Dr. Michael Clifford of Rancho Santa Fe, the oft-quoted and celebrated financier of for-profit universities, has dropped out of the business. On his website, he lashes out at the "unfair and hostile attacks on financial sponsors of for-profit education by the United States government."
Then, he writes, "Our family has completely exited the for-profit education sector due to the unconstitutional treatment of the United States government toward this particular business segment in America." (Clifford did not attend college but got the "Dr." title as a result of an honorary degree. Clifford makes much of being a born-again Christian and often finances religious schools.)
As reported by the Reader, Clifford has suffered some setbacks in recent years. He bought a Christian college in Memphis and renamed it Victory University. But it got into accreditation difficulty and in March of this year closed down.
He founded American Way Education, which owned Los Angeles College International, which shut down in late 2012. He had significant equity in Chula Vista's United States University, which has also had accreditation problems. He was a cofounder of the predecessor of San Diego's controversial Bridgepoint University, which has had difficulties with accreditors, state governments, and the federal government. Its financial results have slumped in recent quarters.
His note was posted on his website June 20, but I cannot find that other media have picked up the story.
In an email, I asked Clifford several questions, such as whether he had debt and financial loss problems. His response: "Get lost...you are a dishonest journalist." The only previous time I communicated with him was by phone; as soon as I asked some tough questions, he uttered some pejoratives and hung up.