Jeff Smith noon, Sept. 16
NY Times Questions For-Profit Colleges' Exploitation of Veterans. Bridgepoint Criticized
Today's (Dec. 9) New York Times has a front-page story challenging how for-profit colleges exploit special benefits given veterans. San Diego-based Bridgepoint Education comes in for strong criticism. The story notes that since Congress jacked up tuition payments to veterans in 2008 (called the Post 9/11 GI Bill), more than 36 percent of the payments went to for profit-colleges. Interviewees described high-pressure sales tactics used by these companies to enroll veterans getting benefits. The story notes that the number of veterans enrolled at San Diego's Bridgepoint rose to 9,200 in 2009 from 379 three years earlier. "We know they are going to pay, that they had a guaranteed way to get money," a former recruiter for Bridgepoint's Ashford University said. The story points out that Bridgepoint last year spent more on marketing and promotion than on education for its 53,700 students, almost all of whom take classes online. Bridgepoint has been under investigation of the Department of Education on similar marketing-related questions.