Target: Wade Dyke, President of Kaplan University
Goal: Stop money-hungry for-profit universities from taking advantage of students
Higher education has become a booming industry for profit-focused universities. These schools collect millions of dollars up-front through federal student loans by preying on low income students – students that are stuck paying back the loans for the rest of their lives. Stop backhanded universities profiting from the misfortune of students caught in a bad economy.
Many presidents of these for-profit universities are paid one-third higher salaries than others at public universities, a testament to where students’ hard-earned cash is going. Offering flexible hours and online classes, in addition to many blue-collar job training programs, like medical assistant training, many low-income, working adults get sucked in to attending one of these universities, such as Kaplan University, DeVry University, and the University of Phoenix. The majority of their students use federal loans to pay for their education, leaving many of them with more student debt than their prospective career’s salary will be able to handle.
Statistics show that many students are unable to even finish their studies in order to earn a degree at these schools, leaving them with a lot of debt and nothing to show for it. Nine percent of college enrollment is at for-profit universities, but this small percentage of students carries a quarter of the national student debt, receiving the majority of the federal student funding available. Only 30 percent of students at these for-profit universities graduate, on average, as compared to 65 percent at public and nonprofit universities. These for-profit colleges that produce the most student debt and the least number of graduates should be stopped.
In addition, many for-profit colleges have recently been under investigation for false advertising, unethical recruiting practices, and falsifying job placement rates. Licensing requirements should be much harder in order for these universities to offer degrees to well-intentioned students, and federal loans should not be given to universities who do not live up to student expectations, in order to protect students from wasting money on a worthless education.
Dear Wade Dyke,
Serious changes need to be made at Kaplan University, and similar for-profit schools, in order for them to stay in business. Because you are a business, it is clear that your intentions are not to serve students with an exceptional education that will get them the career they are hoping for, but to line your own pockets with federal money that students will then be responsible for paying back to the government. Only nine-percent of students attend for-profit universities like yours, but they account for a quarter of the national student debt, and are more likely to default on their loans than other students. This evidence points to a serious problem at your university.
You must change your model if you are to be successful, with the possibility of substantial cuts to federal funding for students who enroll at your school. You must place greater emphasis on quality of education, reducing your own salary, which is one-third times greater than that of presidents at more prestigious public universities, to pay instructors and provide opportunities for your students. You must test your claims to ensure that students will be qualified for a job in their field upon graduation, and do all that you can to raise your current graduation rates. Do not steal from low-income students to make a business for yourself, giving them false hope for a future they will be ill-prepared for. Commit to educate students at any cost to yourself, providing opportunity for those who need it most. Otherwise, close your doors.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Bill Branson via Wikimedia