FAPSC Press Release: State Association Selects Career Education and Workforce Veteran To Lead as New Executive Director

Curtis C. Austin will direct Florida Association of Postsecondary Schools and Colleges

TALLAHASSEE, FL – Dec. 12, 2012 – Dean Bartness, President of the Florida Association of Postsecondary Schools, announced today that Curtis C. Austin has been selected by the board of directors as the organization’s new Executive Director.

Mr. Austin brings to the association more than 20 years’ experience in higher education, workforce policy and public advocacy in Tallahassee.

FAPSC, founded more than 55 years ago, is a statewide organization representing more than 200 private, career-oriented colleges and schools.

"Curtis Austin has an impressive record of excellence and executive level management in career and professional higher education,” said FAPSC President Dean Bartness. "He is uniquely qualified for this important job to serve association member schools by promoting access, advocacy and accountability.”

Mr. Austin most recently served as Director of State and Government Relations with Keiser University, where in the last five years he also has served in associate vice chancellor positions in government relations and business development. Before joining Keiser, Mr. Austin spent seven years as President and CEO of Workforce Florida, the statewide, business-led workforce policy board. Prior to that, Mr. Austin served nine years with The Florida Senate, including time as Staff Director for the Commerce and Economic Opportunity Committee and Staff Director of the Executive Business, Ethics and Elections Committee. He began his career as an assistant professor of communications and director of forensics at Florida State University.

Mr. Austin has a solid understanding of the role of private career schools and colleges in the state of Florida. His knowledge of the state higher education system, boards, workforce needs and legislative process positions him to be a strong advocate and voice for FAPSC and its member schools, FAPSC President Bartness said.

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About FAPSC 
The Florida Association of Postsecondary Schools and Colleges (FAPSC) works on behalf of all Florida’s degree granting and non-degree granting career schools and colleges. Licensed by the state, these schools educate and prepare more than 379,000 students each year for employment in more than 200 occupational fields. For more information, visit www.FAPSC.org.

Cato@Liberty: You’re Destroying the Whole Tower, Stop Blaming It on the Basement

Posted by Neal McCluskey


Yesterday Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, released his magnum opus on for-profit colleges, the culmination of two years of excoriating, browbeating, shaming, and generally demagoguing that fast-growing but relatively small sector of American higher education. His report is everything you’d expect from a crusade characterized by an almost complete unwillingness to address the central role of the federal government in creating pervasive rot not just in for-profit higher education, but the entire Ivory Tower.

The for-profit college sector is certainly raking in lots of cash and producing very little for it, with big revenues but very low completion rates. It’s probably not as bad as Harkin would have us believe—I’ve chronicled much of the exaggeration and misrepresentation that has punctuated his attack—but there’s little question that lots of students drag heaps of taxpayer dough into for-profit schools and get little of value for it.

The thing is, that happens across higher education, including the profit-taking.

As I’ve cited ad nauseum, completion rates throughout higher education are abominable. Looking at first-time, full-time students—an imperfect sample, yes, but the best we’ve got—the top completion rate is for bachelor’s students at private not-for-profit schools. But that’s only 65.4 percent completing within six years. The worst is at public two-year institutions—community colleges—which see only 20.4 percent finish their programs within 150 percent of normal time. That’s just one-in-five!

Surprisingly, Harkin’s report mentions the atrocious completion rates at community colleges. But only very briefly, and mainly to assert that “the cost of for-profit programs makes those programs more risky for students and Federal taxpayers.” That proviso is technically correct, but as misleading as much of the behavior for which Harkin condemns for-profit schools. Community colleges are cheaper to students in large part because they get direct taxpayer subsidies, and while those don’t come mainly from Washington they do come from taxpayers, just at the state and local level. In the 2009-10 school year, state and local appropriations to community colleges totaled $5,412 per pupil. Meanwhile, public four-year schools—with six-year graduation rates of just 56 percent—received almost $8,000 per student in federal, state, and local appropriations. And, of course, all “not-for-profit” schools get favored tax status, paying no taxes on most of their revenue and benefiting from tax deductible largess of donors.

But don’t think those schools aren’t profiting. Harkin’s report blows off the possibility that putatively not-for-profit schools make profits simply by stating that “by definition” such schools “do not retain any revenue as profit.” But as Vance Fried illustrated in his 2011 policy analysis, most public and not-for-profit private colleges make thousands of dollars per-undergraduate beyond the cost of educating them. They just use the money to reward the people in the school, or to pay for things that often make the school more bloated, instead of distributing the profits to investors.

Putting the for-profit sector in the context of all of higher education, it’s clear the witch hunt has been on. But there’s also been major scapegoating: by enabling students to pay for school with other people’s money, and with almost no regard for their ability to do college work, it is federal student aid that largely causes the rot in higher ed, quashing both school and student incentives to economize, and student incentives to think critically about consuming higher ed. By demonizing institutions that dare admittedly make profits, politicians like Sen. Harkin shift the blame from where it belongs—themselves—to those who do what the politicians want: ”educate” people regardless of their ability. It’s exactly like housing: the politicians demand that everyone be able to buy a home, condemn anyone who might fail to furnish the uncreditworthy with mortgages, then blame the lenders when things go horribly wrong. They seem to want the votes—their profits—but no blame when things go south.

Sen. Harkin, the fault for what ails not just for-profit higher education, but the entire Ivory Tower, sits largely with you and your colleagues. Please quit shifting blame and do what must be done: phase out student aid and make all schools earn their money.

Neal McCluskey • July 31, 2012 @ 4:57 pm
Filed under: Education and Child Policy; Finance, Banking & Monetary Policy; General
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APSCU Press: APSCU Responds To Release of Report by Senator Harkin

APSCU Responds To Release of Report by Senator Harkin


Washington, D.C. – Former Congressman Steve Gunderson, the president and chief executive officer of the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU) today issued the following statement in response to yet another attack against career colleges and universities by Iowa Senator Tom Harkin:

“Unfortunately, Senator Harkin’s report continues in the tradition of ideology overriding reality.  The report twists the facts to fit a narrative, proving that this is nothing more than continued political attacks on private sector colleges and universities.  For example, the student loan default statistic mentioned in the report continues to be presented in a misleading fashion that compares students to dollars, not dollars to dollars.  Instead of joining the conversation about ways to expand access to postsecondary education, Senator Harkin is attacking schools that are currently providing instruction to 3.8 million students.  Today’s students already face enough challenges accessing postsecondary education without these sorts of distractions.  Instead, let’s work together to develop partnerships and agree that all higher education institutions need to be held to the same high standards in the best interests of our students and future workforce.”

“We urge Senator Harkin to get on board for the simple reason that more students - particularly working adults, parents and veterans - are independently selecting to attend our schools because of flexible course scheduling, career-specific instruction and a pathway to employment in high-demand occupations.

 “We are supplying a marketplace that has a growing need for skilled and trained workers in order to achieve 21st Century global competitiveness.  Senator Harkin and his staff make it clear in the executive summary of this report that this goal cannot be met without private sector colleges and universities.  I agree, which is why we have reached out to the Obama Administration, including the Departments of Education and Veterans’ Affairs, to discuss ways we can work together to better serve students.  APSCU will continue to look for allies to join us as we work to address ways to increase student access to education and skills, increase student success and ultimately meet the demand for an educated workforce for the 21st Century”.

*Please see links below with backgrounder document for specific references to report claims.

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Orlando Sentinel: State's higher ed an example of diversity, accountability

Orlando Sentinel

By Kathy Mizereck & Randy Proto | Guest columnists

You have probably read stories about problems in higher education: student debt as the next financial bubble, college graduates working as baristas, law schools deceiving prospective students and more.

What's going on? Economic turmoil, technological change and changing consumer attitudes have converged to stress the system. We're on the verge of a new era. But instead of looking ahead, too many educators, politicians and interest groups react by simply protecting their favored types of institutions, promoting them as the solution to the challenges in higher education.

They're wrong. In higher education, as in most areas, diversity is strength.

We need a fully engaged mix of private-sector, private nonprofit and public colleges and schools — selective and open enrollment — to economically meet our varied needs. Taxpayers can't afford fully subsidized public higher education. Students can't afford private education without effective federal and state systems of financial aid and institutional support.

And, given that the Georgetown Center for Education and the Workforce found that nearly two-thirds of future jobs would require some postsecondary education, our economy can't afford an inadequate, politicized approach.

Private-sector career colleges — educating more than 300,000 Floridians and more than 3 million students nationwide — are important partners in recrafting higher education. We embrace changing market dynamics and customer (student and taxpayer) needs. We have a clear student-centered vision for the future. It's a vision focused on access, affordability, accountability and effectiveness.

To enable this, we believe legislators and regulators must refine rules in four areas:

First, students need to understand which school best meets their economic, situational and aspirational needs. We need a framework of web-based shopping tools where students can select different schools' programs and see side-by-side comparisons against many key factors affecting value.

Second, all schools should be held to workable, comparable outcomes-performance standards that protect students and taxpayer dollars. Of course, standards need to consider the various values different types of institutions bring. But, having piecemeal or no standards at all is not an option.

Third, to improve student and taxpayer affordability, and maintain variety, legislators and political leaders must be innovative and craft regulations focused on choice and efficacy. Regulations that facilitate tax-efficient, work-force-driven, public-private partnerships would increase capacity in an economically sustainable way. The right rules would enable alternative pathways for students to enter or advance in the work force. They also would expand credit-transfer options, allowing students to achieve their goals faster, at lower cost.

Finally, low-cost content and knowledge accessibility for students is rapidly improving. Some fear the impact of this upon the status quo. But, change is inevitable. Regulators should leap into the 21st century by encouraging, not impeding, efforts to expand the use of technology to deliver instruction. This will both reduce costs and broaden access.

Florida is already ahead of the federal government in these critical areas. In extraordinary bipartisanship, the Florida Legislature has supported progress by unanimously passing HB 7135 — a higher-education accountability act. The act addresses transparency requirements and creates a basis for accountability measures. It's important that it applies to all of Florida's higher-education institutions.

Unfortunately, the federal government has an ever-increasing hodgepodge of burdensome requirements that apply to some less-favored institutions. But students don't care which institutions people in power prefer; neither do taxpayers. Politicians in Washington should take a lesson from Florida legislators. They should scrap selectively applied, dysfunctional standards in favor of universally applied measures.

Our political leaders must create a level playing field, where we engage all colleges in solving our problems. This will enable us to meet the demands of the new era in higher education.

Students and taxpayers deserve no less.

Kathy Mizereck is executive director and Randy Proto is a board member of the Florida Association of Postsecondary Schools and Colleges in Tallahassee.

Direct link to article: http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2012-07-10/opinion/os-ed-higher-education-071012-20120709_1_higher-education-student-debt-open-enrollment

USA Today: Opposing view: Private colleges play a central role

USA Today

Private-sector colleges and universities have grown dramatically in recent years. Today, they serve more than 3 million postsecondary students — almost 13% of the total college enrollment. But this growth comes with a similar increase in scrutiny. That's fair and appropriate. What is not fair is when a criticism against one school is used to denigrate an entire sector.
OUR VIEW: Veterans are not 'dollar signs in uniform'

Those who run afoul of rules and regulations governing the actions of institutions of higher learning should be held to account, as all colleges are regulated by state licensure and national or regional accreditation.

Traditional and career-oriented sectors of higher education have important roles to play in meeting President Obama's goal of leading the world in college graduates by 2020. With state budget cuts, traditional institutions alone can't meet our goal of 8 million to 23 million additional workers with postsecondary skills by 2020.

We play a central role in preparing America's workers by offering flexible schedules, tailored curriculum and a personalized approach that reflects the needs of people with responsibilities outside their education. We educate non-traditional students — adults, parents and veterans — who will fill the jobs employers currently say are vacant due to a lack of qualified individuals.
Rate the debate

All schools should be measured by the same standards — no more, no less. When the administration and Congress apply such standards to all postsecondary institutions — such as the recently released executive order addressing veteran students — we applaud their hard work. But we will not sit idly by and allow hardworking employers who operate private-sector schools to be targeted with burdensome, unfair regulations that will result in higher unemployment and fewer educational opportunities.

America's private-sector colleges and universities take great pride in educating America's workers, particularly the nation's military personnel. About 175,000 veterans, spouses and dependents have chosen to continue their education at our institutions. They and so many others have voluntarily decided to do so because they obtain and develop the skills needed to compete and succeed in the 21st century workforce.

Steve Gunderson, a former congressman, is president and CEO of the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities.

Direct link to article: http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/story/2012-05-13/Private-Sector-Colleges-and-Universities/54946746/1

Florida Association of Postsecondary Schools and Colleges Extends Deadline for Annual Scholarship Applications to May 4

Florida Association of Postsecondary Schools and Colleges Extends Deadline for Annual Scholarship Applications to May 4

Florida high school graduates, G.E.D. recipients have additional time to apply

TALLAHASSEE, FL – April 13, 2012 – The Florida Association of Postsecondary Schools and Colleges (FAPSC) has extended its scholarship deadline to May 4 for higher education assistance totaling more than $1 million.

“We wanted to give any additional applicants time to complete the process for the scholarships, but really need anyone interested to go ahead and submit their information,” said Wanda Minick, FAPSC deputy director.

Interested applicants should visit www.FAPSC.org or www.FLCareers.org to complete the online application, consult a list of participating institutions to contact directly, or email scholarship@FAPSC.org or download and mail the information.

Submitted via computer or postmarked by May 4, any interested graduating high school seniors and G.E.D. recipients need to complete applications, essays and transcripts.

“These scholarships, which total more than $1 million and are made available from the generosity of member institutions, need good matches so we could use more applicants for the scholarship selection process,” Minick added.

Ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 to full tuition, the scholarships can be used for programs from short-term diplomas to four-year college degrees in a variety of fields of study including: computer information technology, cosmetology, criminal justice, culinary arts and healthcare.

The Florida Association of Postsecondary Schools and Colleges works on behalf of Florida’s 360 degree granting and 550 non-degree granting career schools and colleges.  Licensed by the state, these schools educate and prepare over 379,000 students each year for employment in more than 200 occupational fields.

For more information, visit www.FAPSC.org
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Herald - Tribune: Everglades graduate receives GREAT Award

Herald - Tribune

The Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities recently announced that Derrick Buchholz of Sarasota received a Graduate Recognition for Excellence, Achievement and Talent, or GREAT Award.

The association's GREAT Award honors recent graduates of private colleges and universities who have excelled academically and overcome great odds to achieve their educational dreams.

"I am grateful to receive this recognition and for the education I received at Everglades University," Buchholz said in a prepared statement. "I knew that getting a college degree would help me with my career in aviation and EU provided the flexibility and resources I needed to receive my degree while working full time."

After recovering from a car accident and then a cancer diagnosis, Buchholz moved to Sarasota where he worked at Aircraft Service International Group at Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport.

He received a bachelor of science degree with honors in aviation technology in 2009 and is scheduled to complete his master's degree in aviation science later this year.

Buchholz served as president of the Everglades University Student Government Association, is involved in community service activities and mentors other aviation students.

"We are very proud of Derrick's accomplishments and he is an inspiration to us all," Steve Gunderson, president and CEO of APSCU, said in the statement. "He is an example of the value that our schools offer Americans and we are proud to serve students like him."

Buchholz is one of five 2012 GREAT Award recipients who traveled to Washington, D.C., to attend a ceremony to receive their awards.

Grover aboard Enterprise for final deployment

Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Kristin L. Grover, a 2001 graduate of Sarasota High School, recently deployed.

Grover is among the sailors and Marines assigned to the nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65), which departed Norfolk Naval Station for the ship's 22nd and final deployment.

Enterprise is slated to deploy to the U.S. Navy's 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operation as part of an ongoing rotation of U.S. forces supporting maritime security operations in international waters throughout the world.

Direct Link to article: http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20120405/ARTICLE/120409812/-1/news?p=all&tc=pgall

Inside Higher ED: The For-Profit Next Door

Inside Higher ED
By Paul Fain

Career Education Corporation, for example, saw its net income drop to $19 million in 2011 from $158 million the previous year, while new student enrollment dipped by 27 percent (when comparing fourth quarters). The company hasn’t been helped by a scandal over its job-placement reporting, a related review by its accreditor, the departure of CEO Gary McCullough and a steep share price slide -- all last fall.

Meanwhile, Rasmussen has stayed out of the news and continued its growth aspirations, increasing enrollment to a total headcount of 15,600 from 9,500 three years ago. While Rasmussen is still a modest-sized institution, it has managed to grow and ramp up hiring despite the recession, company officials say, adding a few campuses as well.

The college was founded in 1900 in St. Paul, Minn. In addition to online offerings, it has deep roots in the Midwest, with 17 campuses in mostly small towns in Minnesota, Illinois, Wisconsin and North Dakota, as well as the growing presence in Florida, with five campuses.

“We’ve been in these communities for a long time,” says J. Michael Locke, Rasmussen’s vice chairman.

On its website, Rasmussen tells prospective students that it focuses on “practical, relevant and advanced skills that you need to confidently start or advance a successful career.” It holds regional accreditation.

College officials say they track the employment status of all alumni, and work closely with local businesses and politicians to tailor campus curriculums to local workforce needs.

“I know the outcomes of every one of my graduates over the last 18 months," says Tamryn Hennessy, Rasmussen’s national director of career services and corporate partnerships. Hennessy's staff is tracking the employment status of 4,622 alumni who graduated in the 18 months before last December. She regularly meets with career services staff from each campus to talk about the job prospects of graduates who are not working in their fields or continuing their educations -- about 11 percent of recent alumni.

“This is exactly what Rasmussen has always done,” Hennessy said.

The college collaborates with community colleges, filling in job-training gaps. And it holds twice-annual career fairs at each campus, which are open to the general public. About 1,000 of the 2,800 people who showed up at a recent batch of career fairs had “no affiliation with Rasmussen,” Hennessy says.

Even so, don’t expect President Obama to show up at the college to talk about workforce development. Rasmussen is a privately held company, and profiting from higher education remains controversial to some lawmakers and many in the academy.

For their part, college officials don’t seem to mind missing out on national attention. The college’s focus is local, they say. And flying under the radar isn’t such a bad thing for a for-profit these days.

Locke says Rasmussen has a role to play in meeting labor market demands and President Obama’s college completion goals. “There’s room for everybody.”

For-profits that know their backyards well may sometimes have a competitive advantage, says Kevin Kinser, an associate professor of education at the State University of New York at Albany who studies for-profit institutions. “Local connections and history are really important.”

No Handouts

Rasmussen isn’t the only mid-sized for-profit chain that stresses hometown ties. Harrison College, for example, has operated in Indiana for 110 years. The for-profit has a substantial online component, and is branching out to Ohio, but college officials say those ventures remain deliberate and grounded in specific job markets.

“We have very active advisory boards in all of our communities,” says Jason Konesco, Harrison’s president. And those advisory panels are how Harrison stays “in sync” with local business.

Konesco praised Indiana’s public colleges for being responsive to shifting job training needs, particularly Ivy Tech Community College, which is a statewide two-year system. But sometimes a for-profit can step in to help, he says.

For example, Harrison set up a specialized advisory board in Indianapolis with a focus on logistics and distribution. The college worked closely on the board with two companies: Conexus Indiana and BrightPoint. And it wasn’t like Harrison was new to the business executives, in part because Konesco used to work at BrightPoint.

“We were able to sit down at the table and cut through the red tape,” he says.

The college-next-door approach is a departure from what is seen as a chief advantage of national for-profits: Call it the McDonald’s effect, where a customer can expect the same burger anywhere in the world. A consistent product works in higher education, too. But sometimes local trumps national.

Kinser says for-profit chains may have made a mistake in rebranding local colleges they absorbed.

“I can understand that from a narrow marketing perspective,” Kinser says via e-mail. “But I always thought it was a shortsighted approach to the value that tradition holds for higher education.”

For example, he points to the former Duff's Business College in Pittsburgh, which was founded in 1840, making it the oldest continually operated for-profit in the U.S. In 2006 Duff was renamed Everest Institute-Pittsburgh by Corinthian Colleges.

However, smaller for-profits don’t always gain the upper hand on cornering markets. For that matter, experts say not to count out the publicly traded chains and their big capital. Some of those institutions’ recent pains may be savvy readjustments, particularly for Apollo and Kaplan, which have begun voluntarily turning away less-prepared students to adjust to the tighter enrollment outlook and regulatory climate.

And even lesser-known for-profits have had their recent scandals. Westwood College, a mid-sized chain owned by Alta Colleges Inc., last week settled with Colorado’s attorney general over allegations about misleading students through deceptive business practices, the latest in a series of missteps.

But Rasmussen has an edge on its larger peers in a subtle, but powerful distinction: to many people its campuses are local colleges, not for-profit corporations. If for-profit colleges do eventually follow the health care example, as some predict, where patients typically don’t know the tax status of a hospital, Rasmussen will probably be on the front edge of that shift.

The college already has blended its boundaries with traditional higher education. Rasmussen’s board chairman, Henry Bienen, is the former president of Northwestern University. And Andrea Backman, who Rasmussen recently hired as chief academic officer, previously worked for both the University of Virginia and DePaul University, where she helped launch the latter university’s first online degree program.

College officials say they are often close partners with community colleges. For example, Claire Walker, president of Rasmussen’s campus in New Port Richey, Fla., serves on a local workforce board with Katherine M. Johnson, president of Pasco-Hernando Community College. Walker has been on the board for nine years.

Rasmussen’s Florida campuses help displaced workers retrain, many of whom, she says, lost jobs related to the collapsed construction industry. Popular programs include health care and IT. And Walker says the college is in constant contact with local businesses to keep tabs on where the job market is heading.

“We don’t have our hands held out,” Walker says. “We have been supplying a very qualified employee to the market.”

Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/03/20/rasmussen-college-proves-bigger-isnt-always-better#ixzz1pfTTrdOC

Orlando Business Journal: Herzing University may open St. Cloud nursing school

Orlando Business Journal

Abraham Aboraya, Reporter

St. Cloud wants Herzing University to open a new nursing school in the city this fall after a $1 million renovation.

Milwaukee-based Herzing University-Orlando is a private, for-profit, four-year school specializing in nursing, allied health and Internet technology courses at its Winter Park campus, where it graduated 50 students in 2011.

If Herzing moves forward, its new St. Cloud campus would graduate 112 students annually. It will offer two- and four-year degrees in nursing, health information, medical billing and emergency management technician training.

Herzing’s potential expansion means more than $1 million in contracts up for bid to design, gut and rebuild 16,000 square feet, as well as opportunities for vendors to equip the facility, which would have a $1 million annual operating budget.

Long term, the school also would mean an estimated minimum of $765,000 in annual salaries at the campus and more Central Florida nurses.

The school would go in a city-owned building currently occupied by Southland Christian School, which will be leaving for a new building.

Ernie Gearhart, an economic development consultant with the city of St. Cloud, said city officials approached Herzing about converting the building to a new campus for several reasons:

• Herzing offers the programs hospital administrators said they needed most in hiring candidates.

• The proposed campus, at 2901 17th St., is across the street from the 84-bed St. Cloud Regional Medical Center   

• The city has been courting educational institutions.

Heather Antonacci, Herzing University-Orlando campus president, said she expects to make a final decision in the next few weeks.

The Osceola County Commission approved putting $650,000 toward renovations Feb. 13, and St. Cloud committed an additional $400,000 for it. The lease hasn’t been finalized, and Herzing needs regulatory approval from the Higher Learning Commission and the Florida State Nursing Board.

Bids likely would go out in April and May, and construction may start in mid-June and be completed by October.

Osceola County Commissioner Frank Attkisson said the nursing school would be “transformative” for St. Cloud, comparing it to Kissimmee’s 1991 land donation to bring a Valencia College campus there.

Osceola County has several health care expansion projects in the works: Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA Holdings Inc.’s planned $65 million Poinciana hospital and HCA-owned Osceola Regional Medical Center’s  plans for a $50 million new patient tower — projects that will create nursing jobs.

However, Herzing’s project isn’t without critics. Osceola County Commissioner Michael Harford voted against it because it means giving tax dollars to a private, for-profit college when there are already at least five nursing schools in the area and because the county’s investment won’t be repaid by Herzing, though the city’s $400,000 will be repaid through rent.
What this means to you

• More than $1 million to design and renovate the building.

• Up to 16 full-time jobs, mostly instructors earning $60,000 annually.

• An expected 112 nursing graduates annually, who could work locally.

Direct link to article: http://www.bizjournals.com/orlando/print-edition/2012/03/02/herzing-university-may-open-st-cloud.html?page=all

Ocala.com: Taylor College offers biz program

By Michael Sykes, Correspondent

BELLEVIEW — Taylor College has announced a new business program it hopes to offer in May.

The program will feature courses in business law, managerial accounting and macro and micro economics, said Taylor College community liaison April Shepard. Taylor is offering the program to answer the demand for business-educated individuals in the workplace.

“We have designed these programs with the employer in mind,” Taylor College President Diana Hammond said in a news release. “When employers hire our graduates, they will gain an employee with not only critical thinking experiences, but a vast knowledge of emerging technology.”

The program will be offered over a five-semester period so students aren’t overwhelmed with a difficult courseload, and more than half of the courses will be offered online, Shepard said. Taylor is also incorporating 24 Apple iPads that will be available for students to use in the classrooms.

The program has been approved by the Florida Commission for Independent Education but is awaiting accreditation from the Council on Occupational Education. Students interested are encouraged to get a head start on the applications process, which is to be completed by April 13.

Direct link to article: http://www.ocala.com/article/20120207/ARTICLES/120209762/1005/sports01?Title=Taylor-College-offers-biz-program

New-Press.com: Higher education in building boom

By:Dick Hogan

Higher education is one of the few high points in Southwest Florida’s battered commercial construction industry as private colleges build to keep up with the demand from students seeking to reinvent themselves for today’s job market.

The most visible sign of the trend is Keiser College, which is putting up a 60,000-square-foot building that will serve as its new campus at The Forum, a mixed-use development between State Road 82 and Colonial Boulevard east of Interstate 75.

When it opens this summer, the new campus will be able to accommodate increased enrollment the school expects from an occupational therapy program and other recently added areas of study.

Keiser currently has 300 students in a building it’s been leasing on Colonial Boulevard since coming to Fort Myers in 2010.

Also coming on line this year is a new Hodges University building at its Fort Myers campus at Colonial and Metro Parkway. That building will accommodate 20 more classrooms and a student union.

Art Keiser, chancellor of Keiser University, said local job markets typically drive demand for more education.

For example, he said, because of Southwest Florida’s large population of older people, “This campus is heavily focused on health care and meeting the requirements of health care.”

Keiser keeps its eye on what’s needed, Keiser said. “We sat down and talked to Lee Memorial” about what areas would be best. Now there are programs in diagnostic medical technology and radiological technology and the school just got approved in December for an occupational therapy program.

Joe Turner, public relations coordinator for Hodges University, said health care is the most popular area of study there too, but that security is second place and growing fast.

“The technology is growing by leaps and bounds,” he said. “Cyber security is a huge hot button right now.”

Hodges keeps a close eye on employment trends, Turner said. “We like to listen to what the business community’s looking for.”

Now, he said, the question is, “Who are the people who are being hired to make sure their systems aren’t hacked?”

Direct link to article: http://www.news-press.com/article/20120206/BUSINESS/302060001/Higher-education-building-boom

Stars and Stripes: Take vets out of education funding formula

Stars and Stripes
By Randy Proto

Recent military veterans, who face a higher unemployment rate than any other sector of the population, deserve all the educational opportunities we can give them after they’ve sacrificed so much for the country. In true Washington style, there’s an ironic twist shaping up in the debate about higher education quality, value and accountability — one in which veterans are being used, under the guise of consumer protection, as weapons to attack privately owned colleges and schools. As a result of legislation proposed by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., they may lose access to the very educational opportunities they want: the career and technical education offered by private-sector schools.

Veterans often choose these private-sector for-profit institutions over more traditional institutions for continuing their education. Historically, many made this choice because the trade-oriented education that private-sector schools focused on aligns well with the training format they experienced during their military service.

Convenience is also particularly important to veterans and to nontraditional students generally. Over the past few decades, private-sector schools have expanded their offerings to include many more degree programs and have deeply penetrated the online space, adding convenient degree completion options. Veterans responded positively; some even continued their education while serving. Currently, about 25 percent of veterans using the GI Bill choose to attend private-sector schools.

Today’s battle, being publicly spearheaded by Durbin: how veterans’ tuition should be treated in a formula that determines whether individual privately owned colleges, trade schools and universities survive.

The current formula, which only applies to for-profits and is called “90/10,” requires that students who choose to attend these schools provide no more than 90 percent of a school’s receipts via federal student loans and grants. Exceed the limit for two years and the school closes. Durbin’s legislation would change this formula to 85/15, disqualify schools after merely one year of noncompliance and shift the way GI Bill funds are counted.

The current law puts GI Bill funds in the 10 percent column, not the 90 percent, allowing more veterans to choose the trade-oriented education offered at private-sector schools.

Durbin and other critics of private-sector, for-profit education have been trying to use this formula as a weapon for years, as they know how difficult it is to adhere to. They now argue that veterans’ benefits should be counted in the reverse, pointing to cherry-picked and isolated examples of veterans being targeted by private-sector schools. But, pursuing this path doesn’t protect veterans; it limits them.

What’s the right thing to do? We should ensure veterans are not penalized and have the opportunities they deserve by not counting them in the formula at all. This isn’t a perfect solution, but it is the right choice. Sure, that may not make some of my for-profit colleagues happy, and it certainly won’t satisfy the opponents of for-profit education, but it will do what is right by making veterans’ benefits neutral in the formula.

Veterans should not be used as a tool to pressure a sector of higher education and gain political points. Using them in such a way simply threatens to take educational choices away from them. Veterans, of all people, have earned the right to make their own choice about their educational path.

Politicians and educators alike who are genuinely concerned with determining how well our veterans are being served by higher education can get at the truth simply: request the Department of Veterans Affairs conduct a comprehensive, unbiased survey of all veterans currently attending, and recent graduates of, any higher education institution and compare the results among institutional types. Then we would know, from the veterans themselves, which schools are serving their needs well.

In this age of nearly unlimited ability to ferret out data, using indirect “quality” measures like the “90/10” formula is absurd. Having lived with it, I can tell you firsthand that it has no relationship to quality or to student and taxpayer protection. Smart regulation is very important and necessary. But, like many misguided regulations, 90/10 sounds sensible but provides no real benefit — and some significant detriment to those it purportedly protects.

What would provide real protections are transparency regarding, and accountability for, outcomes across all of higher education. Veterans, taxpayers and all students deserve direct, consistent and comparable accountability and performance standards applied to all schools. To date, the Obama administration has made little progress in this regard.

Our faltering economy has exposed many flaws across all sectors of higher education. We need to correct them. Meanwhile, eliminating GI Bill benefits from this formula is both a way of protecting and respecting our veterans.

Randy Proto is CEO of American Institutes Holdings LLC, a group of five for-profit schools with locations in Florida, New Jersey and Connecticut. American Institutes is focused primarily on the delivery of degree and nondegree allied health-related programs, both residentially and on a distance basis, to more than 2,000 students annually. If Durbin’s legislation becomes law, American Institutes schools will be subject to the 85/15 funding formula.

Direct link to article: http://www.stripes.com/take-vets-out-of-education-funding-formula-1.167651

USA Today: Opposing view: Private-sector schools train U.S. workforce

USA Today

By Arthur Keiser

About a year ago, Steve Jobs told President Obama that the United States technology sector was in desperate need of skilled engineers. His solution: keep up with the demand by utilizing vocational schools to train more Americans.

    OUR VIEW: For-profit colleges are no answer to high tuition

Otherwise, he said, the United States will continue to outsource hundreds of thousands of jobs to China at a time when millions of Americans are still out of work.

Vocational colleges, also known as private-sector colleges and universities, emphasize a career-focused education in a way that prepares their students to compete in a 21st century global economy. They ready their students to fill the talent void Steve Jobs was talking about, and they do it in a way that takes into account the needs of the thousands of students who attend these schools every year.

A far cry from the one-size-fits-all approach of many public or non-profit higher education institutions, private sector schools offer flexible class scheduling, accelerated program completion plans and online courses — valuable tools in helping students, most being non-traditional, balance school, work, family and other responsibilities.

Private-sector colleges and universities have also played a critical role in educating health care professionals, one of the few job sectors that saw strong employment statistics during the recession and beyond. These schools educated nearly 40,000 nurses at the last official count in 2009-10. And with the steady influx of retiring Baby Boomers in need of health care services, these schools are producing the next generation of health care professionals ready to tend to the growing population of new retirees.

At a time when a post-secondary credential has become requisite for landing a job, private-sector colleges and universities are helping students gain the skills-based expertise that so many employers are seeking. More than ever, employers want to spend less time training new hires because resources are so scarce, making graduates of career-oriented schools so marketable.

And while millions of students continue to attend standard liberal arts colleges, a new generation of non-traditional students such as working adults, parents, military veterans and others are taking Steve Jobs' advice to heart by choosing to earn degrees at private-sector colleges and universities, and obtaining the skills and training they need to compete successfully.

Arthur Keiser is chairman of the board of the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities.

South Florida Sun-Sentinel: Thursday's letters to the editor: Scholarship options for students available

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

By Kathy Mizereck

Scholarship options for students available

We agree with the story of Jan. 18 that students looking for scholarship opportunities to attend college should be wary of any scholarship application that requires a fee.

We would like to let students know about scholarships available through our program. Again this year, the Florida Association of Postsecondary Schools and Colleges offering more than $1 million in scholarships to attend participating schools and there are no fees to apply.

These scholarships, available through the generosity of our member schools, range from $1,000 to $5,000 to full tuition in a variety of fields of study.

The deadline for this year's FAPSC scholarships is April 6. We strongly encourage any 2012 high school graduates or G.E.D. recipients to apply at http://www.FLCareers.org or http://www.FAPSC.org.

Kathy Mizereck, Florida Association of Postsecondary Schools and Colleges, Tallahassee

Inside Higher Ed: Education Department Admits Flawed Data In Gainful Employment Analysis

Inside Higher Ed

By Paul Fain

WASHINGTON -- The Department of Education has acknowledged using flawed data in a study on the impact of race on student loan repayment rates, having omitted black students from its calculation. The analysis was conducted during the debate over gainful employment regulations, in response to complaints that the rules would hurt colleges that enroll relatively high percentages of minority students.

Department officials disclosed the error in a December court filing, which is part of the ongoing legal challenge to gainful employment by the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities, the primary for-profit trade group. That lawsuit appears to have led to the mistake’s discovery.

The Obama administration designed the federal rules in an attempt to ensure that most programs at for-profit colleges and certificate and vocational programs at nonprofit institutions prepare students for "gainful employment." For programs to be eligible for federal financial aid, they must adhere to benchmarks related to student loan repayment and debt-to-income ratios.

The original analysis was included in the introduction section of the final rules, which were issued last June. It asserted that the “percentage of the students that are members of a minority group explains 1 percent of the total variance in repayment rates” at for-profit institutions. The low figure, the department concluded at the time, meant the racial composition of students was not a statistically significant contributor to how an institution stacks up on loan repayments. The percentage of lower-income students an institution enrolled was a better measure.

But by failing to count black students, the study understated the impact of race: the actual variance at for-profits is 20 percent over all, and 31 percent for four-year institutions, the department said in the December filing.

Eduardo Ochoa, the department’s assistant secretary for postsecondary education, described the mistake in that filing, but said accurate figures would have had no impact on the final regulations.

A subsequently corrected analysis “does not justify altering the regulations,” Ochoa said, because “factors other than student demographics account for the success or failure of institutional repayment rates.”

The for-profit association, however, said in a January court filing that the mistake is fundamental and validates concerns aired by scores of public commenters that for-profits were unfairly targeted by gainful employment regulations.

“The department’s error demolishes its decision to reject commenters’ concerns about the relationship between its regulations and race and educational opportunity,” the association said. “This error, by itself, requires that the regulations be vacated.”

Monday's Federal Register contained the department’s correction, which noted that the final regulations remain unchanged.

The Education Department had no comment on Tuesday.

The publicly acknowledged mistake is certain to fuel claims by for-profits and their advocates here that the sector is being picked on by lawmakers and politically motivated regulators. They point to what they see as a pattern of flawed data or other information being used by the department, the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions and, perhaps most notably, the Government Accountability Office.

Critics of for-profits, however, say the industry has pored over language in federal documents to look for procedural mistakes in an effort to undermine legitimate concerns about their practices.

Last April, the Education Department said it had made an error in tabulating draft loan default rates that reflected poorly on for-profits, having improperly included loans that defaulted up to three months after the three-year period that was being measured.

Ochoa, in his statement, said Pell recipient rates remain more significant in the corrected analysis. Minority enrollment and Pell rates “together explain 43 percent of the total variance,” he said, with Pell at 23 percent and minority enrollment at 20 percent.

However, the association said in its filing that the department’s revised figures show that race is a significant predictor of loan repayment rates. “The public policy consequences of the department’s error are clear -- schools that enroll a higher percentage of minority students are more likely to fail the department’s repayment test.”

Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/01/25/education-department-admits-flawed-data-gainful-employment-analysis#ixzz1kU21ib00

Scholarship Program from Florida Association of Postsecondary Schools and Colleges Seeks Scholarship Applicants for 2012

CONTACT: Wanda Minick   
(850) 577-3139
Scholarship Program from Florida Association of Postsecondary Schools and Colleges Seeks Scholarship Applicants for 2012

Majority of funds available left untapped, online option makes applications easier for Florida high school graduates and G.E.D. recipients to apply

TALLAHASSEE, FL – Nov. 7, 2011 – The Florida Association of Postsecondary Schools and Colleges (FAPSC) has begun seeking applicants for more than $1 million in scholarships provided by member schools and colleges throughout the state.

For the third year, more than $1 million is being offered to high school graduates and G.E.D. recipients to further their education through the 2012 scholarship program. Last year, only 8 percent of available scholarships were awarded.

“We are fortunate that our schools and colleges provide these opportunities for students to further their education, however, in recent years, resources were left unused because candidates were not matched with scholarships,” Wanda Minick, FAPSC deputy director, said. “Students who do apply have a good chance of earning scholarships to help with higher education costs. Forty-two percent of applicants received scholarships last year,” she added. Entering its third decade, the program has become a signature program offered by FAPSC member schools.

Ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 to full tuition the scholarships can be used for programs ranging from short-term diplomas to four-year college degrees in a variety of programs including healthcare, cosmetology, computer information technology and culinary arts.

The 2012 FAPSC Scholarship Program is now accepting applications. Visit www.FAPSC.org or www.FLCareers.org to fill out an online application, find a list of participating institutions to contact directly, or e-mail us at scholarship@FAPSC.org

The deadline for high school seniors and G.E.D. recipients to submit their applications, essays and transcripts is April 6, 2012. 

The Florida Association of Postsecondary Schools and Colleges works on behalf of Florida’s 360 degree granting and 550 non-degree granting career schools and colleges.  Licensed by the state, these schools educate and prepare over 379,000 students each year for employment in more than 200 occupational fields. For more information, visit www.FAPSC.org
# # #

APSCU: For-Profit-College Association Chooses Steve Gunderson as Its New Leader


By Goldie Blumenstyk

The for-profit-college trade association has named Steve Gunderson, a former Republican Congressman and until recently the head of the Council on Foundations, as its new president and chief executive.

The Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities announced the appointment in an e-mail message to its members on Sunday.

At the foundations council, which he led from 2005 until July, Mr. Gunderson oversaw a diverse organization of 1,700 grant makers during a period of economic boom and struggle. As The Chronicle of Philanthropy reported earlier this year, during his tenure he was lauded for helping to reshape the orientation of the organization from its historic focus on member services to broader issues of the role of philanthropy in society. Yet some liberal critics have faulted his stewardship, saying the council showed insufficient leadership during the economic meltdown—for example, in never urging its members to step up giving to struggling nonprofits.

Mr. Gunderson replaces Harris S. Miller, who resigned in July amid criticism from some for-profit college leaders over his leadership style and tactics in response to intense public and political scrutiny of the sector for its low graduation rates and high rates of student-loan defaults. Several key leaders of the association, known as Apscu, have said privately that the group should have relied less on Mr. Miller as the face of the association and turned more to hiring statistics, employer polls, and other empirical data to rebut criticism of the for-profit-college industry.

Mr. Gunderson, who was a member of Congress from 1981 through 1996, starts February 1 at Apscu, representing an industry facing numerous challenges. Enrollments at many for-profit colleges have slowed and the political, regulatory, and legal scrutiny from federal and state officials shows little sign of letting up; a U.S. senator's hearing set for Monday in Chicago on how for-profit colleges recruit veterans is just the latest example.

The industry also faces grass-roots opposition, most notably from the politically active Service Employees International Union, which last week introduced a new campaign against for-profit colleges that it will publicize through a Web site called For-Profit U.

Time Magazine: Educational Financing For-Profit Schools: ‘Agile Predators’ or Just Business Savvy?

Time Magazine
By Kayla Webley | @kaylawebley 

Adding weight to the mounting pile of evidence against for-profit institutions, a new report from the National Bureau of Economic Research finds a grim future for students who attend for-profit schools.

The study, written by a trio of Harvard researchers, asked a fundamental question about the nature of the for-profit sector: Are these institutions “nimble critters” smartly capitalizing on the increased demand for college degrees by providing educational opportunities to students who would normally be shut out of higher education, or are they “agile predators” who target low-income and disadvantaged students in order to line their pockets with government money?

To find the answer, researchers compared the experiences of students who attend for-profit schools with peers of similar socioeconomic and demographic backgrounds who attend community colleges or other public or private non-profit institutions. What they found wasn’t pretty: Today, for-profit students account for 47% of all loan defaults. Indeed, one in four for-profit students will default on their loans within three years—as opposed to 8.7% of students at non-profit four-year institutions.

Why do so many for-profit students default on their loans? Well, to start, studies have shown low-income students enroll in for-profits at four times the rate of other students. Add to that the fact that they are charged more tuition than students at other comparable non-profit institutions—on average, $13,000 to $16,000 per year, nearly double the $8,000 charged by the average public, in-state four-year undergraduate institution—and it’s easy to see why they take on more student loans to begin with.

It gets worse. The researchers found that six years after they enter college, for-profit students are more likely to be unemployed—and to be unemployed for periods longer than three months. And, further, if they are able to find a job, students who attend for-profits make, on average, between $1,800 and $2,000 less annually than their peers who attended other institutions.

Despite such dismal outcomes for for-profit students, the study didn’t entirely write off these institutions, which range from institutions like the online University of Phoenix, which enrolled 532,000 students in the 2008-09 school year, to smaller certificate programs. Because these institutions provide training in a specific vocation or trade, they often provide a more direct route to a career than general education and liberal arts programs. They are highly-attuned to changes in the marketplace and are quick to respond by opening new schools, hire faculty and add programs in growing fields. As such, the industry is booming. For-profits are the fastest growing part of the U.S. higher education system, with enrollment increasing from just 18,333 in 1970 to 1.85 million in 2009.

The report also gives for-profit schools credit for educating a larger portion of minority, low-income, disadvantaged and older students than their peer institutions, and shows that they do a better job of retaining students through the first year and getting them to complete short-term certificate programs. That’s important: Minority and disadvantaged students often feel shut out of traditional colleges, and would-be students with families and full-time jobs often find it hard to attend traditional schools.

But by enrolling students more likely to need financial aid and charging them higher tuition prices, the report shows these schools guarantee themselves a disproportionally large share of federal student financial aid funding. For example, in the 2008-09 school year, despite enrolling only about 12% of all higher-education students, for-profits accounted for 26% of federal student loan disbursements and 24% of Pell grant disbursements.

The feds are aware of this disparity. Earlier this year the Senate launched an inquiry into the for-profit industry to determine whether taxpayer dollars were being funneled into private pockets at a fraudulent rate and the U.S. Department of Education finalized its “gainful employment” rule, meant to crack down on for-profits who load students with more debt than they can realistically repay.

Under the rule, every for-profit school has to meet one of three requirements in order to keep their federal financial aid: 1.) at least 35% of the school’s former students are repaying their loans; 2.) the estimated annual loan payment does not exceed 30% of the students’ discretionary income; or 3.) the estimated annual loan payment does not exceed 12% of the students’ total earnings. Colleges that fail all three metrics three times within four years will have their federal financial aid dollars cut.

Many critics argue that still more needs to be done to tame the industry. For-profit schools counter by saying they are being unfairly targeted while the government turns a blind eye to non-profit colleges and universities using similar practices. “Regulating for-profit colleges is tricky business,” the report concludes. “The challenge is to rein in the agile predators while not stifling the innovation of these nimble critters.”

Kayla Webley is a Staff Writer at TIME. Find her on Twitter at @kaylawebley, on Facebook or on Google+. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.