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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.

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Comments

SurfPuppy619 Dec. 9, 2010 @ 10:27 p.m.

The story points out that Bridgepoint last year spent more on marketing and promotion

Fraud. Straight up fraud.

90%+ of these loans will default.

The Bridgepoint shareholders and executives will be long gone with the millions of taxpayer dolalrs that were spent on a useless education from these fraudsters.

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Don Bauder Dec. 10, 2010 @ 7:04 a.m.

The Times story points out that many of those recruiting students openly call themselves salesmen. Actually, that's a euphemism. Many are simply telemarketers. Best, Don Bauder

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Founder Dec. 10, 2010 @ 7:55 a.m.

Education has become a business that promises "placement assistance" yet actually only excels at placing Student money into the pockets of the School or College. These "Institutions" should be required to disclose the number of students that have actually gotten jobs that have lasted more than 2 years and also the number of students that have graduated and are now in big debt without a job despite their course work...

A truth in lending type statement, should be required for all Institutions, and would identify all those that are actually just scams ...

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Don Bauder Dec. 10, 2010 @ 10:11 a.m.

Both Congress and the Department of Education are trying to get answers to your questions, which are very perspicacious ones. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 Dec. 10, 2010 @ 11:14 a.m.

These so called institutions should be REQUIRED to carry and keep all the paper they write.

They can be the ones holding the loan debts-not US taxpayers.

Of course then the scam would be up.

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Don Bauder Dec. 10, 2010 @ 11:28 a.m.

But wouldn't you feel sorry for all those stockholders whose investment in for-profit colleges would dry up? I wouldn't. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Dec. 10, 2010 @ 3:08 p.m.

SurfPuppy is a problem solver. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 Dec. 10, 2010 @ 8:04 p.m.

Today education has turned into a huge multi billion dollar scam, with these so called colleges of higher education feasting on the ignorant and poor-like this article points out- so they can milk and fleece the student loan system and taxpayers.

The student loan industry is a scam from head to toe today-it is going to be the next subprime mortgage meltdown.

It is funny, becuase I am working on an appeal right now-tonight- finishing it up actually-that is going to the US Supreme Court tommorrow on this very issue. And my stupid computer is goofing on me-what a time to have tech problems. It never fails though, if I get a computer problem it is right before some big project is due.

Al Lord, the CEO of Sallie Mae-another fraudulent student loan company- cleared $400 million in one year a few years back. That is outrageous.

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Don Bauder Dec. 10, 2010 @ 10:43 p.m.

You are right on several counts. The most significant: student loans will be the next subprime mortgage crisis. The odds are good. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Dec. 11, 2010 @ 8:50 a.m.

Did this post mistakenly get placed here? Best, Don Bauder

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NastyMcBlasty Dec. 11, 2010 @ 2:45 p.m.

The points here are being made with a lot of assumptions. The bottom line is, there is nothing inherently wrong with the concept of online or for-profit colleges, although it is becoming increasingly common to assume that when you here "for-profit" or "online" school, it is a scam or a rip-off.

For the right person, the opportunity presented by these online, for-profit colleges is a god-send. For many busy adults, it is the only way they are able to budget the time for school into their schedules. Like so many other things in the world, it is not so much about what the schools are doing, but HOW they do it.

If done ethically, these advisers (or sales people, telemarketers, recruiters, whatever you want to call them...) actually DO help these people interested in bettering their lives through education. Obviously, not everyone is a good candidate for school. An ethical adviser will be honest and upfront with a student about whether the programs have the chance to benefit the student or not, and sets accurate expectations as to what it will take for the student be successful.

Is every adviser operating under the right ethical framework to ensure that the students they work with are benefiting from their assistance? No. But I can tell you this. The policies and procedures put in place within Bridgepoint are structured to ensure that each adviser is held accountable to their practices. An ethical approach is not only the message being repeated to all employees, it is a requirement. Those operating below anything but the highest ethical practices do not have a long or bright future at Bridgepoint. I know, because I have been an employee with them for over 2 years now.

If every for-profit school operated under the strict ethical rules that are enforced at Bridgepoint, there would be less problems arising around this subject, and probably nothing too news worthy to report on. If you want to target schools who are really making the problems, take a look at some of the bigger names out there. You know the ones. They loop commercials incessantly on your television, telling you about how you can go to school AND get a free laptop!

Of course, none of those schools are based out of San Diego, so there would be no "hot-button" subject matter with local significance for Mr. Bauder to write about, and he'd be looking elsewhere to find his story. Hmm...makes me wonder - what else is going on in San Diego that might be lumped into a bigger story of actual significance? A little watery research and some unjustified claims, I'm sure there are tons of stories out there to be "repored" on. Which is exactly with Mr. Bauder should have a long and busy career doing what he does.

I will tell you this: I did take one valuable lesson from this article: Approach any claims Mr. Bauder makes with a healthy dose of skepticism and more than your daily allowance in grains of salt. Good day.

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SurfPuppy619 Dec. 11, 2010 @ 4:52 p.m.

NartymcBlasty-I like your handle name!

But that is all I like about you. You're obviously a sock puppet for Bridgepoint and the rest of these fraudsters, no two ways around it.

These schools are frauds. And I do not limit it to "for profit" schools at all, nearly all the ABA law schools in this country are "non profits" and I would say at least 75% of there are frauds also. Heck, even the NFL-the “King of Frauds”- is a "non profit".

Bottom line is these scam schools should be forced to carry any paper they write for THEIR school loans, that would clear up their worth in about 1 semester.

When 50%+ of the loans being written for these frauds default then the school should be shut down. In fact if 20% default they should be shut down.

Why do you think the stock on these scam schools are falling like 500# anchors?????

User profile: NastyMcBlasty Joined: Dec. 11, 2010 Comments posted: 1

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Don Bauder Dec. 11, 2010 @ 9 p.m.

Stocks of the for-profit colleges had an inordinately frothy ride up, and are now settling back down. These schools enroll 11% of students, roughly, and are responsible for more than 40% of defaults. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Dec. 11, 2010 @ 8:56 p.m.

Thank you for saying that I will have a "long and busy career." I have been working in the media for 50 years and working in financial journalism for 46 years. I love what I do, but at my age (74), I doubt that I have another 50 years in me. That should make Bridgepoint happy. I hope you have a successful career there. Best, Don Bauder

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freetrashypaper Dec. 11, 2010 @ 4:07 p.m.

"Enrollment advisers" aka bloated salesmen are nothing but that. They don't care about any individual student nor their interests. They only care about their monthly sales quotas. In addition, a lot of these 'enrollment advisers' are lacking in College education themselves. They have no experience attending a real College on a real campus to understand the dynamic and the importance of a classroom setting as opposed to a virtual class.

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Don Bauder Dec. 11, 2010 @ 9:02 p.m.

Most of them are telemarketers. Many had been peddling mortgages before being hired to recruit students. Best, Don Bauder

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concernedcitizen77 Dec. 22, 2010 @ 10:27 p.m.

Most of these online diploma mills are a waste of time and money. They charge students full tilt tuition for information they could get for free online or pay $20.00-30.00 for a do it yourself book that teaches the student more than these fraudsters.

The instructors are each assigned thousands of students to "teach and advise" it is a pathetic joke and an impossible task.

The degrees offered are not worth the paper they are printed on and graduates will find that out when they apply for and interview for the better jobs which they will be screened out of or turned down for.

These online schools are just a blatant ripoff of the Federal and State student loan programs. They get together as a special iinterest group and hire an army of lobbyists and lawyers and bamboozle the so called "free market advocates" in Congress into ttaking a "hands off approach" to their scams.

They know that Congress will only act when the proverbial horse manure hits the fan, so they figure they will cart off as many millions as they can before Congress "catches on to the scam and bans their practices.

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SurfPuppy619 Dec. 22, 2010 @ 11:11 p.m.

These online schools are just a blatant ripoff of the Federal and State student loan programs. They get together as a special iinterest group and hire an army of lobbyists and lawyers and bamboozle the so called "free market advocates" in Congress into ttaking a "hands off approach" to their scams.

They know that Congress will only act when the proverbial horse manure hits the fan, so they figure they will cart off as many millions as they can before Congress "catches on to the scam and bans their practices.

======================== Good post, the manure is now hitting the fan.

There was a very good documentary on CNBC last night-and it said the same thing everyone else has said who is in the know of these scams-these so called schools are running scams.

. http://www.newsonnews.net/cnbc/6349-cnbc-to-air-documentary-focusing-on-america-s-college-debt-crisis.html .

. http://www.cnbc.com/id/39911910/ .

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jBu88 April 10, 2012 @ 7:47 p.m.

I'm growing tired of people polluting this discourse on for-profit education with thinly veiled opinion-based arguments. It's fine that you dislike for-profit education. I get it. It just feels like a bad thing. I want you to know I have no qualms about that. You have the right to feel icky about things. Ickiness is the substance of life. But ickiness does not hold substance for making adult conversation. I repeat, do not think for one second that your opinions have a place among this discourse. I'm not looking for analogies. I'm not looking for anecdotal evidence. I don't want the opinion of some anonymous ex-employee. I'm looking for hard facts on the issue. I want numbers. I want to know about the more than 60% percent drop-out rate for various degree programs at Ashford Universtiy NYTimes. I then want to compare that data to comparable school systems, such as non-profit state educationThe CCO. That way, I can draw my own conclusions, or better yet, I can read good press that utilizes these numbers or other objective information to make a substantial argument (after all, journalists are paid to be great writers and thinkers - I'm not). Analogies and anecdotal evidence are subject to the pressure of mis-information and bias. These tactics do not help critical thinkers form substantial conclusions.

If you want to make the argument that federal aid should be prohibited from passing through the for-profit sector, great! Let's have that discussion. I think it's a good one - and it will require more evidence and research. I re-read this article while mentally replacing Bridgepoint with UC San Diego and suddenly there were parts that didn't line up. That's because it opens with the premise that Bridgepoint is bad, for-profit is bad, and that high-pressure persuasion is bad. I'm a advocate for the ethical requirement that the student's interests come first in education. That is why I would like to know if there was a breach in ethics by citing an investigation into these claims that high-persuasive tactics were used, or what "high-persuasion" means, or even that this is unique among for-profit schools.

These are fine opinions to hold, but I already have plenty of opinions of my own. What I'm looking for is information. Good information.

(To be fair, the San Diego Reader might not be the kind of publication I'm looking for. However, I found this link in one of the top results from google when searching this issue. That's why I mention discourse. I want us talking about the facts. If there is a problem with for-profit education or bridgepoint, let's get the healthy articles to the top results and leave this fluff for those who need to entertain their own pre-inclinations, or better yet - leave it unsaid).

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