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On May 4, PBS’s Frontline show interviewed a former recruiter for Ashford University, the online college that is part of San Diego’s newest corporate darling, Bridgepoint Education. She complained about the pressure to enroll students. “They used to tell us, you know, ‘Dig deep. Get to their pain. Get to what’s bothering them. So, that way, you can convince them that a college degree is going to solve all their problems,’” said the ex-recruiter.

On December 30 of last year, Bloomberg Businessweek magazine revealed how for-profit universities shamelessly take advantage of military personnel. The first example was U.S. Marine Corporal James Long, who has a brain injury. He knew he was enrolled at Ashford but couldn’t recall what class he was taking. A winsome female Ashford recruiter had allegedly broken camp rules by recruiting students at a barracks for wounded Marines. Eight to ten of them had signed up, including Long, who flunked his first test ten times.

The Bloomberg Businessweek story contained errors, says Bridgepoint, and its rules ban the high-pressure sales techniques its former employee described on TV. The company insists it does not recruit students just to suck in federal loan and grant money.

The online educator has convinced the San Diego establishment. Bridgepoint will be the new sponsor of the Holiday Bowl. Its ads are all over Petco Park. A new, widely touted study (financed by Bridgepoint) says the company is a big contributor to the San Diego economy. The firm is a media love kitten. The Union-Tribune has editorially puffed up Bridgepoint, which is also a sponsor of Voice of San Diego.

The new local cheer is “Sis boom bah, Bridgepoint!”

Emphasize that word “bah”! Few realize that the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General probed Ashford between 2005 and mid-2009. In its reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Bridgepoint admits that the government has found that the company may have been seriously out of compliance with Higher Education Act regulations and the penalties could be quite severe — even threatening the company’s major source of funding, the federal government.

Wall Street’s Warburg Pincus owns 63.4 percent of the company. Chief executive Andrew Clark, who founded Bridgepoint in 2004, owns 5.8 percent. Last year, Clark’s total compensation was $20.5 million, most of which consisted of stock option awards.

For-profit schools are gaining students as public and private universities and colleges cut back in the tough economic environment. Stocks of these schools, such as DeVry, Capella, ITT, Corinthian, and Apollo Group (University of Phoenix), have collectively done well over the past year, although they took a hit when word leaked out before the PBS broadcast and Corinthian reported Department of Education problems. Also, the general market took a monumental plunge late in the week, although it bounced back Monday.

The best stock of the bunch has probably been Bridgepoint’s. On April 15 of last year, the company went public, closing that day at $11.10. The stock has risen steadily and this Monday afternoon was trading above $24. But on May 4, Bridgepoint’s stock was belted, along with others in the industry, even though the company had just announced that first-quarter revenue had zoomed 85 percent as a result of a horde of students enrolling.

The for-profit education stocks get walloped from time to time for other reasons. Often, it’s after Robert Shireman, deputy undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Education, gives a speech. Late last month, he scolded the for-profit schools for the huge and rapidly burgeoning sums of federal aid money they are sucking up.

Shireman is particularly worried about the amount of debt that low-income students are amassing. For-profit educational firms bear much of that responsibility. A report by the Department of Education indicates that in the 2007–2008 period, a whopping 53 percent of those who got bachelor’s degrees from for-profit institutions had more than $30,500 of debt, versus 17 percent at nonprofit public and private schools. Frontline pointed out that while for-profit schools have 10 percent of U.S. students, they account for 44 percent of debt defaults.

Actually, since the late 1980s, the Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General has been probing for-profit schools, looking for such frauds and abuses as misleading recruitment practices, falsification of admission and financial aid records, untrue statements to prospective students, and the providing of aid to ineligible students. To keep their revenues and profits soaring, and their stocks climbing, the for-profit education companies cut corners to achieve growth.

Few companies of any kind have experienced the hyper-rapid growth enjoyed by Bridgepoint. In 2005, the company had revenues of $7.95 million. By 2009, they had soared to $454.3 million. Over the same period, the bottom line went from a loss of $6.53 cents a share to a profit of 74 cents.

The company has come a long way in a few short years. In 2005, it bought tiny Franciscan University of the Prairies in Clinton, Iowa, a former teachers’ college, and changed its name to Ashford University. In 2007, the parent acquired a tinier school and renamed it University of the Rockies. However, 99 percent of Bridgepoint’s 53,688 students attend online; 17.1 percent are in the military. There are 2495 faculty members, and all but 65 are part-time.

The company boasts that it is very liberal in accepting class credits from elsewhere. Indeed, it will honor up to 99 transfer credits, or potentially more than three years’ worth — something only six schools do.

The federal government is the cash register. Bridgepoint students get grants and loans under Title IV of the Higher Education Act. Both Ashford and University of the Rockies get 85 percent of their revenue from the Title IV programs.

And that’s why it is important for an investor — or a San Diego Bridgepoint cheerleader — to read the company’s March 2 annual report and May 3 quarterly report to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Critically, the company mentions the possibility of “loss of access to federal loans and grants on which we are substantially dependent.” The annual report spells out how the Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) looked closely into Ashford for four years. “We expect that the OIG’s draft report will assert findings of noncompliance, and if such findings are included in the OIG’s final report, such final report could result in recommendations that the U.S. Department of Education Office of Federal Student Aid impose fines, liabilities, and/or adverse action on Ashford University,” says the report.

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Comments

paul May 12, 2010 @ 12:52 p.m.

The legitimacy of Bridgepoint appears to be through the two schools they purchased, in Iowa and Colorado.

Why are they here in San Diego?

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SanDiegoParrothead May 12, 2010 @ 1:12 p.m.

Don: Just want to say thanks for the info on Bridgepoint. I read (and was fooled) by the SDUT article, so much so that I went online and was thinking about applying there. Then I read your blog a few days later and decided to deep six those plans.

If they lose the fed gov't money, I can see a lot of layoffs coming ...

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Don Bauder May 12, 2010 @ 1:50 p.m.

Response to post #1: The CEO and founder of Bridgepoint had spent much of his career at the University of Phoenix. Maybe, like many Zonies, he preferred San Diego. There are a number of companies based in San Diego because of the weather, beaches, golf courses, etc. As to the purchase of the small land-based schools in Iowa and Colorado: generally, the for-profit schools purchase a land-based institution for accreditation purposes. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 12, 2010 @ 1:56 p.m.

Response to post #2: We don't know whether Bridgepoint is likely to lose its federal funding, but the company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission warn that this is a possibility. I, for one, would like to see the federal government crack down on these for-profit schools, which are contributing so greatly to the massive amount of student debt to the government that can't be dismissed in bankruptcy court. I would like to see the government slash sharply its Title IV funding of students in these so-called universities. Best, Don Bauder

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ldonner May 12, 2010 @ 2:50 p.m.

This is really interesting - Don, thanks for point out their presence. To be honest, I wasn't aware of their back story, either. And I'm still not sure where I stand on the federal government's obligation to crack down on for profits. Are they all bad? What about the non-traditional students (who can't get into other schools) who are served by them, if they're served at all?

There's an event with Anya Kamenetz and faculty from NU, SDSU, UCSD and a SD community college tomorrow night. It's free on UCSD campus.

I'm going to bring up this article to the panel. See: http://www.sandiegoreader.com/events/2010/may/13/24827/

I'd love for you to attend, Don, as well as interested members of the SD community who are concerned about mounting student debt - and the roles of schools like these in our community's education.

<p>[email protected]>
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Josh15 May 12, 2010 @ 3:20 p.m.

Based on the company's stellar stock performance, I think those with money on the line see the chance of loss or substantial restriction of title IV funding for Bridgepoint as quite low. I wouldn't worry about big layoffs coming.

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johnruzicka May 12, 2010 @ 3:25 p.m.

Interesting and well-written, Don. Thanks. John Ruzicka MS in Global Leadership University of San Diego School of Business Administration http://www.sandiego.edu/msgl

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Don Bauder May 12, 2010 @ 3:36 p.m.

Response to post #5: I think the most interesting statistics to present are that the for-profits have 10% of students but 44% of debt defaults. And 53% of those getting undergrad degrees from for-profits in 2007-2008 had more than $30,500 in debt, versus 17% of students at public and private non-profit schools. Those figures are in paragraph 11. You may also raise the point, not mentioned in this column, that certain for-profits (I don't know if Bridgepoint is among them) are recruiting students among the homeless. Bridgepoint is an aggressive telemarketer. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 12, 2010 @ 3:40 p.m.

Response to post #6: But keep in mind that Wall Street is completely incapable of thinking long term. In fact, it's a bunch of day traders, buying one minute and selling the next, generally through high-speed computerized programs. Wall Street follows trading trends; fundamental analysis is not so important anymore. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 12, 2010 @ 3:43 p.m.

Response to post #7: I did the column (and an earlier blog item) because as soon as the company announced it was sponsoring the Holiday Bowl, the mainstream media, particularly the U-T and the local TV stations, did puff pieces on the company. Best, Don Bauder

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CogSciGuy May 12, 2010 @ 4 p.m.

As a long time enrollment advisor for Bridgepoint, I can attest that we certainly do get paid for how many students we enroll and are therefore quite eager to enroll anyone who is willing...and to try to convince those who are less willing. Tami's (the former EA here) comments on the Frontline piece were entirely accurate.

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Don Bauder May 12, 2010 @ 5:51 p.m.

Response to post #11: When you say you are "quite eager to enroll anyone who is willing," do you consider whether the person is qualified to enter college? And able to take on debt? Not simply willing to enroll? Best, Don Bauder

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CogSciGuy May 12, 2010 @ 6:02 p.m.

Marginally, I suppose. More concerned about making my own mortgage payment by not getting a fat pay cut due to not enrolling enough students.

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Don Bauder May 12, 2010 @ 8:25 p.m.

Response to post #13: Does Bridgepoint consider whether the student is qualified for college level studies or able to take on debt? Best, Don Bauder

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Visduh May 12, 2010 @ 8:53 p.m.

Don, I hope this isn't a blanket indictment of everything that is "for profit." The "for profit" piece of the economy pays for all the rest of the economy that consumes. Having said that, these diploma mills--and let's call them what they are--are doing any number of things that are bad. First they take money from those who can least afford the outlay with promises that a "college degree" will solve all their problems in life, love, and eternity. Second, they dilute the value and respect for real college degrees granted by real colleges for real accomplishment, in the workplace and in society in general. (Nowadays, when I hear anyone claiming to hold a Ph.D., I immediately ask "From where?")

All this reminds me of the local "success story", National University. It depended upon armed service members for the preponderance of its students, all of whom had their fees paid for in full by the employer of last resort, the US government. The actual payer was the Dept of Defense. As a result, NU's biggest campuses were in San Diego, and Sacramento (which once hosted two large air force bases, both now abandoned.) NU wasn't for-profit. The founder, an academic grifter whose name now escapes me, set it up as a non-profit. But that didn't stop him from having his hand-picked board from paying him a princely sum, and from having almost his whole family employed there, and all drew handsome salaries. The gravy train ended about twenty years ago (although NU still exists in a different form and format) and the founder had to relinquish power.

Simply stated, they were selling degrees by hiring faculty who were willing to work cheap, getting minimal accreditation, and pretending to conduct classes for many hours a week beyond what any "working adult" could actually manage. But hey, what's not to like about an MBA that took a mere 16 months to earn (and cost about $15K) when your employer didn't know the difference between Wharton and NU? A degree is a degree is a degree, isn't it? Well, no it isn't, but by the time you figure that out, it's far too late.

Let's not pick on the for-profits here, let's really go after the educational racketeers, regardless of their tax status. There are hundreds/thousands of them running around, picking pockets of those who can least afford to be ripped off, and claiming to grant academic degrees.

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Don Bauder May 12, 2010 @ 11:42 p.m.

Response to post #15: The head of National who ran into so much trouble was named Chigos, I believe. Yes, he was removed. I knew a good economist who taught there, the late Tore Tjersland, who had a low opinion of Chigos. I know graduates of National who are very bright. I certainly wouldn't roundly condemn National. But your points are very well taken. Best, Don Bauder

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CogSciGuy May 13, 2010 @ 7:36 a.m.

Any prospective student who has earned at least a high school diploma or GED is, by definition, academically qualified to attend Ashford University (not Bridgepointas that would include the University of the Rockies, which offers only graduate programs and therefore requires a bachelor's). It's open, non-competitive admissions.

I don't believe Bridgepoint has any mechanism to weigh whether individual students are "able to take on debt," by which I take it you mean they have a good prospect of paying off the debt. Then again, neither did it appear that my alma mater, UCSD, did, when I took out $20K in loans to pay the rent and finish the last couple years of my bachelor's there.

I would very much like to see changes in the recruiters' incentive structure at for-profit schools generally. I think that will alleviate a lot of problems with for-profits. I am hopeful that the upcoming new rules from the DOE regarding that and gainful employment will allow recruiters to focus more on quality and less on quantity.

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Don Bauder May 13, 2010 @ 11:52 a.m.

Response to post #17: I am told that the enrollment advisors, who are essentially telemarketers, are under tremendous pressure to enroll students. Prospective students should have a high school or GED degree, and there are no questions about ability to repay debt. You are quite right: new DOE rules should focus more on quality and less on quantity; student debt is out of control, along with credit card debt. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 13, 2010 @ 12:08 p.m.

SOURCE SAYS BRIDGEPOINT PAYS $50 PER LEAD FOR ITS TELEMARKETERS. I have talked with several former Bridgepoint people since this article appeared. One was particularly interesting. This source, a former employee, managed enrollment advisors, who are essentially telemarketers. The source says that Bridgepoint pays as much as $50 per name for lists of leads. That sounds high, but such a high percentage get enrolled that it's worth it, says the former manager. Telemarketers have two weeks of training, as well as ongoing training. They have to hit daily goals, or may be terminated or have their salaries lowered, says the source."The pressure on EAs [enrollment advisors] to perform is ridiculous," says the source, noting that Bridgepoint's amazing revenue growth is proof of the pudding. Best, Don Bauder

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CogSciGuy May 13, 2010 @ 12:41 p.m.

19 is accurate...I'm not sure how accurate the $50/lead thing is anymore, but it's a number that has been put out there frequently for about how much we pay. The more you pay per lead, the more likely you're calling people who actually want to go to school...and actually want to go online...and actually want the majors we offer.

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victories May 13, 2010 @ 3:30 p.m.

I got caught in the Ashford trap. As an older learner with learning disabilities, I wasn't confidant I could "do" college. The recruiter I spoke with was smooth, agressive & talked like she was my new BFF. I was pushed into applying for a student loan, and when I asked, she claimed she was a councelor & not on commission. Not only were the classes a joke, each one required purchasing text books that were all published in house!! I got out, paid off my loan & considered myself fortunate to have gained a type of 'education' they hadn't intened.

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Don Bauder May 13, 2010 @ 4:26 p.m.

Response to post #20: I have done reporting through the years on these suckers lists that are hawked to telemarketers: $50 a name is high. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 13, 2010 @ 4:29 p.m.

Response to post #21: Yes, I have seen complaints about the purchase of the so-called textbooks, and how this is still another scheme. And the telemarketers are indeed very smooth; that's a condition of employment. You were very astute to get out. Best, Don Bauder

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dontagree May 13, 2010 @ 5:27 p.m.

As a student myself the books are published by McGraw-Hill (it says so on the side of the textbook), which publishes many text books for all schools, both public and private (for profit). Presenting this school like it is the sole school responsible for everything is irresponsible. You could have easily plotted many schools in here and the article wouldn't have changed much. The OIG has been inspecting for fraud since the 1980's but no actual evidence was mentioned, so have they been investigating or have they been monitoring for profit schools like Ashford? Don't forget it opened in 2005 so it couldn't be the only school unless the government somehow got proactive.

The costs here in CA for public school are subsidized by state taxes, so comparing a private school to a public is just not the same unless you include the total costs from taxpayers plus student costs. Look at some of the articles about how SDSU is being affected because of state budget cuts and that people can't get into those schools. I transferred in 85 credits including my military (which SDSU wouldn't have taken) and used my GI Bill to pay for the rest. When I went to Grossmont I had to pay out of pocket and wait to be reimbursed by the VA, Ashford deferred my tuition for me so my benefits could kick in.

By the way SDSU didn't accept my application because there were not enough spots and my 3.6 GPA wasn't high enough transferring out of Grossmont College like I was previously promised when applying for the transfer program. I didn't bother trying USD because the tuition there is 15k per semester and I can't afford that working FT and going to school FT to try and get my business degree.

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Don Bauder May 13, 2010 @ 7:10 p.m.

Response to post #24: The column did mention many other for-profit schools, and Ashford isn't the only one that has been investigated. Best, Don Bauder

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Burwell May 13, 2010 @ 7:33 p.m.

I transferred in 85 credits including my military (which SDSU wouldn't have taken) and used my GI Bill to pay for the rest.

A veteran with a hiring preference for a federal job would likely not want to spend 6 or more years struggling through SDSU, fighting for classes, taking comprehensive finals, and having to write three or more ball-breaker term papers each semester. This would be particularly true for a veteran with a family to support. A preference-eligible veteran could use a college degree from Ashford to qualify for federal jobs that require college degrees, and obtain the needed degree in less than 18 months. Veterans with preferences have to be hired for such jobs as an entitlement, and there are usually more job openings in the federal government than there are veterans to fill them. A similar situation exists in the San Diego Police Department where officers with college degrees receive an extra 8 % of base pay after four years of service. That 8% of base pay could up to $1 million or more in extra pay and retirement benefits over the life of an officer. Police officers who want to get that degree as quickly as possible with minimal effort are going to enroll at Ashford, they are not going to go to SDSU. Colleges like Ashford are not for everyone, but many benefit financially from what these colleges offer.

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SurfPuppy619 May 13, 2010 @ 7:59 p.m.

I would very much like to see changes in the recruiters' incentive structure at for-profit schools generally. I think that will alleviate a lot of problems with for-profits.

What you do with any school getting federal loans, ESPECIALLY "for profit", is stop the loan program if they have a default rate above 25% 5 years out......that would stop their worthless programs.....right now the gov only counts defaults during the first 2 years-and since it takes 9 months for a default to occur the real time period the gov counts defaults is the first 15 months...very biased.

One reason the DoE does this is b/c the DoE and the student loan industry are revolving doors for each other, where the gov is not trying to protect and serve the public, but maximize profits for their cronies in the student loan industry-and by that extension themselves b/c that is where they end up, or come from.

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SurfPuppy619 May 13, 2010 @ 8 p.m.

Colleges like Ashford are not for everyone, but many benefit financially from what these colleges offer.

By Burwell

It is similar to National University then, in that the program is pretty much a joke, as well as the education you receive, which defeats the purpose of college.

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Burwell May 13, 2010 @ 8:15 p.m.

It is similar to National University then, in that the program is pretty much a joke, as well as the education you receive, which defeats the purpose of college.

Mayor Sanders graduated from National University with a degree in criminology. His academic record there rivaled the one Douglas MacArthur set at West Point.

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CuddleFish May 13, 2010 @ 8:24 p.m.

I saw this thing on PBS, was excellent.

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Visduh May 13, 2010 @ 8:56 p.m.

So now we know what Sanders' problem is: he got his degree from NU while learning nothing about police work. Ah, but he did learn about how to advance a career, specifically his own.

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Don Bauder May 13, 2010 @ 9:48 p.m.

Response to post #26: You make good points. These degrees, while not sporting the prestige of a degree from a four-year non-profit college or university, work well for someone who simply needs a "degree." That might include some government jobs. However, people with these degrees generally find it hard getting jobs. They are told that they will get a good job and easily pay off their debt. But they don't get their job and the debt piles up. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 13, 2010 @ 9:52 p.m.

Response to post #27: There is a lot of politics in this process. Regulation and investigations slowed during the Bush years. Obama is concerned about the burgeoning student debt, as any intelligent person should be, but he has also made promises about raising the number of people with college degrees. The for-profits help that effort. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 13, 2010 @ 9:54 p.m.

Response to post #28: "Benefitting financially" is not what education should be all about. You can see I am hopelessly old-fashioned. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 13, 2010 @ 9:56 p.m.

Response to post #29: Sanders started at SDSU and dropped out. I understand he partied a lot. The classwork may have been too hard for him, too. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 13, 2010 @ 9:58 p.m.

Response to post #30: The PBS show was definitely good. After seeing it, I changed my column to incorporate some of the material in that show. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 13, 2010 @ 9:59 p.m.

Response to post #31: Maybe National has courses in self-promotion. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 May 14, 2010 @ 7:59 a.m.

Sanders started at SDSU and dropped out. I understand he partied a lot. The classwork may have been too hard for him, too.

The stat I found intersting about San Diego State when I went there was that 75% of the students do not earn a degree. I cannot vouch for that number today, but in the mid 80's that is what it was.

This was also the high point for State in enrollment-we had 38+K students back then, which at the time was the largest university in CA-both UC and CSU, and was also (I believe) the largest university on the west coast.

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Burwell May 14, 2010 @ 8:53 a.m.

The stat I found intersting about San Diego State when I went there was that 75% of the students do not earn a degree. I cannot vouch for that number today, but in the mid 80's that is what it was.

In the 1960s all the males who attended SDSU busted their asses to maintain their grades and graduate with college degrees. Those who washed out of SDSU were drafted into the army and sent to Vietnam.

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SDeezy May 14, 2010 @ 9:40 a.m.

The point of Ashford University is to make money by selling their product, which happens to be education. There are obviously a lot of optinions on proprietary schools and how much money they are making. This issue gets very political and is difficult to see every side no matter how you feel about the issue. I graduated with a Bus degree from a great school in the midwest and took all of my classes on campus. I'm now taking my MBA classes online so I do have a basis for comparison. Ashford is not a diploma mill where you simply pay tuition and recieve grades as I do spend several hours each week with a text book open and learning. Are there times where you can slack and still get by? Yes. That is true for most Universities in the country though and it is important for each individual studetnt to take ownership of their education. I can guarantee the graduates who went to Iowa over the weekend to graduate felt just as proud of their degree as all of you and when I'm done this winter I will feel proud of my next accomplishment just the same. I would like to see reform in the requirements it takes to get into school at Ashford because it is a lot of money and responsibility. The more quality the student, the more quality the degree will be, and sometimes that gets lost when when money is what drives the education business.

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Don Bauder May 14, 2010 @ 2:44 p.m.

Response to post #38: And, back then, of the 25% that did get a degree, how many EARNED one? Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 14, 2010 @ 2:46 p.m.

Response to post #39: In those days, there was a degree called a "Vietnam PhD." Students stayed in grad school to avoid getting drafted. One of them was Dick Cheney. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 14, 2010 @ 2:49 p.m.

Response to post #40: If if there are quality standards on the education provided, the revenues and profits go down, the stock goes down, the CEO doesn't bring home $20 million a year......you get the picture. Best, Don Bauder

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SDeezy May 14, 2010 @ 2:59 p.m.

I'm ok with high ranking school officials and administrators making big money. These days Head football coaches bring in that kind of money as well so making millions in higher education is not uncommon.

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SurfPuppy619 May 14, 2010 @ 5 p.m.

Are there times where you can slack and still get by? Yes. That is true for most Universities in the country

Interesting comment.

Can you tell us your source for this comment-especially the "is true of most Universities in the country" part??? I mean did you personally verify this fact-or just making it up???

The CSU and UC systems in CA are intense, work driven, study intensive institutions. No one can "slack" off and "get by", it is simply not possible in a serious school. While this is certainly possible at a "Pay for your A" school, such as national University-it is not possible at a serious school, which all the CSU and UC schools are.

If what you say were true we would have had a 100% graduation rate st SDSU when I was there-not the actual graduation rate of just 25%. There is a reason many people cannot graduate a serious university-b/c it takes serious work.

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Don Bauder May 14, 2010 @ 5:03 p.m.

Response to post #44: I don't have a problem with high-ranking education officials making good money (not BIG money), but I think they should also be delivering an excellent educational product. And they should not be doing harm to their students. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 14, 2010 @ 5:08 p.m.

Response to post #45: Unfortunately, there are a lot of slackers at even the best universities. Some of them are very intelligent and don't have to study hard. Others are good test-takers and memorizers. I have serious reservations about for-profits, but I also have some problems (not nearly as serious) with non-profit colleges and universities. Look at the money that is drained from academics to support money-losing football teams. That's just one thing. Best, Don Bauder

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anncarl May 14, 2010 @ 7:07 p.m.

Let's talk about Bridgepoint and the face they re trying to present to San Diego. Ask yourself, "who is really paying for the sponsorship of the Holiday Bowl; Padres Banner; Symphony;...perhaps your tax dollars through their profit of title IV funding? How does a compnay have such growth? Their admission floor is akni to a call enter with emphasis on sales and closing...get to the pain is the mantra...close the app... numbers and enrollments are key. There was once two students, husband and wife, the wife mistakenly logged into her husband class and posted her paper... They called not because they were upset over the misposting but because the paper posted recieve a grade of B...not even the same class or degree program..diploma mill? No quite but certainly not "university level...I know personally of advisors in the MBA program that cheated all the way through and now with their MBA can teach at Ashford. They do pay upwards of $50.00 for their datamark leads and you bet they call the hell out of them. I know where of I speak as I was once a high ranking Director at this money making machine...

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anncarl May 14, 2010 @ 7:14 p.m.

An advisor can make upwards of 100k if they are high producing at this Univeristy...can you think of any education based job that would pay that kind of money? An advisor has a matrix that is almost soley based on performance although it is teaked just enough to challenge the incentive clause for Title IV but everyone knows the deal...produce or pay cut...produce or no promotion...it is all about the numbers. I ahve a string of emails to prove that point. Keep digging Don there s more greed and ego at Bridgepoint to be disclosed. This story could be the next big story...like Eron.. Bridgepoint paints a picture but is something completely different.

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Don Bauder May 14, 2010 @ 8:51 p.m.

Response to post #48: Yes, the taxpayers are picking up the tab for this. Bridgepoint's schools get 85% of their revenue from Title IV funds. So the taxpayers are paying for the Holiday Bowl, Petco ads, the study to show how much the company contributes to the SD economy, etc. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 14, 2010 @ 8:53 p.m.

Response to post #49: What a euphemism: telemarketers are called enrollment advisers. Best, Don Bauder

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anncarl May 15, 2010 @ 7:45 p.m.

Let me tell you about the training foe these "advisors"...first, the interview for hire consists of questions pertaining to sales, sales experience...what was your most difficult sale? what did you do to prepare for it? How did you ocercome objections? How did the sale turn out? What is the most important thing about selling over the phone?...these are some of the questions...very few questions touch on education. ...once the perfect cnadidate is selected they are put through two weeks of training "before they hit the floor; these people are referred to as "newbies." The training consist of touching on programs offerered; Financial aid qualifications and lots and lots of role play and getting to the "pain." This is the most intense sales training that I have ever witnessed. Aftet training you are put on a "team" of 15 with a manager as your direct supervisor and the games begins.... Key words..."get the app" = get the student to enrol Make sure the "docs are complete" = finish their fiancial aid documents Make sure they stick = complete their class. it goes on and on....

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Don Bauder May 15, 2010 @ 9:38 p.m.

Response to post #52: Whom does Bridgepoint recruit for sales? Are they people who have done a lot of telemarketing for other kinds of businesses before? Say, selling North German lottery tickets? Do the sales recruits know anything about education? Best, Don Bauder

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Twister May 16, 2010 @ 5:28 p.m.

I've spoken to one who's "been there" over a few decades, community colleges, SDSU, USD, and NU. The biggest difference was in students, not in administrations. At NU, the students demanded better grades because they were paying so much. Pretty much the same at the bigger universities. Over the decades, students have increasingly expected better and better "grades" for less and less work. They are less and less interested in actually learning and developing abilities and more and more in just "getting" the degree.

It's more and more The Age of Delusion. The age of BS?

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Don Bauder May 16, 2010 @ 9:18 p.m.

Response to post #54: Grade inflation is a major problem all over the country. And do you know where it is probably the worst? The Ivy League. Best, Don Bauder

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Clarissa May 17, 2010 @ 10:30 a.m.

As a UC Berkeley graduate with many friends who graduated from other UCs and state schools, I can attest that you can slack off and get by at any undergraduate school. You don't even have attend all your classes, as long as you show up on time to turn in your work. It probably depends a lot on the degree you are pursuing.

As someone who defaulted on my undergraduate loan (later rehabilitated) as a result of major financial difficulities, I don't see how the default rate for student debt is a reflection of the quality of education, as these articles seem to convey. To the person that said the "poor and the ignorant" are the only ones enrolling, well, that is just false, and obnoxious too. I'm sure all the graduates appreciate your biased remark. Plus, are only the rich allowed to go to school? Are people taking loans in a traditional school ignorant too?

At one point, I worked for a for-profit as an academic advisor, NOT admissions advisor. The articles all focus on the high pressure sales of enrolling students (something that also goes on at public univerisities). But no one talks about the rest of the student experience. It certainly was NOT a diploma mill. So what if there are complaints? Is there an industry about which people who did not succeed do not complain? I can tell you a hundred stories from four happy years of employment as an academic advisor which are inspiring and have happy endings. I personally advised students from the time they enrolled through graduation, and saw people with jobs and children cry as they walked across the stage and had their families there to show their support and pride. There was no alternative avenue for these people.

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Clarissa May 17, 2010 @ 10:30 a.m.

Sorry for the long comments, but here is the rest: These stories are very one sided presentations of what the for-profits are accomplishing. If these graduates can't find jobs, perhaps it is in large part a reflection of the elitist mentality of traditional school graduates. These so called "exposes" on for-profit education certainly do nothing to help change that mentality - they are just making it harder for the students to be accepted. I know when I started at UOP, I was a bit "elitist" myself, thinking I was so much better than these other students because I was a "Cal" graduate. Wrong. I have many friends who have graduated from the for profits, and they all have jobs, and make great money - yes, making a living is a motivation for attending school: not everyone is going to school to enter academia or do social work. I just graduated law school with a friend who did her undergrad at UOP, so it is also hollow to imply that all for profit graudates go on to face no job prospects or are not adequately prepared/educated.

As for the numbers cited about how many job opportunities exist versus graduates who need work: so I guess we should just send the non traditional students away and shut down the for-profits, and make sure the elitist status quo is happily restored? Are we actually suggesting that LESS people should go to school in this country? If Don's view is correct that people shouldn't go to school just to make money, then why discourage people from getting an education. Also, I don't recall my state school evaluating my ability to repay loans before enrolling me. All that mattered was my gpa transferring from community college.

I am not trying to discredit anything the article mentions, but as someone with personal experience in all these areas I felt it was important to present a few more dimensions. I have yet to hear anything bad from academic advisors at these schools - as advisors, we were much more intimately involved with these students, and saw them through graduation.
I don't think we should base our views on the success of many graduates upon the grumblings of sales people who got laid off, thereby reducing the chance for these people to have their degrees accepted/respected.

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SDeezy May 17, 2010 @ 10:31 a.m.

Can you tell us your source for this comment-especially the "is true of most Universities in the country" part??? I mean did you personally verify this fact-or just making it up???

Yes. As I mentioned before I went to a University that is widely recognized as a leader in producing quality engineering graduates, and they too can slack from time to time and still do well. The term "slack" does not mean semester long parties, it means every now and then not put forth you very best effort and still be able to learn the objectives in sylybus.

What get's lost in a lot of this talk about money is how the product, or student who has an Ashford education,gets there. As an MBA student I write 4 page, APA style papers every week as well as postings throughout the week that tests my knoledge of the topics for that week. At the end of every course there is a a 10-12 page paper required, again, in APA format. Regardless of where my government backed funding is going, and what they are doing with that money, the fact remains that to pass classes and revieve the education I'm paying for it is up to me to make sure I get my return on my investment.

The way online institutions recruit is not the best and there are certainly great arguments for both sides of the equation. Just know that whether the University of public, private, or proprietary, do not dicredit the work put in by those who choose education.

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Don Bauder May 17, 2010 @ 10:51 a.m.

Response to post #56: There is no question that some don't attend UC classes. I remember when a Chargers star -- I believe his name was Chuck Muncie -- boasted that he had gone to Cal-Berkeley and never once attended class. Of course, he had something else to offer: athletic prowess. I am not clear that your teaching was with Ashford. Whether it was or not, I would like to speak with you: my phone is 619-546-8529. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 17, 2010 @ 10:58 a.m.

Response to post #57: I want to hear both sides. That's why I would like you to call me. (My number is above.) I thought the Frontline program presented both sides fairly. One thing that sticks out about Bridgepoint: its amazing growth rate. How can ANY educational institution, online or on land, enroll so many people in such a short period and give a good education? I think the debt numbers stand out, too: a big percentage of for-profit students get into trouble with debt. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 17, 2010 @ 11:05 a.m.

Response to post #58: Thus far I have concentrated largely on the government's investigation of Ashford, Bridgepoint's telemarketing, and related questions. I am now working on the quality of education offered. Feel free to call me at 619-546-8529. Best, Don Bauder

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anncarl May 17, 2010 @ 11:25 a.m.

In my executive experience the "Academic Advisor" at Ashford usually is a former enrollment advisor that couldn't perform well in the enrollment advsior position. The Academic Advisor has a case load of about 500 hundred students. Tell me how does one truly "advise" 500 hundred students? One of the biggest compliants from enrolled studnet would always come back to the enrollment department and that is that their Academic Advisor were not returning calls. Don, the recruiter in HR looks for a candidate that has a sales background. The talk on the floor is sales talk, ie: controlling the conversation; getting to the pain; emphasis on the start date; close and get the app. I don't remember my University using such tactics when I enrolled. I do remember waiting to see if I was accepted. That is not to say that education should be only for the rich but certainly one should have the academic requirements to handle and succeed.
Really, a 4page papaer and answering question or a dialogue on line in a classroom, not in real time either, should not be the ciriculum for an MBA degree. When I received my MBA it was by way of rigorous study, readings, interaction in class, lectures with my professors and endless amount of work. Not the drive thru experience of an on line degree. Granted it meets the needs of a working adult but it should never be compared to a real experience.

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SurfPuppy619 May 17, 2010 @ 11:39 a.m.

When I received my MBA it was by way of rigorous study, readings, interaction in class, lectures with my professors and endless amount of work. Not the drive thru experience of an on line degree. Granted it meets the needs of a working adult but it should never be compared to a real experience.

By anncarl

That is it in a nutshell. Rigorous study, classroom time, serious preperation-all needed, and mandatory, for a legit degree.

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SurfPuppy619 May 17, 2010 @ 11:46 a.m.

Grade inflation is a major problem all over the country. And do you know where it is probably the worst? The Ivy League.

Funny you should mention this-but Stanford, Harvard and Duke are notorious for grade inflation. Someone posted a Duke chart listing the mean grade from the 1930's to present, and it went from like a 2.2 in the 30's to a high of 3.5 or so today.

In fact Stanford does not even have the grades D or F, and no one I know has ever received a C, even though they supposedly have the C grade.

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SurfPuppy619 May 17, 2010 @ 11:53 a.m.

As someone who defaulted on my undergraduate loan (later rehabilitated) as a result of major financial difficulities, I don't see how the default rate for student debt is a reflection of the quality of education, as these articles seem to convey. By Clarissa ==============

Oh brother.....hard to believe anyone actually wrote that nonsense.

Clarissa is obviously a hack or shill for one of these shytser "schools".

The default rate is a DIRECT reflection on the quality of the school and the quality of it's program.

It doesn't take Albert Einstein to know that if you offer a scam program from a scam school that will not have the means which will allow you to get a job that will pay enough to pay off the borrowed tuition, then the loan will default-and even if it does not default outright, if it never gets paid back it is a constructive default.

Default rates are obviosuly highest at scam schools, usually the for profits. That is a fact and anyone with a 3rd grade education and basic research skills could verify this fact within 30 minutes of research on the internet.

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SDeezy May 17, 2010 @ 11:56 a.m.

When I received my MBA it was by way of rigorous study, readings, interaction in class, lectures with my professors and endless amount of work. Not the drive thru experience of an on line degree. Granted it meets the needs of a working adult but it should never be compared to a real experience.

I study, I read, and I interact with classmates. It is different than sitting in a classroom and discussing school, but education is evolving so that you can do all of these things in a different format, even more so since we are talking about an MBA. The idea behind getting an MBA is to take similar couses as an undergrad BA in Bus (operations, finance, accounting, law, economics, communication, etc.) and now apply these lessons on existing real world knoweledge to make you a better professional and create new thinking. The main drawback as I see it to taking these classes is the art of face to face networking, another large factor for MBA students.

Shouldn't we be judged on our successes after we complete the next step in in education to see how we benefitted, rather than where we got the degree?

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Clarissa May 17, 2010 @ 11:59 a.m.

"How can ANY educational institution, online or on land, enroll so many people in such a short period and give a good education?"
Perhaps the number of instructors has steadily risen to match the number of students? Why should the quality of education necessarily suffer as a result of rapid growth? One way, I concede, is when community college classes are being crammed full of students as other courses have been shut down and teachers laid off. But this is not happening at Ashford. Might there not be a correlation between rapid growth and satisfied students, since, e.g., many new students are referrals? How many complaints are there versus number of graduates? I'm pretty sure that at UOR they only hire PhDs and JDs to teach. At Ashford, an MA is required to teach undergrads, just like at many community colleges, though they try to get PhDs for undergrad too. I will think about calling you Don. By the way, I was an academic advisor, not a teacher. Also, I was NOT an enrollment counselor who did not meet my goals, nor were most of my co-advisors. And it was not at Ashford, it was UOP. However, some enrollment counselors who were not meeting their goals but still liked the company AND had their required bachelor's degree sometimes came over to the advising side. We also had ex-financial aid counselors who earned their bachelors and moved over. So what?

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SurfPuppy619 May 17, 2010 @ noon

Can you tell us your source for this comment-especially the "is true of most Universities in the country" part??? I mean did you personally verify this fact-or just making it up???

Yes. As I mentioned before I went to a University that is widely recognized as a leader in producing quality engineering graduates, and they too can slack from time to time and still do well. The term "slack" does not mean semester long parties, it means every now and then not put forth you very best effort and still be able to learn the objectives in sylybus.

By SDeezy

Sdeezy, my idea of slacking off and yours are not the same-you made it sound as if you could just blow off school, do no work and graduate, which is not what you meant from your most recent post, obviously.

As for the comment that you said slacking is done at "most universities in the country", you can't make that claim b/c you have no idea about "most universities in the country", only the one you attended.

I stand by my statement that the CSU and UC school systems are study intensive, work instensive institutions- and no one can get a degree from one without putting in a substantial amount of hard work. This is even more true at SDSU b/c it is the most sought after CSU school. I would assume Berkeley and UCLA in the UC system have the same type of competition to be admitted.

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anncarl May 17, 2010 @ 12:12 p.m.

Surfpuppy you are so right. The default rate at "on line" school is much higher because of many factors. The first consideration is the quality of the student...I know for a fact that many students that Ashford enrolls do not have their own computers and rely on going to the library to complete work or don't have the money for books, that is a recipe for disaster. The sell in itself leads to default with promises that it will change your life. Lack of education is not these potential studnets only problem! THe military is a big target for these schools, heck one advisor can sign up an entire unit...referrals are huge! Really, ask yourself, is this the best way to utilize the GI bill? I wnet to private schools my entire life and paid top dollar but I received a qualtiy education.
At these on line schools you are paying top dollar but getting....

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SDeezy May 17, 2010 @ 12:16 p.m.

The default rate is a DIRECT reflection on the quality of the school and the quality of it's program.

This is incorrect. This is a good argument for having higher admissions standards due to the amount of money it takes to be a student, and how proprietary schools should be more concerned and require more evidence to be approved for admissions, but is not a reflection on the quality of the programs.

===================================================== The CSU and UC systems in CA are intense, work driven, study intensive institutions. No one can "slack" off and "get by", it is simply not possible in a serious school. While this is certainly possible at a "Pay for your A" school, such as national University-it is not possible at a serious school, which all the CSU and UC schools are...There is a reason many people cannot graduate a serious university-b/c it takes serious work.

You are putting SDSU on a an academic level that it does not belong at, comparitively speaking.

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Clarissa May 17, 2010 @ 12:22 p.m.

Surfpuppy, I'm not a "hack or a shill," just someone with a different experience and opinion than you. You may be good at being insulting but not so much comprehension. You are so convinced of your own correctness that a different opinion must be being paid for? That is sad. Would you care to enlighten us about the background for your expertise? I made it WAY past the 3rd grade and I still think a lot of the problem is people like you, who ignorantly refer to any for-profits as a scam school. Your argument is all mean fluff and no substance.

Also, its hypocritical that you tell the previous commenter that he "can't" say whether people slack off at other schools because he did not attend those schools. Did you attend every single school about which you hold such a strong opinion?

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MsGrant May 17, 2010 @ 12:23 p.m.

This is a story I wrote Saturday about my nephew, who graduated from USC on Friday.

I also wrote the below in the comments screen, having first read Don's slacker comment, which I thought was short-sighted. I hope you take the time to read about my nephew, who won several awards for his hard work and graduated with a double major in print journalism and political science – with honors.

"I had intended on writing this up this morning, and imagine my chagrin when I noticed in the comments screen this somewhat bitter and over-generalized statement by Don Bauder: “Unfortunately, there are a lot of slackers at even the best universities. Some of them are very intelligent and don't have to study hard. Others are good test-takers and memorizers.” I did not want to sully my tribute to my nephew, who worked so hard and accomplished so much, so I decided to relegate this to the comments section. I have met several of Dan’s friends, and none of these young people could be described as “slackers”. They do not have that option. I also fail to see why being intelligent and not having to study as hard as someone less intelligent is indicative of being a slacker, but I guess that’s just me. I always thought intelligence was a gift and not a privilege.

Slackers? Hardly, Don. Sorry to disappoint you."

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Clarissa May 17, 2010 @ 1:15 p.m.

"I wnet to private schools my entire life and paid top dollar but I received a qualtiy education" - As I was saying, a major obstacle in non-traditional student's path: elitism.

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Don Bauder May 17, 2010 @ 2:35 p.m.

Response to post #62: That's a blockbuster: the academic advisor is somebody who couldn't make it as an enrollment advisor (telemarketer). Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 17, 2010 @ 2:38 p.m.

Response to post #63: Interesting question: is classroom work and face to face interaction with profs and other students essential? Do people have any thoughts on that? Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 17, 2010 @ 2:41 p.m.

Response to post #64: Money talks; why must it nauseate? Parents and students feel that if they pay the big bucks, the only grades given out should be A or B. Any lower, and the dean hears about it. Then the professor does. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 17, 2010 @ 2:43 p.m.

Response to post #65: I agree with SP. The default rates are likely to be the highest at the weakest academic schools, because more graduates will not be able to get jobs. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 17, 2010 @ 2:47 p.m.

Response to post #66: By all means, if somebody graduates from Ashford and rises to become president of Exxon, or even a vice president of Exxon, the degree becomes irrelevant. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 17, 2010 @ 2:54 p.m.

Response to post #67: Universities based on land have a very cherished measurement: student to faculty ratio. When there are too many students per faculty members, those who rate universities cock an eyebrow. I would guess that student/faculty ratios are important online, too. I guess we have to find out that if in this period of torrid growth, Ashford's student/faculty ratio has stayed steady and respectable. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 17, 2010 @ 2:59 p.m.

Response to post #68: I think it stands to reason that some, if not all, students slack off at least part of the time at ALL universities. Simply taking a five minute break in the library is slacking off. So is attending a football game. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 17, 2010 @ 3:03 p.m.

Response to post #69: Ponder this: how many students who have been accepted at Harvard, Stanford, Duke, Michigan will opt for Ashford instead? I could see that there might be some for monetary or military reasons. But not many. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 17, 2010 @ 3:08 p.m.

Response to post #70: Partying is slacking off. Plenty of partying goes on at SDSU. Indeed, is there any school where students don't do SOME partying? Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 17, 2010 @ 3:10 p.m.

Response to post #71: Nobody can attend every college and university. But there are some who do partying at more than one university. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 17, 2010 @ 3:14 p.m.

Response to post #72: I will not back down. There are slackers at even the best universities. Just ask the professors. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 17, 2010 @ 3:16 p.m.

Response to post #73: I don't like elitism either. I can't tell you how upset I was when elite Cornell whipped proletariat Wisconsin, my alma mater, in basketball in the recent NCAA tournament. Best, Don Bauder

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goldenhiller May 17, 2010 @ 4 p.m.

I can attest that 84% of their revenue comes from student loans and the current rate (even for an associates degree) is $372.00/credit! The Marketing/PR budget also exceeds the curriculum/instructor budget. When these students fail, Bridgepoint/Ashford has already been paid, the student has no way to make repayment or any education. (students are not academically dismissed until they have received 8 non-passing grades, 4 if they enroll under probation) we as taxpayers then take on this burden once it is defaulted.

It is also true that there is no single entrance requirement other than a Diploma, GED, and ability to sign your life away on the student finance agreement. Some students are enrolled without even having access to computers! Many students lack the ability to write a single, complete sentence. The ethics on the front end are non-existent. Just give them a call sometime and speak to an "enrollment advisor" (telemarketer).

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anncarl May 17, 2010 @ 4:25 p.m.

At Ashford enrollment advsior and the "admission" Department is considered the elite...the Financial Advisor, and especially theAcademic Advisors are considered on the low end of the pay scale. The instructors receive a min. pay for each class they "teach." The online classrooms are packed and as I stated before the instruction is very little. The entire emphasis, the money goes directly to the enrollment department and not academics. I will grant you the fact that education is changing and there is a need for on line classes but not like Ashford presents it. Its model is strcitly for profit. UoP has class time once a week where student actually go to satellite campus and exchange with one another and their instructor. Lets not confuse quality education with for profit education.

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SurfPuppy619 May 17, 2010 @ 4:57 p.m.

Partying is slacking off. Plenty of partying goes on at SDSU. Indeed, is there any school where students don't do SOME partying?

By dbauder

Don, you cannot seriously consider "partying" once or twice a week as "slacking off"!

If you read, study, prepare for and go to class, do all assignments and prepare for exams then you are NOT slacking off. You can certainly fit a party or two into that educational plan. Not that I ever "partied" mind you- I was very serious about college-but I had many friends that were just as serious as I was that had fun on Saturday nights.

NOW, if you were "partying" and NOT keeping up with assignments, reading and so forth, then that is what I CALL "slacking off".

San Diego State has a reputation as a party school, true-but the bottom line is SDSU is the crown jewel of the CSU System, the hardest to get accepted into and the hardest to graduate from.

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SurfPuppy619 May 17, 2010 @ 4:58 p.m.

Simply taking a five minute break in the library is slacking off. So is attending a football game.

Hmmm...we have different views on the "slacking off" issue!

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CogSciGuy May 17, 2010 @ 5:01 p.m.

I should be calling my leads right now to enroll more students at Ashford. Instead, I am slacking off.

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SurfPuppy619 May 17, 2010 @ 5:06 p.m.

The default rate is a DIRECT reflection on the quality of the school and the quality of it's program.

This is incorrect. This is a good argument for having higher admissions standards due to the amount of money it takes to be a student, and how proprietary schools should be more concerned and require more evidence to be approved for admissions, but is not a reflection on the quality of the programs.

By SDeezy

It absolutely is a reflection, a direct reflection, with a direct correlation, on not only the quality of the school, but the institution itself.

A school that charges more in tuition than a student can repay in an open and free market from the job they can get as a result of the education they received proves that point up. One of the most high profile and notorious examples of this are the so called "cullinary institutes", such as this one;

http://www.chefs.edu/

Or other for profit schools such as the infamous (and now bankrupt) "Silver State Helicopter School" in Riverside;

http://www.pe.com/business/local/stories/PE_Biz_D_silverstate14.34878d8.html

And please, for profit schools do NOT show ANY "concern" for admissions or their students, they care about one thing and one thing only-getting that student loan money in their pockets.

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SurfPuppy619 May 17, 2010 @ 5:09 p.m.

Also, its hypocritical that you tell the previous commenter that he "can't" say whether people slack off at other schools because he did not attend those schools. Did you attend every single school about which you hold such a strong opinion?

By Clarissa

But I never made the global claim that I know what students at every school in this country does, now did? I?

But yes, I did indeed attend every school in America hard to believe but true :)

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anncarl May 17, 2010 @ 5:20 p.m.

People, stop the bantering back and forth and let us expose the truth. The for profit universities and Asford University especially is taking advantage of their "student" and certainly the system and who pays? The taxpayer.
It is the tax payer that bought Andrew Clark his new Porsche, vacation...paid for the ridiculous Enrollment conferences at the Ivy Hotel, the Wynn, The Bellagio, Hotel Se',.... This is the art of selling at its best. A great business plan and attracted the very best private equity compnay to fund the plan.

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Clarissa May 17, 2010 @ 5:33 p.m.

Re: "A school that charges more in tuition than a student can repay in an open and free market from the job they can get as a result of the education they received proves that point up."

Is it as result of the education they received, or as a result of the tanking economy with a corresponding interest in getting degrees by laid-off and otherwise unemployed persons? If the only reason people are not getting jobs was because of the "quality of thei education they received," then yeah, I would agree. But I have been trying to ask you to think about whether that statement is itself correct. For example, are you suggesting there are plenty of jobs available out there, but the employer is pulling out his "quality of education ranking" manual before making hiring decisions, and leaving positions open if not enough people apply with "high quality" degrees?

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Clarissa May 17, 2010 @ 5:36 p.m.

Re: I did not make a global claim about every student in this country... You said, "I stand by my statement that the CSU and UC school systems are study intensive, work instensive institutions- and no one can get a degree from one without putting in a substantial amount of hard work."

Its not global, but you do include a LOT of schools and students in this statement. And since I went to UC as did a lot of my friends, I think it is funny you "stand by your statement." I think they call that sort of thinking "insane delusions."

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Burwell May 17, 2010 @ 7:13 p.m.

As a UC Berkeley graduate with many friends who graduated from other UCs and state schools, I can attest that you can slack off and get by at any undergraduate school. You don't even have attend all your classes, as long as you show up on time to turn in your work. It probably depends a lot on the degree you are pursuing.

==========

You're talking about UC Berkeley, a special situation. Anyone who is admitted to UC Berkeley is assumed to be a genius, so little effort is made by professors at that school to actually evaluate the academic performance of students. Most students there are merely passed through the system until they graduate without regard to their performance. At SDSU, most of the professors could care less about the success or failure of their students, and most don't even bother to show up during posted office hours. The average SDSU professor probably does not put in 15 hours per week teaching, and it shows in the poor quality of the instruction and the high drop out rate. SDSU students often wait a month or more to have tests graded and returned to them. Many SDSU professors grade on a curve, and it is typical for professors to give failing grades to half their students. The teaching is very poor at SDSU in general, with some exceptions.

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anncarl May 17, 2010 @ 7:21 p.m.

We are not talking about the education at Ashford but the mere fact that they target the poor and the uneducated and these target studnet end up with enormous debt. Look at the fact that this just compounds the problem and the only one who benefits is Ashford. Don't compare the tutition or the education at a state university to AShford's cost.

and Clarrisa what are you talking about in post 94...wow.

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Russ Lewis May 17, 2010 @ 7:27 p.m.

"SDSU students often wait a month or more to have tests graded and returned to them." News to me, Burwell. Seems like they hand them back the next week.

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Visduh May 17, 2010 @ 9:19 p.m.

In all the exchange of the past few days, there is an assumption that one attends "college" to get a job. That is a reflection of an attitude rampant, but certainly not new, in our society that higher education is almost exclusively vocational. In all this back-and-forth I never picked up the idea that education has a value and purpose beyond readying the degree holder for some sort of occupation or profession. Is it elitist to think that a university education is to broaden one's horizons and increase one's appreciation for the finer things of life?

The Ashford's of the world sell the notion of a degree as an key that opens the door to higher income and less toil. That is not always a poor assumption, but nothing is guaranteed. The person who has little innate intelligence and little moxie is not going to be transformed into a superior performer by merely spending too much money to "get a degree." We've all seen a few people who seemed to skate through a degree program and come out the other end with no real understanding of the subjects studied. And we have wondered why, and how, that could be possible. Too often those who got little from the degree program are those who went to the head of the line for positions that required that preparation, and that is when it all becomes infuriating. BS artists? Probably. Able to memorize factoids long enough to pass tests, and then immediately forget everything? Probably.

As long as there are folks out there who are suffering and thinking that their salvation is "getting a degree", there will be schools ready to take advantage of them. A first step in eliminating the abuses would be tougher accrediting standards, and a longer term view of the process. In this age of short attention spans, the likelihood of tighter standards ever being put in place is low. So, these schools that charge great amounts of money--mostly borrowed from the government--for little in exchange will be with us for a long time.

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Don Bauder May 17, 2010 @ 9:43 p.m.

Response to post #86: Wow! The marketing/PR budget exceeds the education budget. At how many institutions -- even other for-profit ones -- is this true? Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 17, 2010 @ 9:46 p.m.

Response to post #87: Another astonisher: those on the academic side are on the low end of the pay and prestige scale. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 17, 2010 @ 9:48 p.m.

Response to post #88: I went to the University of Wisconsin. Nobody ever partied there. Everybody had their noses in books 100% of the time. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 17, 2010 @ 9:50 p.m.

Response to poste #89: It's clearly a definitional thing. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 17, 2010 @ 9:51 p.m.

Response to post #90: If you work for Bridgepoint, you could be in trouble. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 17, 2010 @ 9:54 p.m.

Response to poste #91: Whatever the truth of the matter, the default rate is much higher at the for-profits. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 17, 2010 @ 9:56 p.m.

Response to post #92: Nobody has the time to go to every school, whether enrolled or not. Are you sure you aren't talking about travelogues you watched? Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 17, 2010 @ 9:58 p.m.

Response to post #93: Obviously, the taxpayer is picking up the tab for most of the for-profit school income. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 17, 2010 @ 10 p.m.

Response to post #94: You are correct that macroeconomic factors affect hiring greatly. But grads of for-profit schools could still be doing worse in this job market. The debt default figures suggest that. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 17, 2010 @ 10:03 p.m.

Response to post #95: If he went to every school, as claimed, he can surely state his intimacy with UC and CSU schools. But then, we have dismissed his original premise. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 17, 2010 @ 10:06 p.m.

Response to post #96: You seem to be saying that SDSU instruction is as good as its football team. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 17, 2010 @ 10:08 p.m.

Response to post #97: It's obvious that we need to know more about the intelligence and financial levels of Ashford students. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 17, 2010 @ 10:10 p.m.

Response to post #98: My wife taught at SDSU for many years in the biology department. Her students got their tests and papers back on time. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 17, 2010 @ 10:14 p.m.

Response to post #99: Bridgepoint and other for-profits get their initial accreditation by buying colleges located on land. (Bridgepoint bought two.) But I'm told there is a conflict in the accreditation process that is quite similar to one on Wall Street. The body doing the accreditation gets its money from the institution being accredited. Best, Don Bauder

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Burwell May 17, 2010 @ 10:38 p.m.

I hope you take the time to read about my nephew, who won several awards for his hard work and graduated with a double major in print journalism and political science – with honors.

These are easy majors. It's not like he graduated with a double major in Physics and Electrical Engineering.

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SurfPuppy619 May 17, 2010 @ 11:35 p.m.

If the only reason people are not getting jobs was because of the "quality of thei education they received," then yeah, I would agree. But I have been trying to ask you to think about whether that statement is itself correct. For example, are you suggesting there are plenty of jobs available out there, but the employer is pulling out his "quality of education ranking" manual before making hiring decisions, and leaving positions open if not enough people apply with "high quality" degrees? ===== My statement was very simple-if you cannot pay the debt back in a normal job market, then the schools program costs too much, and the program needs to be shut down-makes no difference what the root cause is-if you can't pay the debt then the progam is too much.

Simple, yes?

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SurfPuppy619 May 17, 2010 @ 11:57 p.m.

In all the exchange of the past few days, there is an assumption that one attends "college" to get a job. That is a reflection of an attitude rampant, but certainly not new, in our society that higher education is almost exclusively vocational. In all this back-and-forth I never picked up the idea that education has a value and purpose beyond readying the degree holder for some sort of occupation or profession. Is it elitist to think that a university education is to broaden one's horizons and increase one's appreciation for the finer things of life? By Visduh ====

V-if the college education were free, or the student was a trust fund baby, your statement would be fine, and 25 years ago it would be true (when SDSU only cost $150/semester in tuition).

But the cost of a college education today runs tens of thousands of dollars, sometimes hundreds of thousands, and that cost prevents one from going JUST to expand ones knowledge base, finer things in life or personal growth.

The ability to pay the education costs back MUST be the top priority after graduation.

Not everyone can get connected into a $200K per year GED gov job, and then the only thing that can help is a skill, and usually that skill comes with a cost, as in a college education cost or even vocational education, from trade schools, cost.

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Don Bauder May 18, 2010 @ 6:30 a.m.

Response to post #114: I have a bachelor's in business and a master's in journalism, and have always kicked myself for not pursuing tougher degrees. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 18, 2010 @ 6:35 a.m.

Response to post #115: Of course, this is hardly a normal job market. We have been discussing that, too. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 18, 2010 @ 6:40 a.m.

Response to post #115: For decades, and perhaps a century, a college degree has been considered a ticket to a job, and an advanced degree a ticket to a better job, or at least a more prestigious one. Would students enroll in for-profit universities to get a liberal arts education? Best, Don Bauder

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delite528 May 18, 2010 @ 8:30 a.m.

I have read some comments by Enrollment Advisors employed at Ashford University who still buy into the belief that the University has the students education and welfare at heart. These Advisors are normally the 1 of 4 on a team of 15 who are provided with floor calls (free applications), live chat and AU portal leads. Some also get leads from partnerships that Ashford has with various community colleges, to get students coming off the Associates degrees, who want to finish with a Bachelors degree. These Advisors share a good matrix, smile a lot and clap loudly at sales meetings. The other 11 Advisors on the teams are made to feel inadequate and less than human because they can't keep up. The Ashford system is designed to foster this crabs in a barrel mentality and takes advantage of a poor economy and a limited job market. Therefore 11 or more Advisors on a team are forced to badger and push students into loans and schools they the students otherwise would not attend at this time. It makes no difference if a potential student tells and Advisor "I am loosing my home" "I don't know how I'll feed my family", the solution is "Title 4 funding" and a "Pell Grant". After all you don't want to be in the same position 4 years from now. Find a fax machine and get the TR page to me before 5pm or you don't get the free book voucher. Never mind you live in a rural area where everything closes at 6pm, "I will call a hotel and you get over there pick up the TR page sign it and fax it back within the hour". Because the Enrollment Advisor is told to take control, don't let the poor student worried about loosing a home, food or a death in the family handle the conversation.

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Visduh May 18, 2010 @ 9:23 a.m.

What I was trying to express is that in the full sweep of a lifetime, one's education should mean more than just vocational training. Focusing on that aspect of educational preparation and ignoring all the other aspects may very likely result in the education being less effective as an occupational qualification. That would be due to putting all one's eggs in a single basket, and forgetting other things an employee should be able to offer an employer.

I liken this to the recipient of a bachelors degree who doesn't find his/her door being broken down with prospective employers waving job offers, and concludes that more education is what he/she needs. So, a masters degree is on the agenda because everyone knows that a bachelors degree provides only minimal qualifications in the field, and that with more understanding and a record of studying in greater depth, the candidate will be far better qualified. What the student does not realize is that with a masters, more employers will see him/her as "overqualified" and thus ineligible for an entry level job. And so, armed with a masters, there are no offers again. Darn!

The key must be a doctorate in the discipline, and off goes our student on a quest for some sort of doctorate, which will surely make him/her a hot prospect. When that doesn't work we have a "terminally overqualified" person, carrying a huge debt from student loans, who is virtually unemployable. That's truly tragic. See the parallels?

By the way, SurfPup, when I attended SDSU the fees (not called tuition) for a semester were $72, and a student parking lot hunting license (ha,ha) was $30. I surely was not rich, nor a trust fund baby.

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Don Bauder May 18, 2010 @ 9:37 a.m.

Response to post #120: These are very disturbing posts, if true. Thus far, Clarissa has been the main one defending Bridgepoint. I would welcome more pro-Bridgepoint people defending the company from the attackers. Thus far, we have a very bleak picture of that online university. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 18, 2010 @ 9:55 a.m.

Response to post #121: I agree with you. Education should be broader. I remember when I decided to go into business school. Over and over, I was told that if I majored in literature with minors in economics and history -- which I really enjoyed, and got high grades in -- I would not be able to get a job. So I didn't get the liberal arts education I now wish I had received. I went to journalism school for my master's -- again, same problem, although I found J school more stimulating. Keep in mind, though, that I attended B school in the 1950s, when the quality was nowhere near as high as it is now. Best, Don Bauder

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CuddleFish May 18, 2010 @ 10:22 a.m.

Hah! My daughter inherited my talent for art. I encouraged her to major in English and minor in arts, that way she could teach and I didn't have to worry that she would starve in the street. I regret that now. Better to be happy than employed.

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a2zresource May 18, 2010 @ 11:01 a.m.

Both the article and the comments are fascinating as to the sociology of higher education in the context of academic upgrading of labor in a relatively free market, where educational institutionalism is the 800-pound humanoid in the house.

All of the above seems to be tied to the fact that for a few years, there has been no Department of Consumer Affairs board of private post-secondary education in our state government.

From http://www.bppe.ca.gov/ : "On October 11, 2009, Governor Schwarzenegger signed Assembly Bill (AB) 48 (Portantino, Chapter 310, Statutes of 2009). AB 48 is known as the Private Postsecondary Education Act of 2009 ('Act') and establishes the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education within the Department of Consumer Affairs. The Act became operative on January 1, 2010."

For people unfamiliar with this new Bureau, a PowerPoint presentation: http://www.bppe.ca.gov/about_us/info_session.pdf

The Bureau-related legislation, emergency regulations, and noticed proposed changes: http://www.bppe.ca.gov/lawsregs/index.shtml

Until AB 48, I was thinking of starting my own online university peddling associate degrees in religious studies with an emphasis in FEMA-certified comprehensive emergency management... hopefully a good sell as a timely end-of-the-Mayan-calendar curriculum, given current market volatility as a backdrop.

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paul May 18, 2010 @ 11:04 a.m.

Don said: "Response to post #56: There is no question that some don't attend UC classes. I remember when a Chargers star -- I believe his name was Chuck Muncie -- boasted that he had gone to Cal-Berkeley and never once attended class."

I met a parent a couple years ago at a kids birthday party who had been a safety at Oregon (Not Berkeley, but a pretty good school). He knew he wasn't going to the pros, and used his scholarship to get an education. He said his coaches and "advisers" were always on him to take easier classes, but he knew better.

At the start of each term the players were given a single stack of books covering all their classes, bound in string so that you had to cut them loose. At the end of the term players had to return the books to the athletic department (they didn't get to keep them). He said he was always amazed at how many stacks came back still tied up in that original string.

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paul May 18, 2010 @ 11:10 a.m.

While we are on the subject of Bridgepoint and talking about the likes of National, there is another interesting trend occurring that I am not sure yet whether is a good or bad thing (or indifferent):

http://www.goou.ou.edu/NorthAmerica/sandiego.html

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MsGrant May 18, 2010 @ 11:34 a.m.

Response to #114: He could have if he was interested in those subjects. But rather than spend a lifetime bemoaning the degrees he wanted but never got he instead chose the fields he wanted to devote his life to. He will never find himself 30 years down the road, full of regrets.

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nan shartel May 18, 2010 @ 11:42 a.m.

wonderful blog about these online scam colleges....a quagmire of financial debt just waiting for a bright eyed gal or guy to step into

once again best Don..and how come u got no avatar Mister??!!

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SurfPuppy619 May 18, 2010 @ 12:55 p.m.

What I was trying to express is that in the full sweep of a lifetime, one's education should mean more than just vocational training. Focusing on that aspect of educational preparation and ignoring all the other aspects may very likely result in the education being less effective as an occupational qualification. That would be due to putting all one's eggs in a single basket, and forgetting other things an employee should be able to offer an employer.

Do not get me wrong V-I am with you 100%.

An education that is well rounded, providing many different views of society, the ability to grow personally and intellectually from different cultural perspectives-that is probably the best thing about getting an education IMO.

But that must be balanced today wit the ability to pay for the education b/c even state subsidized schools are setting people back tens of thousands of dollars.

Speaking of taking varied college courses/classes, making you grow personally, the one I took that was really biased (at the urging of a friend who dropped the class after 2 days) was "Women's Studies". I was one of (I think) two males in the class. The teacher, an ultra feminist, seemed to have a distinct and intense hatred for men (making the class almost hostile towards me based on gender). Very uncomfortable class-but you did get the female perspective in it, and as much as it made me uncomfortable, it made me grow as a person.

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a2zresource May 18, 2010 @ 12:56 p.m.

RE #127:

OU appears to be accredited in good standing by North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. By comparison, National University has had, lost, and regained Western Association of Schools and Colleges accreditation over the past decades. It appears that University of Phoenix and Southwestern College may not be WASC-accredited institutions, but I haven't checked lately.

Just about any field grade promotion above Captain/Major requires an advanced degree of some sort, and having a US Army War College Master in Strategic Studies is a good feather in one's cap if one plans to pin on stars later in one's careers. Failing to get admitted to the War College need not derail one's path to eventual 20-year retirement and a Legion of Honor as a wonderful parting gift if OU offers an accredited alternative.

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Visduh May 18, 2010 @ 1:22 p.m.

OK SurfPup, I'll have to concede that higher education, even here in California, is expensive and getting worse. My son just graduated law school--an ABA accredited school--about a year ago. He borrowed some, but many of his classmates (there were 400 in his class!) are in hock more than $100K. Paying that back for many will be Mission Impossible, precluding home buying for many years, and likely will keep them from starting a family for a very long time. Knowing you have decried an oversupply of lawyers in your comments for months/years, I can report that my son at least has a job offer that will have him working as a practicing attorney, and paid like a professional. Whew!

As a society we are overeducated but undertrained for the real jobs that exist. These diploma mills are guilty of preying on feelings of inadequacy about lacking formal education. Rather than spending a fortune to get a generally useless academic degree, those folks should concentrate on developing the skills and habits that go with some line of endeavor that holds an interest for them. Too often they head off into some area with which they have no familiarity, and even with a degree, still don't understand the requirements of work in that area. Example: The person who cannot stand seeing blood who studies to be a nurse. Or the mathphobe who studies to be a CPA.

Did you REALLY take a course in women's studies from a man-hater? Must have been a truly "broadening" experience for you. (Sorry, couldn't resist that one.)

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MsGrant May 18, 2010 @ 1:53 p.m.

Visduh, I could not agree with you more. But how do you propose that young adults enter the working world with no degree? I look at the ads for jobs and even the ones that need little academic background are still asking for a four year degree or equivalent work experience. And from what I understand, most high schools are eliminating vocational programs. What happens is that if a young adult is fortunate enough to land a decent job without a degree, it most likely will not be in something they are passionate about, but rather something that pays the bills. Going to college is not an option for many of these young people.

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Don Bauder May 18, 2010 @ 2:10 p.m.

Response to post #124: In San Diego I would often talk with college students. I would tell them to head for a career in something they love -- not some field that would be more remunerative. I said they would be much happier being a good school teacher than a mediocre accountant. Not only that, but there might be lots of good accounting jobs when you are in college. But by the time you are out in the job market there might be a surplus and you will starve in a field you do not like. Nothing could be worse. Do what you like doing. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 18, 2010 @ 2:14 p.m.

Response to post #125: You would never get a bank to loan you money if you presented a business plan preparing people for the end of the world (as predicted by the Mayan calendar). That's not very far off. Banks want longer horizons. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 May 18, 2010 @ 2:14 p.m.

Did you REALLY take a course in women's studies from a man-hater? Must have been a truly "broadening" experience for you. (Sorry, couldn't resist that one.)

hehhehehehehe....yes, she hated men. Everything that came out of her PhD educated body boiled down to this-all the problems in the world were because of men.

But, I will say this, I am glad I took the course. It gave me a completely different view of the genders. I saw her side of things, even though I did not agree with most of it, I saw her side and how it shaped her views-and that made me grow as a person b/c that allowed me insight in dealing with others who have very opinionated and extreme views-to either the right or the left. Those are the ways that a higher education can force a person into personal growth.

On to your lawyer son-good for him, accepted to an ABA LS, graduated AND has a job, a minor miracle today. There are very few law schools with classes of 400, even harder to land jobs with a big class, but still glad your son has a job. There was an interesting discussion about this a few days ago on Abovethelaw.com, where the issue came up about LS tuition costs and ability to repay-and New York Law School, what is considered a low ranking "fourth tier toilet" (TTTT) LS had the highest tuition in the nation at $45K/semester, more than Harvard, Yale and Stanford, the top three LS's in the country. It is generally acknowledged that 90% of those grads won't have the financial ability to repay the LS costs. If the gov stopped allowing students access to LARGE sums of student loans, then the LS's would simply not be able to charge these ridiculous tuition costs (like NYLS). LS tuition has been going up, on average, 10% per year for the last 20 years.

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Don Bauder May 18, 2010 @ 2:22 p.m.

Response to post #126: At Wisconsin, I roomed with a football player who had been one of my best friends since grade school. The athletic department had him enroll in agriculture although he didn't know a pig from a cow. The ag school was more generous with permitting those with low grades to compete. He took a lot of phys ed courses (football, volleyball) which he passed, but he had to take some basics such as chemistry, literature, etc. Those he failed. He hung around campus 3.5 years but the university only got two years of eligibility out of him. If he were to go back to school today, he would be a first semester freshman because his credits were so varied. I can say all this publicly because he died a couple of years ago. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 18, 2010 @ 2:26 p.m.

Response to post #127: If Oklahoma is as redneck as one of its U.S. senators, I would certainly prefer to get a degree at its university from as far outside the state as I could get. This looks interesting and I don't know what to say about it. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 18, 2010 @ 2:29 p.m.

Response to post #128: There is nothing like a physicist or an engineer who doesn't want to be a physicist or engineer. I can't think of anything worse. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 18, 2010 @ 2:33 p.m.

Response to post #129: I agree that the responses to this column have been profound and challenging. And to think I almost didn't do it: I posted a blog on the topic April 30 after the U-T did a puff piece on Bridgepoint. I almost didn't do the column since I had posted good info on the blog. Matt Potter suggested I do the column, too. It was good advice. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 18, 2010 @ 2:36 p.m.

Response to post #130: What grade did that man-hating feminist give you? F? Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 18, 2010 @ 2:38 p.m.

Response to post #131: Bridgepoint is accredited by North Central. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 18, 2010 @ 2:45 p.m.

Response to post #132: I agree there is too much emphasis on having a college degree. Inevitably, this churning out of students with degrees has cheapened the degree. My grandfather was principal of a high school for 32 years (a long tenure even today). Back then, the percentage of people graduating from high school was low. I remember one day going through textbooks from his school (say, 1910 to 1915.) They were tough, tough, tough. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 18, 2010 @ 2:49 p.m.

Response to post #133: Auto mechanics have to do specialized study, but I don't know that they need any more than a high school education. I couldn't be an auto mechanic in a million years. I can barely change a tire. I would make a lousy farmer; I couldn't plow a straight line in a field. I would be a horrible carpenter. I can't pound a nail. Best, Don Bauder

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Russ Lewis May 18, 2010 @ 2:52 p.m.

Don, a blog that I'm fond of (Productivity501) offers the following advice: Don't bother pursuing a major that will prepare you for a job that's just going to get shipped off to Asia in 20 years; get a major that will teach you how to think. To that end, the blogger took a major in music theory; his job today: efficiency analyst. It seems like wise advice to me, but then, I only have a GED and flip burgers for a living.

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Don Bauder May 18, 2010 @ 2:56 p.m.

Response to post #136: Basically, she was probably correct. Wars are started by macho males in almost all cases. Men commit something like 95% of all murders. Men are more likely to destroy families because of gambling, boozing and chasing the other sex. In the investment world, it's largely men who go for "alpha," or gambling for big returns. I will bet you will find that it was largely if not entirely men who created and peddled the derivatives that almost drove the world's economies off a cliff. We men don't have much to be proud of. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 18, 2010 @ 3 p.m.

Response to post #145: Flipping burgers? It could be worse. You could have been a real estate speculator who flipped houses or commercial buildings for a living. You would now be selling apples on the streets. Best, Don Bauder

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MsGrant May 18, 2010 @ 3:05 p.m.

Response to #146: Stunned silence. I know when to keep my big mouth shut.

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SurfPuppy619 May 18, 2010 @ 3:49 p.m.

What grade did that man-hating feminist give you? F?

OK, here is what happened.

I was very worried about this class when I signed up for it, so I took it on a "Pass/Fail" basis, which means if you get a C or higher you "pass" and anything below C is fail. This way the course counts on credits but NOT towards your GPA.

You do this option if you have a decent GPA and you're worried you might get a C in the class. You must sign up for this option before the course starts-you don't get the option half way into the class.

I received a B+ in the class, but since I took it Pass/Fail I didn't get the B+ GPA boost(3.3 GPA points). I was very upset about my grade b/c that B+ would have boosted my overall GPA. I just didn't think I would get that good of a grade.

BTW-SDSU grades on a strict curve, 10% A's, 15% B's, 50% C's, 25% D's or F's. At best 25% of an SDSU class will get a 3.0 grade or above.

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SurfPuppy619 May 18, 2010 @ 3:54 p.m.

Stunned silence. I know when to keep my big mouth shut.

So you agree, or disagree?

Yes Don, you said exactly what the Professor said-the "men start the wars" comment was verbatim (and true).

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MsGrant May 18, 2010 @ 4:41 p.m.

OMG!! I was going to suggest earlier that SP took that class on a pass/fail and just shook it off!! That means you went into it expecting at least to grade low, if not fail. Most women know that men that go into a "women's" class are at best trying to "understand" the fairer sex, but more than likely are trying to be the token male who, in his mind, they are all mud-wrestling over when their female competitive nature is stirred by your presence. SP, all the ladies know your motive when you go in as the lone male, especially the professor. She had seen enough of your types over the years to peg you right from the get go. She gave you that grade to piss you off, because you went pass/fail. Unless you contributed to the class, which you failed to mention, only that the professor was a man hater.

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nan shartel May 18, 2010 @ 5:15 p.m.

140

ahhhhhhhhhh yes Don... once again u got the peanut gallery popping corn... the lids off beer cans... and sitting raptly reading ur blog waiting for the next wry comment to be delivered

AND ONCE AGAIN WHERE IS THAT AVATAR MISTER!!??

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nan shartel May 18, 2010 @ 5:18 p.m.

144

~~but u have a hell of an ear for Pooh tunes hunnypot~~

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a2zresource May 18, 2010 @ 5:34 p.m.

"We men don't have much to be proud of. Best, Don Bauder"

I am proud that there are actually some women who manage to put up with me for small but significant slices of meaningful time.

I am proud that some men got together to hold the Second Constitutional Convention. I am proud AND thankful that their wives waited a bit before demanding that they all get real jobs and quit playing around with their gunpowder horns and musket balls. This is no criticism of women: God knows that without a good kick from our Better Halves once in a while, we non-Alpha males would do... not much of anything that didn't involve a brewed beverage.

Come to think of it, some of those men at the Convention also started their own colleges and universities rather than get real jobs.

The tradition continues.

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Russ Lewis May 18, 2010 @ 6:41 p.m.

(#146) True, Don. But do women govern any better?

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David Dodd May 18, 2010 @ 7:05 p.m.

I remember when Bobby Riggs lost to Billie Jean King. Of course, he threw that match, didn't he? ;)

Any man who thinks that men are somehow superior in any way to women should get pregnant and have a baby, and then report back with his opinion. All men have to do is to get into bar fights and build big giant things and possess a broad understanding of sports and blow stuff up. Women have babies, and even when they don't they have the capacity to do so; men do not, not physically nor emotionally. And, speaking as an empirical witness to that event on several occasions, men have a pretty sweet deal.

Women can do anything men can do. Men, well, we're fairly limited, reciprocally speaking.

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nan shartel May 18, 2010 @ 7:12 p.m.

women CAN DO anything men can do Refried...and in high heels moving backwards...hahahahahahahahaha

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Don Bauder May 18, 2010 @ 8:30 p.m.

Response to post #148: C'mon. I expected some response, particularly from you. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 18, 2010 @ 8:40 p.m.

Response to post #149: It sounds like that alleged man-hater got a crush on you at some point during this class. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 18, 2010 @ 8:42 p.m.

Response to post #150: Of course, those who start wars don't have to fight the wars. Example: Dick Cheney. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 18, 2010 @ 8:45 p.m.

Response to post #151: SP hasn't told us whether or how aggressively he participated in the class. If he was as masculinely belligerent as he is sometimes on this blog, I doubt he would have gotten a B-plus. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 18, 2010 @ 8:49 p.m.

Response to post #152: I haven't answered your avatar query because I don't know what an avatar is and I don't have the gumption to look it up, at least until tomorrow (Wed.) morning. I have heard of Avatar the movie but know nothing about it other than the odd characters I see in the movie ads. Best, Don Bauder

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Grasca May 18, 2010 @ 8:50 p.m.

160 from DB response And Cheney has a heart like a Timex watch - "takes a licking and still keeps ticking." Sigh. Apparently he also knows how to eat pretzels and not choke. Sigh again. It is just that pesky duck shooting and his bad aim.

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Don Bauder May 18, 2010 @ 8:51 p.m.

Response to post #153: I thought of another one: "Isn't it funny how a bear likes honey?" Best, Don Bauder

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MsGrant May 18, 2010 @ 8:51 p.m.

Response to #158 to #148 to #146 to #136 - I do not know where to begin. But I do believe that men and not women have had an influence that could be changed for the better should women step up to the plate, so to speak.

Back to the learning thing, women are passing men in the completion of higher education. They don't really need a man anymore.

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Don Bauder May 18, 2010 @ 8:54 p.m.

Response to post #153: Didn't Jefferson start the University of Virginia? I don't know if he liked his brew but I do know he did like women. So did Ben Franklin. So do I. But I ain't got Jefferson's or Franklin's smarts. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 18, 2010 @ 8:56 p.m.

Response to post #155: I must admit that Golda Meir was jingoistic. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 18, 2010 @ 8:58 p.m.

Response to post #156: Look at the longevity statistics. Women live longer in every culture I know of. The weaker sex? Nope. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 18, 2010 @ 9 p.m.

Response to post #157: I believe you are quoting Ginger Rogers, talking about her dancing with Fred Astaire. Best, Don Bauder

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David Dodd May 18, 2010 @ 9 p.m.

@ #162: Don, I'll save you some time so you can concentrate on exposing the bad guys. The term "avatar" is actually from Hinduism, it is (in short) a likeness based on one's incarnation. In the digital world, the term has been adapted - in that one either has a choice of several digital images to represent themselves, or that an avatar can be created to represent one's online incarnation. A true avatar is not a picture of one's self, but rather a representation of such. Even though the Reader calls the little picture we can associate with our comments "avatars", they aren't truly avatars most of the time. Mine is a picture a friend took of me. A true avatar would be a representation of my incarnation. I'm too lazy to give that enough thought to come up with one.

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Don Bauder May 18, 2010 @ 9:03 p.m.

Response to post #163: One's aim isn't so hot after a couple of six packs of beer. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 18, 2010 @ 9:05 p.m.

Response to post #165: Absolutely, women are surpassing men academically. Law schools are just one example. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 18, 2010 @ 9:08 p.m.

Response to post #170: OK, that's what an avatar is all about. My picture on this blog is not an avatar. It is I -- bald head and all. Best, Don Bauder

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CuddleFish May 18, 2010 @ 9:59 p.m.

groan

Admin, please enlighten Don Bauder as to a blog avatar, or better yet, just post one for him. :)

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SurfPuppy619 May 18, 2010 @ 11:11 p.m.

She had seen enough of your types over the years to peg you right from the get go. She gave you that grade to piss you off, because you went pass/fail.

The Pass/Fail grade is assigned through the registrars office, the professor has no knowledge of the option.

BTW-what exactly is my "type"?

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nan shartel May 19, 2010 @ 1:45 a.m.

nitey nite bear;-)

put a charming bear up for an avatar Don if ur bald head bothers u..it doesn't bother us any

we will shine it up!!

we've become so silly with u...thx for ur foreBEARance

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Don Bauder May 19, 2010 @ 6:08 a.m.

Response to post #174: Yes, please get the administrator to educate me. After all, the subject of this blog is education. Can I take an online class in what a blog avatar is? Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 19, 2010 @ 6:12 a.m.

Response to post $175: What is the stereotypical SurfPuppy? Now there is a discussion for future blogs. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 19, 2010 @ 6:16 a.m.

Response to post #176: I didn't mean to say that the bald head bothers ME. I just thought it bothers others with an appreciation of pulchritude. Best, Don Bauder

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Duhbya May 19, 2010 @ 7:16 a.m.

Re #178: Ask and the internet shall provide:

Sorta ties in with his aforementioned college experience, too.

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CuddleFish May 19, 2010 @ 7:28 a.m.

It is precisely your pulchritude we want to appreciate.

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Don Bauder May 19, 2010 @ 8:26 a.m.

Response to post #180: It never occurred to me that SurfPuppy was a Dalmatian. One reason: Dalmatians hang around fire stations, accompanying the firefighters on their trips. I can't see firefighters making SP a pet. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 19, 2010 @ 8:29 a.m.

Response to post #181: No one has ever called me pulchritudinous, except perhaps Nan. These laudations will make me insufferable. Best, Don Bauder

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Duhbya May 19, 2010 @ 9:02 a.m.

Re #182: You leave absolutely no room for argument. Brilliant! And funny as all get out.

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Clarissa May 19, 2010 @ 9:44 a.m.

http://www.onlinedegreereviews.org/college/ashford-university-reviews/reviews/

Plenty of good and bad reviews, of course, you never know who is a real student and who is not, but that goes for both bad and good reviews.

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anncarl May 19, 2010 @ 10:18 a.m.

I see that is blog has totally gotten away from the subject at hand..Profit Education and in particular the Bridgepoint model. Does anyone want to go back to this subject? Don, cetainly you are not done exposing what the Union Tribune glorifies?

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Don Bauder May 19, 2010 @ 11:38 a.m.

Response to post #184: I am expecting an argument from SP. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 19, 2010 @ 11:40 a.m.

Response to post #185: Yes, 101. Bring on Cruella Deville. (Is that how it's spelled?) Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 19, 2010 @ 11:45 a.m.

Response to poste #186: Yes, very good responses, both good and bad. Who sponsors that site? Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 19, 2010 @ 11:49 a.m.

Responses to post #187: Yes, this blog does wander off topic sometimes. To answer your questions: I'm not through with Bridgepoint. If the U-T and Voice continue to glorify it, I might return to them, too. Best, Don Bauder

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nan shartel May 19, 2010 @ 12:23 p.m.

it's his cranial brilliance that catches and keeps our gaze and makes us dumbfounded

pulchritudinous????

now don' be letting that secret out Don

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anncarl May 19, 2010 @ 2:41 p.m.

Response to post 120...Right on! As a fromer high level manager I can validate your writing. There are members of an enrollment team that are the stars and get the prime leads...these are uasually the people who don't take no for an answer and are highly skilled in sales. The mantra at Ashford is get the app! Period.

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Don Bauder May 19, 2010 @ 7:09 p.m.

Response to post #192: It's no secret. Look up "pulchritudinous" in your Funk & Wagnalls. I admit it is an ugly word for one conveying "beauty." Sort of like "Utah." It is a beautiful state but the word "Utah" is ugly. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 19, 2010 @ 7:16 p.m.

Response to post #193 and a correction to my response to post #192: Pulchritudinous is an adjective meaning beautiful. Pulchritude is the noun meaning beauty. In re post #193: Yes, that seems to be the consensus of what I have heard thus far: the company's primary interest is sales. I was not surprised to hear that marketing and PR expenses are higher than education expenses. I don't know for sure if that is true, though. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 May 19, 2010 @ 8:53 p.m.

OMG-that is the COOLEST video EVER!

Just tagged onto my favorites list!

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Twister May 19, 2010 @ 10:30 p.m.

194

U mus tink a "Ute" is a young person, as in "My Cousin Vinny." U cud git scalped . . .

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Don Bauder May 20, 2010 @ 6:04 a.m.

Response to post #196: You sure it is the coolest video EVER? Don't you find the interviews with Nouriel Roubini more profound? Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 20, 2010 @ 6:06 a.m.

Response to post #197: In Brooklyn, "Ute" definitely means young people. Best, Don Bauder

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Twister May 20, 2010 @ 11:35 a.m.

I would like to see a transition to an entirely different approach to education. It would have a fractalty, not a faculty, that would be made up of an integrated network where anybody could get on and get off at any time, any place. The fractalty would consist of the fortunate who would be paying their dues by helping others develop according to their interests, and the scholars would help each other and join the fractalty as they gained various levels of knowledge and understanding. It would be chaotic, something like the Internet, but more directed along lines of relevance, optimality, and efficiency. Brainstorming "rules" would be a good place to start, but let it find and refine its own way, continually adapting to change. No fees, no organization, just a central processing unit and a linked database of exponential dimensions.

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nan shartel May 20, 2010 @ 3:36 p.m.

oh SurfPuppy...the best ever...now i think i know u so much better!!!

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nan shartel May 20, 2010 @ 3:39 p.m.

~~hush up about that Utah thing Don~~

it's rocky majestic splendorous beauty overwhelms it's name

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Twister May 20, 2010 @ 5 p.m.

Nan, I tink Don wuz probubly scalped by Utes. At least his formation is a whole dome. U shud see him with his yamaha with the perpellor.

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nan shartel May 20, 2010 @ 6:59 p.m.

oooooooooooooooooo...i'd like to see that Twister

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Don Bauder May 20, 2010 @ 7:02 p.m.

Response to poset #200: Did you say brainstorming? Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 20, 2010 @ 7:03 p.m.

Response to post #201: Hang around, Nan. You'll know SP better. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 20, 2010 @ 7:06 p.m.

Response to post #202: Wonderful state. But visit St. George, where they are allowing homes to be built on top of utterly beautiful rock formations. It's a travesty. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 20, 2010 @ 7:07 p.m.

Response to post #203: And I've been telling people my baldness is the result of genetic factors. Dumb me. Best, Don Bauder

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antigeekess May 20, 2010 @ 7:09 p.m.

LOL @ Bauder in #198.

:D

Opinions vary on the spelling of "Ute." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eIZuSMRdgk

I'm going with "Yoot."

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Don Bauder May 20, 2010 @ 7:09 p.m.

Response to post #204: C'mon baby, let's do the Twister. Best, Don Bauder

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antigeekess May 20, 2010 @ 7:10 p.m.

OmiGAWD that take up a lot of bandwidth.

Saaaaahhhhhrreeeeee....

:)

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nan shartel May 20, 2010 @ 7:39 p.m.

210

and u can dance 2!!!

~~be still my heart~~

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Twister May 20, 2010 @ 8:14 p.m.

How'd y' git all them clips of Marissa? Oh, Oh, Oooooo!

I think this thread has goned of'n its bobbin. But I like it like that . . .

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jham88 May 21, 2010 @ 7:34 a.m.

Don:

fantastic article! I worked at Ashford University for 6 months in 2009. I found a job with another company in a field I was experienced in and was relieved to leave. I have read nearly all of the posts on here and blame our federal government for allowing this utter waste of tax payer dollars to go on.

Your response to Post #12 is provacative and silly. I was told by the three different Enrollment Managers I had, the trainer for enrollment advisors and my Director that this was a production based job and we were expected to produce numbers.

That said no enrollment advisor would ever take on a roll of financial advisor to weed out quality prospective students with consideration of the students personal financial impact position. This would be like asking mortgage lenders counseling folks on taking out a mortgage to purchase a home that did not meet traditional loan criteria. Like consulting them to not take an interest only loan but wait until you have 20% cash saved....

Oh by the way Don, numerous enrollment advisors at Bridgepoint were ex mortgage loan sales folks with years of Phone selling experience.

We never asked for A.C.T.,S.A.T, or HS GPA numbers we looked at eligibility for Title IV funding. Nothing else matters beyond if they were elegibile for Title IV funding or not. In Training they tell you to dig and find what there true motivation is and play on that to spin them into a succesful student. What training never told us was that the lions share of the leads we would be receiving were leads sourced from from "check cashing, or Pay Day advance loan" businesses.

The mind set of that individual(bridepoint would say prospective student) is "if there are excess funds available to me after the tuition and fees are paid when do i get that?"

The quality students those that were shopping for a convienient on line accredited school experience, they call in or send in an email. Those leads were never evenly distributed they were handed out to maybe 20% of the advisors on any given team and then comparisons were made about how great those adviors were compared to everybody else. As if this was a fair comparison.

Anything else I continue to say will be redundant but I must tell you I don't like to admit I once worked there and consider it dishonest employment.

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Don Bauder May 21, 2010 @ 8:01 a.m.

Response to post #209: Crossword puzzles almost invariably use "Ute." Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 21, 2010 @ 8:03 a.m.

Response to posts #211-213: I am one of the world's worst dancers. Best, Don Bauder

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CogSciGuy May 21, 2010 @ 8:36 a.m.

214 Mostly accurate, but what are you talking about here "the lions share of the leads we would be receiving were leads sourced from from 'check cashing, or Pay Day advance loan' businesses?"

I've worked in enrollment for years at Bridgepoint and really don't have a clue where you acquired that tidbit of mis-information.

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Don Bauder May 21, 2010 @ 9:35 a.m.

Response to post #218: So you state that the bulk of the leads weren't from check cashing or Pay Day sources. We have a good conflict here. The answer is important. Best, Don Bauder

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CogSciGuy May 21, 2010 @ 9:54 a.m.

That's correct, Don. I don't recall ever receiving such a lead or what that would mean. Almost all leads are received by people interested in school doing searches online and filling out forms to request more information. I'm not sure I even know what it would mean to get a lead from a "check cashing or pay day source." Like someone shows up at a check cashing place and Ashford employees ask if they want to go to school?

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Clarissa May 21, 2010 @ 10:20 a.m.

Don, on the "about" page of the site, the sponsor claims to be an individual in Ottawa. Here is the link: http://www.onlinedegreereviews.org/college/page/about/

I still think its funny all we hear from are enrollment counselors - sales is a thankless job as far as I'm concerned, and I'm not all blown away and shocked that the for-profit corporation with education as its product has a sales team. I personally would have NEVER been in enrollment, its the worst job at the for-profits. They say advisors (academic) were treated as low on the totem pole, but that is not true: We got job longevity and respect from students and our superiors, and a salary matching our education and service. Whereas, you took a SALES job, made a lot of money, then badmouth the company when you don't perform. Sucks to be you with what you think is a "dishonest" entry on your resume - why'd you stay for six months? There may be lots wrong with the way they recruit students, (although apparently they haven't broken any laws) but this is America, and what industry here is not all profit oriented? There is LOTS wrong with all kinds of marketing I watch on tv, hear on the radio, am exposed to annoyingly all the time. But if they are abiding by the letter of the law, as they claim, then I guess there is room for them just like all the other companies out there to make money. I get a strong sense of false "shock" from all of this. OH MY GOD, the university is trying to make money! I'm done with this, but I humbly suggest for your next article, try to get more people than these "alarmed" sales people to fill you in. From my experience working at a for profit university, not bridgepoint but Apollo, the "sales" teams were always moaning and complaining, always. Its not like they were "saints" who applied for the only job they could get and then had to leave because. They were trying to make a lot of money. And they were always threatening to sue, and some of them actually did. Its extremely distasteful, and dishonest. You really need to find and interview people willing to talk with you who are not in enrollment. I know lots of very good people who work at Ashford, and are genuinely of the belief they are serving students. And, they've been there for many years. As a journalist, you should try to find them.

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Duhbya May 21, 2010 @ 10:31 a.m.

Re #196: Glad I could be of service, SP. I was quite surprised when that popped up. Perhaps you're on to something.

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anncarl May 21, 2010 @ 11:16 a.m.

The people who are in other departments are like being in a different company. Enrollment is the heart and soul of for profit universities and the one department that pays the bill and make the profit. The other departments are akin to social workers...whatever their motives and visions are it does not make what the real purpose of these schools honorablethey are just the front. Seearticle below and take off your rose tinted lenses. Ashford University, an online division of Bridgepoint Education Inc, announced that it had entered into “a national alliance agreement” with the United States Postal Service. Under the agreement, “the USPS and its 623,000 employees will receive significant cost savings through the waiver of various fees and a prior learning credit evaluation toward their Ashford University degree program”. The USPS already has similar agreements with other online “universities”, including the University of Phoenix. Ashford’s operating practices have been under investigation by the Department of Education’s Inspector General for “compensation policies and practices relating to enrollment advisors; calculation of returns of Title IV program funds; timeliness of returns of Title IV program funds; student authorizations to retain credit balances; disbursements of unearned Title IV program funds; and maintenance of supporting documentation for students’ leaves of absence.” In December, in a story on risks facing for profit educators including Bridgepoint, Barron’s reported that the Department of Education was considering sanctions for “schools that run admissions offices like high-pressure telemarketing operations and overburden students with federally backed loans”. (In 2007, the most recent year reported, Ashford had a 17.4% default rate on government backed student loans).

Federal law prohibits paying so-called “enrollment advisors” on the basis of the numbers of students they enroll. During the Bush Administration, however, rules were implemented that allowed the payments to resume, effectively turning the “advisors” into salesmen working on commission. The rulemaking was hardly surprising, given that Bush’s assistant secretary for post-secondary education was a longtime University of Phoenix lobbyist). The Obama Administration has indicated that it would rescind those rules, raising questions as to how long the scholls will continue their rapid growth. That might also explain why the schools are expanding their marketing activities to include “partnerships” with organizations like the USPS.

Perhaps the most surprising fact about Ashford, though, is that despite all the talk about the new free enterprise, for profit model of higher education, in 2008, 87 percent of its revenue came from federal financial aid. For more on Ashford’s recruiting practices, and an interesting perspectives on how much an Ashford degree might actually be worth, read “Marine Can’t Recall His Lessons at For-Profit College” at Bloomberg.com.

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Don Bauder May 21, 2010 @ 2:38 p.m.

Response to post 220: My interpretation was that a lead from a check cashing or Pay Day source would be somebody who was financially unsophisticated and psychologically vulnerable, as the customers of such outfits tend to be. But I don't know how names of such people could be collected by those who sell suckers lists. I hope we learn more. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 21, 2010 @ 2:49 p.m.

Response to post #223: I missed the Barron's article while doing research. Your leads are helpful. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 May 21, 2010 @ 8:15 p.m.

Glad I could be of service, SP. I was quite surprised when that popped up.

:)

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jham88 May 22, 2010 @ 7:50 a.m.

Post Number 223 is very telling. I think Clarissa is naive and if you take my experiences and what was posted on #223 my view is that BPI is making money off of students that are not ready for it as Don accurately rephrased in comment number #224.

Your perspective on leads depends on where you rank on your team. If you are a student that is interested in an online education and you pick up on the phone and call the 800 number for Ashford you are very motivated. Equally true if you navigate on line and send in an email to Ashford Universtiy or select on line chat.

Those three types of leads are typically the best of opportunities for enrollment advisors but are not evenly distributed amonst the employed masses. Instead they go to a select 2-3 members of a 15 manned team. The rest of the advisors go off lists. Being new I was one of the rest. Lead flow off of those lists started to fall off and the reason as we all learned in a company sponsored meeting was that Bridepoint wasn't going to purchase sourced lists anymore from the outside. That source list the university representative spoke of was that "sucker list" and stuff like that.

We were then told we had to start working referrals effectively to hit our numbers by our manager. So maybe to rephrase "lions Share" it would depend on your perspective on where you ranked on your team. The days I got to speak to better students were the days that other enrollment advisors called in sick or were on vacation. Those days there were more leads getting to the remaining Enrollment Advisors. And my best referrels were from students that I had enrolled on those days.

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delite528 May 22, 2010 @ 9:07 a.m.

Response to post 220: This sounds like the wide eyed response of what is affectionately known as a newbie. If you have spent any real time at Ashford University and called on hundreds of leads from 2007, 2008 and 2009 in 2010 you must understand that most of the leads come from sources where people were trying to apply online for a job, a computer or other device. After you spin your wheels 8 hours a day speaking with people who ask "where did you get my name", "don't call here anymore" which is the majority of response, how do you deduce the leads come in quote: "Almost all leads are received by people interested in school doing searches online and filling out forms to request more information."? If your statement were true there would be no need to repeal the "Safe Harbor Laws". Now do your research. Oh, I still believe in Santa Claus, but I'm not waiting at the top of the stairs to see if he comes down the the chimney on Xmas.

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delite528 May 22, 2010 @ 9:45 a.m.

Response to post 221: Clarissa quotes "I still think its funny all we hear from are enrollment counselors - sales is a thankless job as far as I'm concerned". You have tagged them as counselors/advisors, but in the same sentence said sales is a thankless job. If they are salespersons why won't the online universities hire them as such and title them properly? Why hire and stress customer service and support, but base your salary on sales quotas? Seems kind of misleading from the start. Clarissa quotes "There may be lots wrong with the way they recruit students, (although apparently they haven't broken any laws) but this is America, and what industry here is not all profit oriented?" Here is a quote from a congressman on the committee looking into activities of online education " The Department of Education is concerned about high pressure commissioned sales being used to secure enrollments to institutions of higher education. I share that concern." I have left out his name because it is from a personal correspondence and is an ongoing investigation. Do your home work and be aware of what is really happening.

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jham88 May 22, 2010 @ 2:12 p.m.

I might find For Profit Education Companies more ethical if they were held financially responsible for collection on all bowered Title IV funding by there enrolled students. You can bet your ass that that would change the whole dynamic on entrance screening and enrollment criteria.

Some have predicted a coming surge in student loan defaults, kind of like home loans. I think that is very likely if the economy doesn't improve quickly with wages to support the debt these folks have incurred. But without such a financial responsibility noose around the likes of Andrew Clarks neck and his crew they and his competitors will continue to use there experience at cheating the US government out of tax dollars.

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jham88 May 22, 2010 @ 2:58 p.m.

TO the person that posted #24 Mcgraw Hill is in the business of publishing books to whomever wants to publish them. As for the benefit of how easy it is to get into Ashford versus USD or SDSU that is not a fair comparison because the San Diego universities are very competitive and very reputable. And the default rate of those students is drastically less than those attending AU.

With you bringing in a 3.6 GPA into AU and having served in the military you would be an enrollment advisors biggest hope! And they would be begging you to refer all of your friends and relatives to AU through them specifically. The majority of AU advisors get much less quality in a student. My enrolled students use to call me and complain on how "stupid" the folks in there classes were. Stupid sounds harsh but it is what they said.

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Don Bauder May 22, 2010 @ 3:06 p.m.

Response to post #228: I keep hearing that many of the salespeople are former mortgage peddlers. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 22, 2010 @ 3:09 p.m.

Response to post #229: Responses like yours are by far the majority. Best, Don Bauder

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jham88 May 22, 2010 @ 3:09 p.m.

I agree with the persons post for #27 but just the second section rather than the first. Have Universities responsible for the receivables of student loan debt. Manipulating how you pay the advisors is a messed up calamity between lobby groups and the D.O.E.

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Don Bauder May 22, 2010 @ 3:13 p.m.

Response to post #230: I'm sure the for-profit schools have high-powered lobbyists. We know the DOE is looking into some of the schools, and will soon be making a ruling following its four-year probe of Ashford. If Congress is looking at this industry also, so much the better. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 22, 2010 @ 3:16 p.m.

Response to post #231: Some say the coming student loan debacle will be contemporaneous with the coming credit card debt debacle. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 22, 2010 @ 3:19 p.m.

Response to post #232: In private conversations, some faculty members have said the same thing to me. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 22, 2010 @ 3:22 p.m.

Response to post #235: If the for-profit universities were responsible for students' debt, they would close down. The fact that 85% of student money comes from the federal government through such things as Pell Grants is what keeps these for-profit schools alive. Without that federal backup, they would be dead. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 May 22, 2010 @ 5:32 p.m.

I might find For Profit Education Companies more ethical if they were held financially responsible for collection on all bowered Title IV funding by there enrolled students.

If that were the policy there would be no "for profit" schools, they would all be BK.

In fact probably half the "non profit" schools would be BK also.

There is a non profit, TTTT (bottom of the barrel), ABA law school paying their President half a million dollars in compensation and sponsering baseball stadiums through "naming" rights. That kind of nonsense says everything about the education scams running today.

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jham88 May 22, 2010 @ 5:38 p.m.

my response to post #239. In my view that is ok. If an online degree can't function under for profit conditions with out abusing tax payer assistance this nation shouldn't afford to keep it afloat. Such action might make not for porfit higher education institutions more efficient as well.

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SurfPuppy619 May 22, 2010 @ 5:48 p.m.

Some have predicted a coming surge in student loan defaults,

There is no coming surge, it is already here.

The true default rate for ALL student loans is well over 30%, it could be as high as 50%. For some "for profit" schools it is well over 75%, for some HBCU's it is over 40%. This was from data processed and analyzed from "Education Sector" in 2007 (but collected from the DoE), that was BEFORE the Great Recession. I am sure that rate had climbed dramatically since then. Google Erin Dillion at Education Sector in Washington D.C., she is an expert and has done numerous studies. I have used Erin's research numerous times under expert witness testimony and evidence.

Don't listen to the US DoE " official" default rate-it is totally gamed, no different than how the US games the unemployment rate by using the U-3 UE rate instead of the true U-6 UE rate.

The US DoE only counts loan as "defaulting" if it happens within the first 2 years of graduation. It takes 9 months for a student loan to "officially" default after the first day the default starts. That means for a student loan to "officially" default you would have to not pay within the first 15 months after graduation-and that just doesn't happen. And that certainly is not an indication of the TREU default rate. It is a gamed number from a government that does not value the truth-too many special interests taking the taxpayers to the cleaners and making money off the scam SL system.

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Don Bauder May 22, 2010 @ 9:01 p.m.

Response to post #240: Agreed, as I said earlier. if the for-profits were responsible for their students' debts, the schools would go belly-up. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 22, 2010 @ 9:04 p.m.

Response to post #241: I think the thesis is the consensus. But think about the ruckus in trying to pass such a bill. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 22, 2010 @ 9:06 p.m.

Response to post #242: You have a lot of knowledge in this area. These are disquieting numbers, but they are believable. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 May 22, 2010 @ 9:12 p.m.

You have a lot of knowledge in this area. These are disquieting numbers, but they are believable.

Hidden Details: A Closer Look at Student Loan Default Rates Author:Erin Dillon

Publication Date:October 23, 2007

When U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings announced in September that the federal student loan default rate—the percentage of borrowers who fail to repay their government student loans—was 4.6 percent, the press didn't lift a pencil. The rate has hovered around 5 percent for years.

But a new report by the U.S. Department of Education's own National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reveals that student loan defaults are a far larger problem for some groups—particularly students of color and those who leave college with a lot of debt.

http://www.educationsector.org/analysis/analysis_show.htm?doc_id=559757

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jham88 May 23, 2010 @ 3:13 a.m.

As suggested by Surfpuppy619 I googled Erin Dillon and found the web site educationsector.org. There is an article titled "lowering student loan default rates". The date is 02/23/2010.

The whole article should be read by everyone on here and tell your friends too! lol. Here is the paragraph that clearly makes BPI nervous. It also appears to show that Congress has already seen the problem and is holding schools more accountable.

Surfpuppy619's #242 post has bits of the article but again everybody should read it. It looks like starting in 2014 Congress will hold universities more accountable for the high default rates

I am envisioning BPI execs and other scoundrels like them on there knees in front of Congress saying "please don't ruin us! Give us time to adjust." My attitude is "you guys knew what you were doing and manipulated our current laws which by process ruined the least of our citizens financials to bolster your own and we paid for it."

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Don Bauder May 23, 2010 @ 5:58 a.m.

Response to post #246: It goes to show that when you look behind statistics, some eye-popping facts stick out. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 23, 2010 @ 6:07 a.m.

Response to post #247: The article by Eliza Krigman is full of important information. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 May 24, 2010 @ 2:14 p.m.

I'm post #250...whooohohooo@!1111!!!!!!

Don, I know why you like Eliza Krigman.....she came from your alma mater, University of Wisconsin-Madison!!

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Don Bauder May 24, 2010 @ 9:25 p.m.

Response to post #250: I'll bet she wasn't there in the 1950s, when I was. Best, Don Bauder

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Psycholizard May 25, 2010 @ 12:24 a.m.

Surfpuppy101 is certainly a high point of American culture and the internet. Who knew that that Sorfpuppy could sire such a cheerful and fun loving litter, he seems disgruntled sometimes. I guess it's catty to note that they don't look like him. Those bitches are so public spirited.

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Don Bauder May 25, 2010 @ 6:15 a.m.

Response to post #252: It's a honor to have an Internet icon contributing to this blog. Best, Don Bauder

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Twister May 25, 2010 @ 9:42 p.m.

Re: 242

Some fraction of those figures must be from state-run institutions. They must carry their share of blame.

But all of this aside, the whole system of "higher" education needs thinking over. Time was, one got a bit of experience before getting a Ph.D.. State universities do their share of cranking out, shall we say, 900-day Wonders? So, they've written a thesis, maybe a dissertation, all aimed at "meeting requirements." No SEASONING.

Now why couldn't there be a system that seasons students all the way along, starting them out mopping floors and otherwise struggling a little or a lot, ending up at getting a Ph.D. or its equivalent by, say, age 40, having proved themselves to be outstanding enough for that title, all the while rising in their field and pay grade? The the "certifications" would be more acknowledgments of merit rather than "tickets to ride."

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Don Bauder May 26, 2010 @ 6:40 a.m.

Response to post #254: Of course, companies, the military, and other institutions encourage workers to get degrees, send them to seminars, etc. etc. I have run into a number of military officers who got advanced degrees, including PhDs, at the military's expense. Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, stressed students working for several periods while going through school for their degrees. Antioch is now defunct. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 May 26, 2010 @ 7:56 a.m.

State universities do their share of cranking out, shall we say, 900-day Wonders?

By Twister

I am surprised at Twister and this comment, and it has been echoed by others in this thread as well.

There seems to be a misconception that getting a degree from a state university is easy, or at least easier than private universities. My experience is the exact opposite-it is much harder to get a degree from a state supported university than a private one.

State universities get funding based on their enrollment, so the state schools have a financial incentive to keep students in their school for as long as possible, and they do this by adding in numerous tests and extra classes designed to keep students in the school.

The CSU and UC system are extremely hard to graduate from, and have numerous hurdles to jump over to get out, and it is far more competitive in their graduate level work/programs where just 20% graduate-as compared to just 25% of undergraduates (this using SDSU numbers). SDSU has about 10 joint PhD programs, the CSU system by design does not grant PhD's on it's own, only UC does. And to obtain a PhD from a UC campus is very difficult, certainly not in 900 days-or about 2 years. I would estimate the average PhD program at 4-5 years with 4.5 years being the mean time frame to graduate.

Very hard academics in CA in my opinion.

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CogSciGuy May 26, 2010 @ 8:31 a.m.

OIG draft audit of Bridgepoint was received 5/24 and announced today.

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Don Bauder May 26, 2010 @ 11:34 a.m.

Response to post #256: This statement should stir some controversy. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 26, 2010 @ 11:35 a.m.

Response to post #257: I'll check it out. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 26, 2010 @ 12:17 p.m.

OIG WANTS MORE INFORMATION: Bridgepoint Education received a draft audit report from the Department of Education's Office of Inspector General (OIG) today (May 26). In a news release, Bridgepoint said that the Office of Inspector General needs more information before it can determine whether or not Bridgepoint's Ashford University is out of compliance with the Higher Education Act in its "enrollment adviser" (essentially marketing) plan. I have heard but cannot confirm that the Office of Inspector General is now contacting former Bridgepoint employees. Again, that is not confirmed. Bridgepoint said in September 2009, the OIG auditors "communicated a tentative finding" that the plan was not in compliance. "The draft audit report indicates that the OIG could not determine whether Ashford University was in compliance with the [Higher Education Act] because the University did not provide sufficient documentation to support its compliance with the safe harbor permitting salary adjustment based in part on the security of enrollments." The OIG wants additional documentation and Bridgepoint says it will supply it. With an hour to go before the close, Bridgepoint stock was up almost 1% to $22.33, although the overall market is strong and Bridgepoint stock has been weak in recent sessions.

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Don Bauder May 26, 2010 @ 1:19 p.m.

NOTE: There was a late-day downdraft in the overall stock market today (May 26). After being up most of the day, Bridgepoint stock closed at $21.74, down 1.72% on the day. Like the rest of the market, it nosedived in the last half hour or so. I suspect that the OIG report had little or no effect on the stock. Best, Don Bauder

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Twister May 28, 2010 @ 5:52 p.m.

"Hard" is hardly the point, but I can see why it could be interpreted that way. UC can be highly political, and academic politics can be back-stabbing as well as nurturing. Still, the degree of difficulty should not be the point--COMPETENCE should be the point. I will not argue that UC and other universities "turn out" competent people, but that they have to jump a number of hurdles that are not relevant to competence.

I know of one case of a student who got a Masters at the CSU level, then had to repeat the entire Masters program at the UC level to get a Ph.D. This student unnecessarily incurred massive debt as a result, and only because of a sclerotic, tenured, department head who didn't know relevance from repetition. I know of another case of a student who endured so much stress that a colonoscopy was required, and the wearing of a lifetime plastic bag for feces. A lot of pretension, a lot of professing goes on at the university level that is wholly unnecessary. The present system is not merely a elitist system, it is a system that perpetuates itself as "job one," and refuses to self-examine. THAT'S the distinction--it's not that they don't hold most of the cards, it's that they DO hold most of the cards.

Are you saying that there's no room for improvement? Are you saying that universities adapt to changing conditions? Are you saying that the only highway to competence should be their way?

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jham88 May 28, 2010 @ 6:23 p.m.

In response to post #260. If the OIG contacts me I will tell my experiences. In fact maybe I should call them.... Do you have there phone number?

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Don Bauder May 28, 2010 @ 8:52 p.m.

Response to post #262: I think everyone agrees that there can be improvements in the CU and Cal State systems, and at other public universities throughout the world. Best, Don Bauder

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Twister May 29, 2010 @ 1:26 p.m.

Re: 264

That's not the point either. It's whether or not the needed change is SIGNIFICANT, that change is possible and reasonable, and whether or not institutional inertia keeps if from happening.

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Don Bauder May 29, 2010 @ 1:31 p.m.

Response to post #266: Put it all in context. There is a very strong chance that the economy in the U.S., Europe, and Japan will be exceedingly weak for several years. In the U.S., we may be looking at 1 or 2% growth a year. The universities will continue to be impacted. Best, Don Bauder

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Vanishes July 10, 2010 @ 1:24 p.m.

I don't really see how Bridgepoint is that much different from the local universities. The universities all depend on government funds, and as a UC graduate I feel they pulled ALL kinds of ridiculous tricks to keep as much of my grant/loan money as possible. I paid their high cost for my prestigious degree though in the end I feel I learned more from my community college and google than UC. So, were they not also, at times, faking it to make it?

Though I also work at Bridgepoint, and love my job, think its one thousand times better than the crappy retail job I used to work at. I was abused and paid little in retail. At Bridgepoint they treat me like a human.....

So, I'm bias.

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Twister April 18, 2011 @ 2:49 p.m.

RE:Re: 264

That's not the point either. It's whether or not the needed change is SIGNIFICANT, that change is possible and reasonable, and whether or not institutional inertia keeps if from happening.

By Twister 1:26 p.m., May 29, 2010 > Report it

[Post 267:] Response to post #266: Put it all in context. There is a very strong chance that the economy in the U.S., Europe, and Japan will be exceedingly weak for several years. In the U.S., we may be looking at 1 or 2% growth a year. The universities will continue to be impacted. Best, Don Bauder

By dbauder 1:31 p.m., May 29, 2010 >

Response of April 18, 2011:

Having had occasion to re-read this item, and realizing that I apparently missed Post 267, I must note that I'm puzzled that Don didn't seem to be responding to my point about significance. Of course "it" should all be in context, but I fail to see how the "weak economies" point relates to the "significance" point. Not all changes require money; some require less money. Or have I missed Don's point?

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AshfordStudent June 20, 2012 @ 11:31 a.m.

I started Ashford in late 2011, with 9 transferred credits from my prior military work that I completed in the past. Because I am prior military, I attend Ashford with reduced tuition costs, free books, no charge for a technical fee, and so on. My classes wind up costing me about $750.00 per class. Not one cent more. This is very helpful seeing how the VA pays for $718.00 of this and the rest are covered by my pell grants. In other words, I have little to no cost to me, for going back to school as prior service. I'm sure you can understand, why someone would not pass up that kind of opportunity! (Be realistic here folks, would you? I didn't think so.)

I have completed several classes at Ashford and maintained a 4.0 GPA.

Yes, the first class you complete is easy. It's stupid easy, but it does prepare you for the online classroom experience which is essential. After that, your classes start to become a little more challenging.

I only have two complaints about the school. Some of the tests/quizzes feel like their rigged. You'll have a question on there with more than one option as the right answer, and when you chose one, you're stuck praying that the instructor picked that one as the right answer and not the other choice that was also right. It almost feels at times you're set up to fail on the tests, but not very often. If you try to let the instructor know what happened, they'll either ignore it (if they don't want to be corrected by a student) or in my case they'll send you an email actually saying in so many words, "you may be right, and it may be stupid I agree, but what can you do?" that was the first time in my life I felt put off by instructor who couldn't care less. What she could have done was correct the graded mistake, but she didn't.

Another problem is the financial aid office. If you don't stay on top of them and badger them half to death, your paperwork will get screwed up and lost in the shuffle. So far in less than a year, I have had to call about 6 different discrepancies and try to sort everything out. Infact, right now I'm waiting on my financial aid advisor to call me about an issue that's popped up about her not submitting my paperwork to the VA to get my tuition for the upcoming school year rolling. But to be fair, almost all university financial aid offices across the country have these same nightmare stories.

All in all, my experience with Ashford has been a good one. To be honest, it highly offends me when people want to look at me like I'm stupid for letting them know that I go to school online and will hold my diploma in the same reguard as a diploma from any, "brick and mortar," school. Just because I am going to school online doesn't mean I'm stupid, ignorant or some poor soul from the south who's too stupid to go to a, "real school." I'm just like anyone else, trying to get a quailty education with hopes of getting a decent job after college.

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