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Salon.com has an excellent article dated June 9: "Young, black and buried in debt: How for-profit colleges prey on African-American ambition." Black college enrollment soared 35% between 2003 and 2009, almost twice the rate of white college enrollment, says the publication. "Between 2004 and 2010, black enrollment in for-profit bachelor's programs grew by a whopping 264%, compared to a a 24% increase in black enrollment in public four-year programs, " says the article. But this headlong rush has led to young people "finding themselves ripe for the con man's picking. They've landed, disproportionately, at for-profit schools, rather than at far less expensive public community colleges or at public universities. And that means they have found themselves loaded with unimaginable debt, with little to show for it, while a small group of financial players have made a great deal of money."

The two top producers of black graduates in 2011 were the University of Phoenix (whose publicly traded parent is Apollo Group) and Ashford University (whose publicly traded parent is San Diego's Bridgepoint Education.) Ashford accounts for almost all of Bridgepoint.

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Comments

aardvark June 13, 2013 @ 5:13 p.m.

And now, I see a story that broke on Monday says that Ashford University has laid off 450 people, almost all of which are in the San Diego area. Most of them were "recruiters". Interesting...

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Don Bauder June 13, 2013 @ 5:58 p.m.

aardvark: Damn. Some other publication apparently got that story first. I was tipped that there would be big layoffs but couldn't pin it down. Best, Don Bauder

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SDblondie June 15, 2013 @ 6:49 a.m.

I have to correct you on that one. None of the 450 were recruiters. The voluntary separation package was not offered to ANY of the admissions staff and Ashford is actively hiring more recruiters. Even more interesting....

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Don Bauder June 15, 2013 @ 7 a.m.

SDblondie: Employees in admission are apparently exempt -- ditto faculty. Best, Don Bauder

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SDblondie June 16, 2013 @ 6:04 p.m.

They most certainly are/were. I find it fascinating that they are actively recruiting more admissions staff. Apparently you can't teach an old dog new tricks.

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Don Bauder June 16, 2013 @ 7:57 p.m.

SDblondie: Historically, Bridgepoint has spent much more on recruiting students than it has spent on educating them. Best, Don Bauder

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Visduh June 14, 2013 @ 2:57 p.m.

At least the Univ of Phoenix and Ashford are producing black grads. The real tragedy is when the students go deeply in debt and don't finish a program and don't ever get a degree. Those degrees may be nearly worthless in the job market, but they're still better than not getting anything at all.

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Don Bauder June 14, 2013 @ 6:50 p.m.

Visduh: Ashford actually has a horrible dropout rate. According to a U.S. Senate study in 2010, almost two-thirds of bachelor's degree students had dropped out, and 84.4% of two-year students had quit.. And as you point out, they are stuck with a bundle of debt and no degree. Even if they graduate, they are not likely to get jobs. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder June 14, 2013 @ 7:08 p.m.

ASHFORD ANNOUNCES LAYOFF PROGRAM. Ashford University, which is almost all of San Diego's for-profit Bridgepoint Education, today (June 14) announced what it calls a voluntary layoff program. The company wants to align the size of its staff with enrollment. Over the last year, enrollment has dropped from almost 95,000 to about 79,000. Revenue and profits have also declined. Faculty and some other departments are exempt from the voluntary layoffs. Those accepting the layoffs will get three months of severance, according to media reports. Best, Don Bauder

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Burwell June 15, 2013 @ 11:21 a.m.

Many in the investment community are acting as if they expect Bridgepoint stock to go up soon. Hedge funds are buying Bridgepoint at depressed prices. I think Congress is going to change the law soon and allow student loan debtors to file bankruptcy and walk on their loans. If that happens, Bridgepoint stock is going to zoom. I think the hedge funds know the law will change, and may even orchestrate the change behind the scenes in Congress in order to make their profit.

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Don Bauder June 15, 2013 @ 7:46 p.m.

Burwell: This has been the history of Bridgepoint stock. There is always a very heavy short position. When the government comes out with regulation that is softer than the market expects, the shorts rush to cover, pushing the stock much higher. Of course, there is another factor now. Bridgepoint's Ashford University, which accounts for almost all its volume, is in danger of losing accreditation. If that happened, the company would collapse. On the other hand, if the company got accreditation, the threat would be removed, shorts would cover in panic, and the stock would soar. Best, Don Bauder

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