of people who parlayed ITT into good jobs and they make bank to these days.

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I went to a for profit school (UTI)

I loved the experience and learned a ton, also nice to have a industry name behind me. However the price 20k is about half my annual salary. I also went to paramedic school which was another 10k

 

It's so Damn costly to higher your education, you mine as well go for something that will give you 6 figures out the gate.

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U of Phx is already being looked at.

There are lots of horror stories on the web from students who attended UOP with little to show for it other than tens of thousands of dollars of debt. I've had no experience with them, but feel one would be much better off attending a community college and then transferring to a state university.

 

I graduated from a California State University in a time which now can only be dreamed about. Each semester's fees were only about $300 - $400. I paid it all myself and graduated with no debt. I didn't major in computer science but ended up in the IT field. I did further my technical education by taking courses at community colleges. Very cheap in California. Several classes were at Santa Monica College. Some refer to community colleges as "high school with ashtrays." Not the case. The IT courses I took there were extremely difficult.

Edited by Burgerwars

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U of Phx is already being looked at.

There are lots of horror stories on the web from students who attended UOP with little to show for it other than tens of thousands of dollars of debt. I've had no experience with them, but feel one would be much better off attending a community college and then transferring to a state university.

 

I graduated from a California State University in a time which now can only be dreamed about. Each semester's fees were only about $300 - $400. I paid it all myself and graduated with no debt. I didn't major in computer science but ended up in the IT field. I did further my technical education by taking courses at community colleges. Very cheap in California. Several classes were at Santa Monica College. Some refer to community colleges as "high school with ashtrays." Not the case. The IT courses I took there were extremely difficult.

Well it depends, I went to community college and it was hot or miss. Some classes where there to make you work hard and weed out the non hacker's. And there was others that held true to the no child left behind act.

 

A lot of for profit schools still push students ahead for the hope of getting a source of money. I looked into U of P but I was hesitant as I find it hard to believe you can benefit from getting an undergraduate degree online.

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I live close to several of the Brown Mackie colleges up here in Northern Indiana and for years heard the horror stories. In fact, in Michigan City, minutes from where I live was -as stated- a now closed campus, as well as a thriving Purdue North Central campus.

 

Students would choose BM over Purdue because of cost mostly. However, their is now an Ivy Tech campus there and they seem to be doing well.

 

I attended Purdue. Cost didn't matter, it was just what I always knew was "good" since family always attended. Glad to see BM going.

 

HL

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Annnndd... The hammer continues coming down on Diploma Mills...

 

The Obama administration moved Wednesday to terminate the ability of a 104-year-old accreditor to act as one of the gatekeepers of the roughly $130 billion in federal funds that annually flows to schools.

 

The move could be a big blow to struggling Carmel-based for-profit educator ITT Educational Services Inc.

 

Staff at the U.S. Department of Education recommended that Education Secretary John B. King Jr. revoke his recognition of the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges & Schools, or ACICS, one of 33 private organizations paid by colleges to help them maintain access to federal student aid. ACICS largely accredits for-profit schools.

 

Accreditors, which are mostly not-for-profit organizations, ensure that schools receiving taxpayer funds are up to snuff, and colleges can't receive federal student loans and grants unless they're accredited. The Education Department regularly reviews accreditors so that they're not giving colleges a free pass.

 

The move could cause havoc for many of the 243 colleges that rely on ACICS for its seal of approval. ITT Educational, one of the largest publicly traded for-profit colleges in the country, is mostly accredited by ACICS. Most of ITT's revenue comes from federal loan funding.

 

Wednesday's recommendation by department staff is just an initial step. A group that advises King on accreditation issues, the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality & Integrity, will also make its own recommendation after holding a hearing on the matter next week. Yet another Education Department official will make her own recommendation after taking the previous two into consideration. King has final authority, and his decision also can be appealed in court.

 

If ACICS ultimately loses its ability to accredit schools, colleges that rely on it will have 18 months to find a new accreditor. Those that don't either must forgo federal student aid funds or face a likely shutdown.

 

"We continue to monitor the ongoing developments with ACICS, however, we remain focused on the best interests of our students," ITT spokeswoman Nicole Elam said in an email to IBJ in response to the new development.

 

The move comes after years of criticism that both the Education Department and accreditors haven't effectively safeguarded the federal student aid system from schools that either deceived students or denied them an adequate return on their educations.

 

A spate of government investigations and lawsuits targeting for-profit colleges in recent years alleged that many career colleges duped students with false promises. What those schools have in common is the fact that their accreditors blessed their operations, allowing them to continue receiving taxpayer cash.

 

The Education Department, under President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush, has tried to shake up accreditation to force a greater emphasis on student outcomes such as graduation rates and loan default rates, but accreditors and Congress have resisted.

 

But critics say that ACICS is different from other accreditors. The organization maintained its recognition of Corinthian Colleges Inc.—the for-profit chain that declared bankruptcy last year after an onslaught of federal and state lawsuits for allegedly defrauding students—up until the day it collapsed. It also accredited other schools that some attorneys general have accused of deceiving students.

 

A group of Democratic state prosecutors, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and the Center for American Progress, a liberal policy group, have all urged the Education Department to terminate ACICS's ability to act as a gatekeeper for federal student aid funds. Last year, ACICS-overseen schools received nearly $4.8 billion in federal student loans and grants, according to the Education Department.

 

The department documented about 20 alleged failings by ACICS in its report on the accreditor. Those offenses include failing to prove that it has addressed “widespread placement rate falsification” by career schools. ACICS promised to begin verifying school-provided statistics on the jobs their students end up with in 2011, according to the report, but hasn’t followed through. The department is also concerned that ACICS failed at “discovering and acting upon questionable and fraudulent behavior at a significant number of larger institutions,” the report said.

 

“To not act at this particular point would be to sanction continued behavior of an accreditor that is not living up to its responsibilities,” a department official said Wednesday on a call with reporters.

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The hits just keep on coming for ITT Technical Institute:

http://www.ibj.com/blogs/17-the-dose/post/59179-embattled-itt-winds-down-nursing-program-at-3-indiana-campuses?id=17-the-dose

Interested in becoming a nurse? Indiana has more than two dozen nursing programs, and hospitals are hiring at a furious clip.

But one large for-profit operation, ITT Technical Institute, has shut down enrollment to new students at its campuses in Indianapolis, South Bend and Merrillville.

“NOT ACCEPTING NEW ENROLLMENTS,” says ITT’s nursing website at those campuses.

The move comes as Carmel-based parent ITT Educational Services Inc. deals with low passing rates on state licensing exams over the past five years. ITT nursing students accumulated passing rates of 52 percent in Merrillville, 57 percent in South Bend and 71 percent in Indianapolis between 2012 and 2015.

Earlier this year, the Indiana State Board of Nursing put ITT and several other for-profit nursing programs on notice and requested plans of correction. The move could lead to the loss of accreditation, according to the Indiana Commission for Higher Education.

On average, state students in public colleges have a passing rate on the licensing exam of almost 88 percent, according to the Indiana State Board of Nursing. Students in not-for-profit nursing programs pass about 83 percent of the time. For-profit nursing program students have a passing rate of 58 percent.

ITT officials said they made the decision to close enrollment after evaluating the viability of the nursing programs. It called the review a routine practice.

“We made the decision some 18-24 months ago (depending on the program) that continuing new student enrollment in these three programs was not aligned with our mission going forward,” ITT spokeswoman Nicole Elam wrote in an email. “As noted, this happens countless times at institutions all across the nation and is a regular part of effectively managing a postsecondary institution.”

The nursing programs in question seemed to be facing a big challenge in remaining open in any event. If a program has a license-exam pass rate below 80 percent for three consecutive years, the state requires the program to submit a one-year plan of correction.

If the program fails to meet the 80 percent threshold after one year on the plan of correction, the state must the place the program on conditional accreditation and could initiate withdrawal of accreditation.

At the same time, ITT is fighting other big battles. The Obama administration moved earlier this month to terminate the ability of its major accreditor, the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, to continue operating. ITT relies heavily on federal funding made possible by ACICS.

Also this month, ITT terminated its chief administrative and legal officer after less than two years on the job, without providing a reason, except to say it was “unrelated to any of the company’s business activities.”

Shares of ITT, which hit a five-year high of $93.78 each in 2011, have plummeted in recent years. The stock was trading at $1.82 in midafternoon trading Monday, down 2.6 percent on the day.

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The key words "for profit schools"

 

I attended a paramedic program at a community college, all of the health science programs were competitive and had requirements to get into.

 

I'm guessing half of the students at ITT where rejected at regular nursing schools and decided to jump on in as anyone with a pulse can get into a for profit school

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I got my Bachelor's from DeVry and my MBA from UoPhoenix. They worked out ok for me. They were expensive but they were the only ones at the time that had flexible hours that worked with my work schedule.

 

Jill in CO

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Went to ITT...ya that school sucked a big one. When there was an investigation around 2000/2001, we were told to keep our mouth shut :\

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State boards of nursing have very stringent requirements regarding licensure. If a school can't produce graduates that pass NCLEX the first try, they'll get shut down hard.

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I got my Bachelor's from DeVry and my MBA from UoPhoenix. They worked out ok for me. They were expensive but they were the only ones at the time that had flexible hours that worked with my work schedule.

 

Jill in CO

 

I am attending University Of Phoenix now while working a full time job at a Fortune 500 Company. One of my co-workers just finished his undergrad at DeVry and walks for graduation in July. These schools are the perfect option for people with jobs that need a degree to move up and cannot attend brick and mortar schools. I did two years undergrad at Morehouse College, and when my wife became pregnant with our children, had to make adjustments. I have recently, 10 years later, decided to finish my degree to position myself for promotion within my job and to set the example for my children. Tuition reimbursement plays its role as well. Me and my colleague are pretty well versed and both have had experience in brick and mortar colleges and universities. Our only complaint is the cost, but they charge accordingly because they understand the value of the convenience. The content being taught so far I can actually put to work immediately in my current work setting when it comes to Critical Thinking in Everyday Lives (Humanities course) and Becoming A Master Student (Another Humanities course I've taken). I pay very close attention to the scrutinizing as well as the outcomes and I am even aware of the aggressive practices that UOfP at one point was under fire for when it came to recruiting military students (doesn't apply to me). Anyhow, there are situations that are convenient to many, and I am thankful for a schooling opportunity that allows me to still provide for my family and push forward. One thing that I will definitely say is that the most difficult thing for me personally is the balancing act and adjusting to being a student at this point in my life. I am so focused at this time and honestly I believe it is stories like mine and Jill that keeps some of these institutions open. I like to review each for profit school on an individual basis, because to simply conclude that because a school is for-profit that it is a diploma mill, is definitely not an accurate statement. That is supported by the number of students I have ended up in class with who was taking their second swing at some of the classes, and I wasn't even in my major relevant classes yet at that point. Good luck to anyone pursuing and honestly, just do your research before taking the plunge.

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