The U-T ran a photo of their new building with the "Bridgepoint" signage removed.
  • The U-T ran a photo of their new building with the "Bridgepoint" signage removed.
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Bridgepoint Education, San Diego’s troubled and controversial for-profit education company, on March 13 said it will split into two parts — and one part will be non-profit. Bridgepoint’s Ashford University and University of the Rockies will merge with the expectation of going non-profit.

Bridgepoint will become a publicly-traded Online Program Management company.

Although Bridgeport now considers itself a for-profit enterprise, it has been acting more like a negative-profit one. Bridgepoint lost $70 million in 2015 and $30 million in 2016, before attaining a profit of $10.5 million last year.

In dividing the company, Bridgepoint is following industry trends. Grand Canyon University plans to become a nonprofit and Purdue University, a major nonprofit, bought the struggling Kaplan University, a for-profit. Also, there have been spectacular failures among for-profits: Corinthian Colleges and ITT Technical Institute failed ignominously in recent years, “while other big for-profits merged, went private, or concentrated more on offerings in other countries,” says Inside Higher Ed.

“The structures of for-profit conversions have been controversial,” says Inside Higher Ed. “The Century Foundation, for example, has criticized some of these moves as being attempted by for-profit owners to escape federal regulations."

Bridgepoint Education was a high-flying stock until the Obama administration cracked down on for-profits. Students paid more than at non-profits, carried inordinately high debts, and couldn’t get jobs if they graduated. (In Bridgepoint’s case, a disappointing percentage actually graduated.)

Bridgepoint has been sued by several states and is still under federal investigation. Late last year, California sued Ashford, accusing it of unlawful marketing, sales and debt collection practices. “Ashford University preyed on veterans and people of modest means. This for-profit college illegally misled students about their educational prospects and unfairly saddled them with debt,” said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra in announcing the charges.

In a sense, the big changes among the for-profits is a surprise. When Donald Trump was elected, the stocks of the for-profit companies soared. Both Trump and his Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos are sympathetic to for-profit universities, which were expected to thrive iin the Trump years.

Bridgepoint’s plans of a split have to be approved by state and federal regulators and Ashford’s accreditation operation.

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Comments

dwbat March 15, 2018 @ 9:40 a.m.

The Union-Tribune has their name on that building now. Who knows how long that will last!

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Don Bauder March 15, 2018 @ 12:43 p.m.

dwbat: The U-T's average daily print circulation was 121,000 as of last October. That's in a market of 3.3 million. That average daily print circulation number has been falling steadily. The question is how well the company is doing online. Other dailies have not yet figured out how to make money online. Has the U-T? If it hasn't, your question may be more relevant than ever. Best, Don Bauder

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dwbat March 15, 2018 @ 1:34 p.m.

The U-T had leased 4 floors (for 15 years) at 600 B Street, but are now down to 2 floors. They should have just bought or leased some old Quonset huts instead. They would have saved a bundle. Newspapers today don't need to occupy a fancy high-rise building.

None

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Don Bauder March 15, 2018 @ 3:39 p.m.

dwbat: You know more than I do about the U-T, apparently, and I worked there 30 years and still have sources there. I didn't know they are down to two floors, and will take your word for it. Best, Don Bauder

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dwbat March 15, 2018 @ 7 p.m.

Well, I guess I'm wrong, although I sure thought I read somewhere they had subleased 2 floors. But the READER said last year it was only one floor (the 9th): http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/20...

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Don Bauder March 15, 2018 @ 9:16 p.m.

dwbat: I will do some checking. Best, Don

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Visduh March 15, 2018 @ 4:31 p.m.

This new owner of the LAT and U-T must think that newspapers are or can be profitable. He paid a half billion bucks for them, and you don't do that for ego, or at least I wouldn't think so. But with the shrunken circulation of both papers, they have to make it elsewhere, and that would be on line. So, that's the question: are they making a profit with on-line subscribers?

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Don Bauder March 15, 2018 @ 9:18 p.m.

Visduh: I don't know if tronc broke out the online success or non-success of the LA Times while it was under tronc's wing. Probably not. But it's worth a stab. Best, Don Bauder

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SportsFan0000 March 15, 2018 @ 2:33 p.m.

Damn! Missed opportunity! I thought for sure that Bridge point would merge with Trump University and sublease office space in some strip mall next to a strip club...

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Don Bauder March 15, 2018 @ 3:47 p.m.

SportsFan0000: Bridgepoint would seem to have one advantage: it has been in the online education business for some time. Its online operation will provide services to Ashford if the deal goes through, and supposedly it will pick up other businesses. But Bridgepoint has a huge disadvantage: its dubious reputation. It is under investigation by the feds and states, and is battling lawsuits.

However, Kaplan had a poor reputation, too, and Purdue University, a very good school, is willing to tap Kaplan's online expertise. Best, Don Bauder

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Visduh March 15, 2018 @ 4:13 p.m.

This is just one of many episodes of the unwinding of the for-profit education mill industry. The word does finally get out, and when the president of the newest veterans organization of Afghanistan and Iraq veterans said that BS was a fraud, it didn't help them get veterans to come flocking. The word does get out, and things adjust. This won't put the for-profit fraudsters out of business, but they sure don't have a growth industry any more. Trump hasn't bailed them out, De Vos won't be able to do it singlehandedly, etc. It's about time!

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Don Bauder March 15, 2018 @ 9:22 p.m.

Visduh: I agree. The for-profit universities are almost uniformly bad. They charge too much, saddle students with too much debt, recruit students who don't belong in college (like brain-damaged veterans), and their graduates can't get jobs. What's more, they do it with federal taxpayer money. It's not getting any better. Best, Don Bauder

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AlexClarke March 16, 2018 @ 5:30 p.m.

Without newspapers what will we use for the bottom of bird cages?

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Don Bauder March 17, 2018 @ 7:25 a.m.

Ponzi: And at the same time, you can put multiple photos of Stormy Daniels in your parlor. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 17, 2018 @ 12:53 p.m.

AlexClarke: The Donald did not check with his wife, who had just had a baby, when he allegedly took up with Stormy. Best, Don Bauder

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dwbat March 17, 2018 @ 1:32 p.m.

Stormy weather clouds are continuing to gather over the White House. And bluster and threats can't blow them away.

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Don Bauder March 17, 2018 @ 7:22 a.m.

AlexClarke: I have always said that my columns, when placed at the bottom of bird cages, do wonders in stopping canary constipation. Best, Don Bauder

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dwbat March 18, 2018 @ 8:02 a.m.

That's good to hear. Canary constipation is one of those little noticed but serious problems that the govt. is not trying to improve.

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Don Bauder March 18, 2018 @ 9:49 a.m.

dwbat: If the government hires me to cure canary constipation, that would mark my only employment with the government, except my duty in the National Guard and my job with the street and sewer department when I was in high school. Best, Don Bauder

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