You may or may not have heard about the collapse of the Corinthian Colleges Inc. system. Here’s an academic perspective and a journalistic perspective on the closure. And since I work for a private, non-profit college (which I need to avoid naming for social media policy reasons), I have Opinions on this.
We have several campuses in “teach -out status” like Corinthian’s were. At our school that means that even if it takes years, our students get the chance to finish their degrees before we close the campuses. Our teach-out students receive full administrative, financial aid, and career services support, just like any other active student. That’s how this is supposed to work.
The federal department of education, and multiple accreditation agencies they recognize, allowed Corinthian to melt down completely. Campuses aren’t teaching out, they’re closing. Those students will have a hell of a time transferring their credits into programs at other schools, because the accreditation agencies and the feds will hold the other schools responsible for Corinthian’s inept instruction.
This situation is infuriating because it’s avoidable. First, of course, Corinthian should have improved their education practices instead of lying about their graduation and graduate job placement rates. The state and federal laws about advertising and financial aid are terrible and self-contradictory, so I understand colleges getting in trouble over that. But it’s irresponsible to say “I see nobody’s hiring __ anymore. Let’s keep telling desperate potential students they will be hired after paying us a huge amount of money to tell them we told them how to do __.”
And second, their accreditation agencies allowed them to keep enrolling students long, long past a point at which Corinthian would have been able to fund a reasonable teach-out of their obviously doomed campuses.
I imagine all those extensions were granted in an effort to avoid situations like this one. But if that’s the case, the feds shouldn’t have put an intolerably huge punishment fine on the school system (because of course they would try and fail to pass that on to the students). I mean, that money has to come from someplace, and tuition clearly wasn’t sufficient.
So my opinions are:
- Don’t listen to anybody saying “poor little Corinthian.” They brought this on themselves.
- The accreditation agencies completely failed to do their jobs.
- Reducing the number of regulators will not solve this problem, because no matter how the responsibility is spread out, it’s still useless if nobody does what they’re supposed to do.
And also 4) my college that works extremely hard to do what our various regulators require of us. Please don’t lump my school in with dreck like Corinthian!