As noted here (and elsewhere), a congressional report on the for-profit college sector was released last week.
Todd Eicher, President of CUnet, offered a perspective on what the report says some for-profit colleges get right. From Eicher:
Those of us in the for-profit sector have already seen – and responded to – many of these criticisms. In fact, much of the data presented in the report was released well over a year ago, and has driven huge changes in our sector over the past 18 months. From clearer language in school advertising to comprehensive monitoring of recruitment practices, schools and their partners have invested a great deal of time, expense, and effort to ensure that prospective students receive the information they need to make educated decisions before embarking upon a higher education program.
The report also presented some positive findings – most of which did not make the mainstream media coverage. It was great to hear Senator Harkin, in his press conference this week, noting that in order to meet President Obama’s goal to have every American adult spend at least some time in higher education, for-profit colleges and universities must play a critical role. Specifically, he noted that the for-profit sector is unique in its ability to meet the demands of the growing number of non-traditional students seeking higher education (which Harkin estimates at 73 percent of all students).
The Senator also actively complimented a number of schools like Strayer, Walden, American Public University, and National American University, and he noted the impressive changes he has seen among schools like Kaplan, Apollo and Devry, who have shown dedication and commitment to improving student outcomes. As a partner to nearly all of these schools, we were very pleased to see their efforts recognized.
As we review and consider the findings of this report, there is no question that there is still work to be done. The for-profit sector must continue to provide access to educational offerings that drive better outcomes, and don’t leave students strapped with unnecessary debt.
For our part, as a provider of products and services for recruitment marketers, this report reinforces our commitment to that end, and to ensuring compliant marketing practices. We are making ongoing investments in products that help schools to reach and recruit the right students, and we will continue to promote the highest standards of ethics in recruitment practices.