Posted: 07/29/14 15:28
by Dave Mindeman
John Kline continues to avoid any intense scrutiny of his questionable donor base and his actions that benefit them directly. The ongoing assumption is that John Kline will get reelected and continue to control the futures of our students. Politico (in the middle of the article) did a blurb about the CD2 race and mentioned the following:
Education interests are Kline's biggest overall donors, accounting for $194,000 in donations so far this cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. University of Phoenix owner Apollo Education Group is a top Kline contributor, having donated $19,100 so far this cycle. Other edu donors to Kline's campaign include: Globe University ($11,400), Herzing University ($10,400), Education Affiliates ($10,200), NelNet Inc. ($10,000), Capella Education ($5,600), Rasmussen College ($5,200) and Corinthian College ($5,000)."
But that list should be troubling to anyone who takes education policy seriously. It is a "Black List" of federal loan waste. It is a garbage dump for student loan defaults. I list each one of these donors with a quote and a link that gives a brief indication of why Kline's connection with these donors leaves the 2nd Congressional District with tainted representation. Look at the articles and see for yourself:
Univ. of Phoenix - The San Diego campus's overall graduation rate is under 15 percent, according to the federal Department of Education, and more than a quarter of students there default on their loans within three years of leaving school. No one from any state or federal government agency knows how many veterans who go to school on the GI Bill graduate or find jobs.
Globe University - Minnesota's Attorney General has filed a lawsuit against the Minnesota School of Business and Globe University--two for-profit schools that operate under the Globe Education Network umbrella--alleging that they misled some students, leaving them burdened with debt but without the means to repay it.
Herzing University - Herzing University was one of the 30 for-profits examined in the Harkin report. And while the company wasn't singled out for egregious actions, it also wasn't among the handful of colleges praised by (Senator)Harkin for generally rising above problems highlighted in the report.
Education Affiliates - Hearings from the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee, as well as an investigation by the Government Accountability Office, found misleading and questionable practices at 15 schools during an undercover investigation. These include Kaplan College in Pembroke Pines, which has suspended enrollment of new students, and MedVance in Miami.....Officials from MedVance, owned by Baltimore-based Education Affiliates, could not be reached, despite calls to its headquarters. Kaplan officials would only say they would cooperate with the investigation.
NelNet - The lender has been riddled with controversy; in 2006, Inside Higher Ed reported that NelNet had overcharged the government about a billion dollars. (They settled in 2010 for $55 million to resolve a whistle-blower lawsuit -- which also targeted Sallie Mae.) "Amidst revelations this spring of industry wide kickbacks, improper inducements, and gifts from student loan providers to colleges and universities, Nelnet quickly shut down a Nebraska investigation into its activities by agreeing to provide $1 million to the state in support of a national financial aid awareness campaign.
Capella University - The university recently joined the long list of publicly traded education companies hit with class-action lawsuits filed on behalf of angry shareholders. The Police Pension Fund of Peoria has filed suit in U.S. District Court for Minnesota, claiming that the company misled investors about its business practices in order to inflate the price of its stock. "The company had been engaging in abusive and fraudulent recruiting and financial aid lending practices, thereby increasing Capella's student enrollment and revenues," the suit claims.
Rasmussen College - "Like many others in the sector, Rasmussen's enrollment increased rapidly over the past decade.
Much of this growth came after the company's 2003 acquisition by the private equity company Frontenac. Additionally, Rasmussen has received increasing amounts of Federal financial aid dollars, at least $185 million in 2010, and realized significant increases in profit. However, the company's programs are costly and students attending Rasmussen have some of the worst retention rates of any company examined by the committee, with more than 63 percent of students leaving with no degree. While Rasmussen has made some minor improvements, including an orientation program, and makes a greater investment in spending on instruction and student services than many for-profit colleges examined, it is unclear whether taxpayers or students are obtaining value from their investment in the company."
And now, Rasmussen College is a public benefit corporation. This is exactly the type of "whitewashing" or "greenwashing" that lawyers and scholars predicted would occur as the benefit corporation legislation has been passed into law in 19 states and the District of Columbia. Any company can become a public benefit corporation; and the public benefit produced is only enforceable by shareholders.
Corinthian College - Since for-profit juggernaut Corinthian Colleges (COCO) announced it was shutting down or selling its 97 U.S.-based schools this month, the fate of its 72,000 enrolled students has been the subject of speculation. Not much has been said about a much larger group of Corinthian students: the hundreds of thousands of people who already paid for a degree from the company.
Thanks to a quirk in federal law, only a sliver of students can get their debt forgiven when owed to a school that shuts down. Students are obliged to pay off student loans to a shuttered school unless they were attending class within 120 days of the school's closing. This means that most everyone who graduated with student debt more than four months ago from Corinthian--which is closing amidst accusations by California's attorney general that it deceived students and falsified job placement records--is left with a degree of dubious value and loans that will be virtually impossible to discharge.
Why doesn't the media ask John Kline the questions?
Why did he gavel down an attempt to close the loophole on including GI Student loans for the 90/10 rule which would make these For-Profit schools more accountable?
How does John Kline justify the concerns about the student loan defaults increasing our debt and deficits?
Why does he not join with Senator Tom Harkin in working toward a fix for this student loan crisis?
Why does he seem to protect the interests of these For-Profit colleges and ignore the needs of the students they supposedly serve?
Why doesn't he investigate the Corinthian College closing and find a way to help students still locked in debt they cannot discharge?
Why? Why? Why?
And still no answers from the one person who is in a position to do something about it.