All posts by Goldie Blumenstyk


Could a Gainful-Employment Rule Have Helped Corinthian’s Students?

With the fate of Corinthian Colleges Inc.’s 75,000-plus students now up in the air, a student-advocacy group says that many of them could have been protected from the coming upheaval if a strong “gainful employment” rule had been in effect.

The Institute for College Access and Success had previously identified 114 career-focused programs where more students default on their loans than graduate. This week, in a seize-the-moment move, the organization noted that 25 of those 114 were part of instit…


Death of ‘Patent Troll’ Bill Is Mixed Blessing for Research Universities

Congress now seems unlikely this year to pass patent-reform legislation aimed at controlling so-called patent trolls. That’s both good news and bad news for the research universities that have been in the thick of the debate.

The bad news, according to John C. Vaughn, executive vice president of the Association of American Universities, is that there will be no new law, yet “there is a problem out there to be solved.” The good news, he says, is that proposals being pushed by the computer and inf…


U. of Phoenix Lectures by Clayton Christensen Redefine ‘Model Students’

Disruption models

When Clayton M. Christensen spoke to an audience of liberal-arts-college officials in New York this month about the ways “disrupters” could use the advantages of distance education to upend higher education as we know it, he made his point with an example from his own experience with the University of Phoenix.

In 2011, Phoenix asked him to deliver some 90-minute lectures on innovation and other business principles. Rather than hold them where he teaches, at Harvard Business School, Phoenix rent…


Advocates for a Tougher ‘Gainful Employment’ Rule Step Into the Fray


Organizers from Young Invincibles who visited for-profit colleges on Tuesday saw firsthand some of the EDMC posters opposing the gainful-employment regulation hanging at an Art Institute campus in Washington. (Young Invincibles)

Student groups, veterans organizations, and others who want the federal government to put more teeth into its newest proposed “gainful employment” regulation are launching a visible lobbying and public-relations effort over the measure this week. There’s a Twitter campai…


Penn State’s Patent Auction Produces More Lessons Than Revenue

Last month Pennsylvania State University held an auction to sell dozens of engineering patents to the highest bidder, setting off speculation on whether the move would produce a financial windfall for the university. It also stirred consternation among some in the world of academic research, who feared the auction might create easy pickings for businesses known as “patent-assertion entities.” Such entities, also known as patent trolls or nonpracticing entities, scoop up rights to patents and the…


New Adjunct-Focused Venture Wins Approval to Offer Courses

A new for-profit education organization, designed to give more academic and financial control to the adjunct instructors who teach its online courses, has just won approval from the state of Vermont to operate.

The Vermont State Board of Education’s approval of Oplerno (the company’s name stands for “open learning organization”) means that its courses can qualify for credit at colleges and universities, at the institutions’ discretion.

Robert Skiff, the entrepreneur behind Oplerno, says he plans…


New Data Shed Light on Use of PLUS Loans and Controversial Loan Denials

Washington — Colleges that have complained that the U.S. Department of Education has been too strict in denying PLUS loans to their students now have a little better picture of the reason for those denials. And policy advocates who say the rules still allow overborrowing by students and families who may not be able to repay the loans may have some new talking points, too.

Data released by the department on Wednesday show that nearly 70 percent of all PLUS-loan applications initially rejected in …


ACE Report Reiterates Opposition to Proposed College-Ratings Plan

The American Council on Education, which has made no secret of its dislike for the Obama administration’s plan to create a new ratings system for colleges, has released a report offering new grounds for its opposition.

Among them: findings from the recent Freshman Survey that show that students, particularly those from low-income homes, don’t rely heavily on ratings or rankings when choosing a college.

The report, an issue brief titled “Rankings, Institutional Behavior, and College and Universit…


For-Profit Colleges Add $20-Billion to Economy, Trade Group Says

Washington — The Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities has released an analysis that says for-profit colleges have a direct impact of about $20-billion on the United States economy.

The analysis was released as some 200 officials of for-profit colleges, students, and employers of the colleges’ graduates are gathering here for a three-day lobbying push on Capitol Hill against tighter regulation. The analysis, prepared by John Dunham and Associates, also includes localized repor…


Government Investigations and Suits Against For-Profit Colleges: the Grid

With the announcement on Wednesday by New Mexico’s attorney general, Gary King, that his office was suing ITT Educational Services over alleged misrepresentations to nursing students, a total of 22 state attorneys general are now known to be investigating or suing for-profit-college companies.

Several federal agencies, including the Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (which also announced a lawsuit against ITT this week), and t…