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Caveat Emptor Replaces Student Support at USDOE

May 14, 2018

Today’s NYTimes has a lengthy article in today’s paper on the unwinding of a special team of USDOE investigators who were aggressively pursuing profiteers preying on unwitting students seeking to better their lot in life by getting college degrees. Among the for-profit enterprises under investigation for misleading college applicants was DeVry Education Group. Those investigations were recently suspended, which should come as no surprise since Secretary of Education DeVos has appointed a former dean at DeVry, as the team’s new supervisor. But it doesn’t end there:

In addition to DeVry, now known as Adtalem Global Education, investigations into Bridgepoint Education and Career Education Corporation, which also operate large for-profit colleges, went dark.

Former employees of those institutions now work for Ms. DeVos as well, including Robert S. Eitel, her senior counselor, and Diane Auer Jones, a senior adviser on postsecondary education. Last month, Congress confirmed the appointment of a lawyer who provided consulting services to Career Education, Carlos G. Muñiz, as the department’s general counsel.

The USDOE’s decision to change it’s priorities away from aggressively investigating for profits has nothing to do with Ms DeVos’ appointments…. at least that’s what the USDOE’s communications team  reports:

Elizabeth Hill, a spokeswoman for the Education Department, attributed the reduction of the group to attrition and said that “conducting investigations is but one way the investigations team contributes to the department’s broad effort to provide oversight.” She said that none of the new employees who had previously worked in the for-profit education industry had influenced the unit’s work.

She also said the team’s deployment on student loan forgiveness applications was an “operational decision” that “neither points to a curtailment of our school oversight efforts nor indicates a conscious effort to ignore ‘large-scale’ investigations.”

As is always true in politics and life, actions speak louder than words… and the actions make it abundantly clear that a curtailment is underway and the students enticed to take out loans by false advertisements are the ones who will suffer.

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