Thursday, April 26, 2007

What's the Difference Between Vocational and Academic Education? Campaign Contributions!

Well obviously there are other differences, most notably quality! Regional accreditation conferred on academic, mainly non-profit institutions is far superior to national accreditation which is generally conferred on vocational, technical and career colleges. However if you put enough money in the pockets of the powers that be -- in this case politicians -- you can bend reality to suit what you think it should be, or more specifically the version that you can profit from. Of course, in the phrase "for-profit education" the inflection is on profit!

Speaking of phrases, remember the phrase, history is written by the victors? Well reality can be written by those who contribute the most (lobbyists) to those who shape it, (politicians). Remember the Bush Administration's Clear Sky's Act which, in a rather Orwellian sense, would produce more pollution. It can be difficult to dodge the subterfuge in the title of some legislature. The key to ascertaining the truth is to examine the what politician is sponsoring it, or better yet, the party sponsoring the sponsor! Well the coal, oil and gas industry sponsored Bush so that indicates that the Clear Skys Initiative, regardless of its title, would help the energy industry and thus not lead to clear skies at all, quite the opposite. Got it now?

So, let's apply that lesson to the bill College Access and Opportunity Act which was sponsored by the Hon. John Boehner who is pictured above. That bill, fortunately, languished at the end of the 109th Congress. However, like any cinematic monstrosity, there will be a sequel. Anyway, let's look past the benign title of the bill and see who sponsors its sponsor John Boehner. According to Campus-Progress Mr. Boehner receives tens of thousands of dollars from the for-profits educational industry (He receives lots of money from banks that make federally guaranteed loans to students too, but that is another blog entry). So considering the sponsorship of the bill, well the dual sponsors, John Boehner and well his sponsors, the for-profit education industry, one has to think this bill might have to do more with for-profit education's access and opportunity rather than anyone else! Hmmm, ironically enough, the bill may be appropriated named! Well, the lesson worked! This bill is a great boon or investment return for the sponsors aka the for profit education industry, an industry worth at least $26 billion and funded mostly by the federal government student aid programs. They win big if it passes.

Let's take one provision, language that would state that no regionally accredited school could reject a nationally accredited school's (most of which are for-profits) credits just because they are nationally accredited schools. We visited this topic briefly in a previous entry. This would mean that regionally accredited schools would have to evaluate every single credit in order to justify its rejection. To fully understand exactly what some of these nationally accredited schools teach, let's look at the schools the ACCSCT (American Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology) accredits.

The ACCSCT is the national accreditor which accredits Crown College and is a major force behind the transfer of credits legislation that would favor the schools it accredits. They are one of the largest national accreditors. According to their Accreditation Standards and the schools they accredit it becomes clear why regionally accredited schools are very reluctant to take nationally accredited schools credits. ACCSCT only accredits schools, as defined in I.A.11 of their Standards of Accreditation, which are "postsecondary institution with trade, occupational, or career-oriented educational objectives" not academic educational objectives! This fact becomes even more clear when one looks at the 802 schools they accredit, only a small percentage of which even offer degrees and a smaller amount still that offer bachelors degrees. Looking at a directory of schools they accredit. They accredit schools that teach massage therapy, refrigeration, helicopter aviation, pet grooming, cosmetology, and culinary arts just too name a few. The majority of the schools they accredit offer diplomas or certificates in trades and are obviously not academically oriented. It is also obvious why a regionally accredited school, academically oriented college or university would not want to accept their credits for transfer. To make these schools evaluate each credit is rather ridiculous. What cosmetology or pet grooming credits are going to transfer to the University of Washington or Yale University and how much money should they have to spend to "evaluate" them????

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

BCTI, CRI, Bryman and Crown College? Something in the Putrid Sound area? Yes, irregulation!

All in around a year or so, all these schools fell off the tightrope, between profiting and educating, the dilemma faced by all for-profit schools. Well in these cases the tightrope was between deceiving students and deceiving students so blatantly that they get caught! Remember its a business first and a school last. We have already covered Crown, let's look at Business Career Technical Institute aka BCTI, now there is a spectacular failure which is still being unraveled though the school has closed up shop. There is a huge class action lawsuit. BCTI seems to be the scam school of all scam schools and that's saying a lot considering its most worthy competition! BCTI amassed huge sums of money by sucking at the Department of Education and the State of Washington's teats not that either agency seems to care that much.

Bryman College, a component of the Corinthian Group which is one of the largest for-profit education companies, is being sued in Tacoma because the school allegedly misrepresented its medical program.

Regulation or lack thereof is certainly part of the problem here! Let's say that it is a "friendly regulatory market" for for-profit schools. Well its a friendly market for any thing that is for-profit. Regulatory agencies are lax, overworked or unduly influenced, or some combination of both.

Remember the savings and loan debacle and what caused it? The Reagan administration unregulated the S&L industry but continued to insure the deposits. So the S&L's got to gamble with the house's money. That's what we have here. These schools would not exist but for federal and state loans and grants and this situation is even more pernicious because of the victims. BCTI preyed on poor and unsophisticated people who will never escape the yolk of the loans that only BCTI benefited from.

I will quote from an article in the Tacoma News Tribune about BCTI by Dave Wickert of the Tacoma News Tribune:

"Its finances were shaky. Its graduation and job-placement rates were substandard. Its students filed lawsuits and complained.

Regulators saw the warning signs. But the Business Computer Training Institute remained open for years, and taxpayers continued to pay millions of dollars to support a school that hundreds of students say defrauded them.

BCTI, a Gig Harbor-based for-profit vocational school, closed last year amid government investigations and a student lawsuit. But government records show the school had a history of run-ins with regulators stretching back more than 20 years.

In the 1990s, federal officials twice threatened to stop funding BCTI, citing financial problems and high default rates on student loans.

A private accrediting agency doubted the quality of BCTI programs as far back as 2001.

Washington state officials dismissed student complaints similar to those now made by more than 400 students in a lawsuit in Pierce County Superior Court.

In each case, BCTI and its co-presidents, Tom Jonez and Morrie Pigott, evaded serious consequences – sometimes with the help of elected officials."

"These people were pros at skirting the law and skirting the ethics,” said Phil Rockefeller, a former U.S. Department of Education supervisor and now a state senator from Bainbridge Island. He oversaw one federal investigation of BCTI.

Irregulation, yes I made the word up but it should have been in the dictionary! State and federal regulators and accreditors had evidence of the fact that this school was failing financially and educationally, yet they gave it the benefit of the doubt or deferred to pressure from elected officials.

I have some knowledge of the Washington State Training and Education Workforce Board and this is not the first case where they were conned, or lured to sleep or overworked or [insert variable excuse]. The schools they were supposed to police got off, survived and kept receiving taxpayer money. Actually, that's a redundant statement since, survival for these schools is receiving taxpayer money.!

If the these regulators were police, I wouldn't even break a sweat if I saw one of them in the rear view mirror, because they'd let me off with a warning each time. Hmmm, maybe the state patrol and the Workforce Board should switch places...

Superior price for inferior product!

Why in the world would anyone pay such a SUPERIOR price for an INFERIOR Crown College, BCTI, CRI education? I know why. It's because it's SOLD to you that way in the admissions office. Even though most states make it against regulations to pay recruiters and admissions employees bonuses or commissions for students they recruit, a lot of schools get around it by giving their reps several "raises" a year instead. And we can only assume many get paid "under the table." But make no mistake about it - it's ALL about the money - and they do get paid well. Unlike the teachers who get a pittance by comparison. They're like bands - they only love you when they're playing. And you, the unwitting student, are the band's audience - they love you when you're giving them your money.

The first person you meet when you visit a private vocational school is the admissions rep. You are his mark, just as surely as if he were the hunter and you were the hunted. He is a SALESMAN - pure and simple - schooled in the art of covering people with snake oil and making them them think it's holy water. They could tell you to go to hell and have you looking forward to the trip - because they have been TRAINED TO DO SO.

Look at the video of Mr. Wabel telling you your credits may not transfer from his school while pointing at his catalog. You get no guarantee even after paying all that EXTRA money!!! And I bet the fine print in his catalog still doesn't tell the whole truth - that being they very RARELY transfer anywhere.

I have an inkling that video obviously isn't often played for prospective students in the admissions office. No - it was a broadcast after Mr. Wabel was sued! Very telling.

Beware - if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck .......

Sunday, April 15, 2007

A Crown College Admissions Rep Ate My Education!

This may happen to you because for-profit education admission representatives may have to eat your education so they can eat! This happened to numerous students who believed that their Crown College credits would transfer to regionally accredited schools aka real schools. Crown College, and many other non-profit school's like University of Phoenix and Career Education Corporation, admission representatives are not necessarily there to give you good advice, unless good advice happens to coincide with them getting you to enroll and make money for the school. Remember, these schools are businesses, just like car dealerships, insurance companies, pawn shops. If they can provide a good education AND make money, its all good, but if they can't, they would rather make money. Just make sure you remember that when an admission representative is telling you exactly what she or she thinks you want to hear. Adrienne Rocco, a former admissions representative at Crown College and told about how admissions representatives work in a declaration and a complaint to the ACCSCT.

At Crown College, a lot of students listened to the siren song of some admission representative and ended up wasting their time based on their lies. Things like the sound system is great, it wasn't, we have a fantastic curriculum, they don't, and the biggest one, our credits transfer, no problem. You could end up in the news!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Crown Charges $17k for a Non Transferable Associates Degree!!!

$17,000+ is a lot for the education Crown College will give you. Did you know you can go to a Community College in Washington, which is regionally accredited, they all are, and get an associates degree which you could transfer to another regionally accredited school like say University of Washington, a real school. And it will cost you a lot less! $3,600! Don't take my word for it. Read the table in this article.

Now, when you are funding your education with federal and state loans and grants, it probably doesn't seem like that much. I mean, when I went to school, the loan money was like monopoly money. The concept of paying it back, or even how hard or how long it would take to pay it back was not something I dwelled on. However, you will have to pay it back. The Department of Education may toss it around as if they are some kind of philanthropic axis of giving which Santa Claus heads but don't be fooled. They will hound you, garnish your wages, take your tax return out of your mail box and you cannot dismiss it in bankruptcy. The schools can go bankrupt, but not you. That is a lot of money to pay for a degree which is not transportable. In other words, you can't take the Crown Associates to most regional accredited schools and start on a Bachelor's degree or take the Bachelor's degree and start on a Master's Degree and you will have a hard time transferring the credits. It's only good for the field you get it on. Hmmm, what if there is no work in that field or you get tired of guarding prison inmates? Well tough, you gave up your flexibility when you ended up going to Crown College and getting a dead-end education.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Read this if you don't think these schools will lie to you!

This is a declaration from a former employee of Crown College. In it, this woman details how they mislead, deceived, and just plain lied to students, lied to their accreditation board, and lied to the Dept of Education. She filed a complaint with the ACCSCT also, Crown College's accreditor.

I am getting my education about how NOT to get an education. I wonder if anyone from the Department of Education even cares about the way they do business? I doubt it. They get their money back from the students so it's no skin off their noses if they are taken for a few million now and then.

Can someone please tell me if anyone who attended Crown College in Tacoma ever got a decent job in their field of study without starting over at another school?

Scam School?

You decide.

Why in the world would the operator of this Crown "College" have to point out that it's printed in his catalog that his credits may not transfer? Why isn't it printed on the contract in big bold letters? Or on the front door in big block letters? Simply because you might see it, that's why! Why call them "credits" when in effect, they are just like the little stickers we give our children for their charts when they brush their teeth and do their chores. Except they cost more!!! A lot more! This man is a businessman - not an educator. The operator of a corporation out to make a profit first and foremost.

I watched the video of John Wabel responding to the Black lawsuit on the crown college lies website. He comes across as a pedantic, self-righteous and arrogant little creep. My opinion - crooked as a dog's hind leg! Run for your life and hide your money. It feels like he's taking advantage of people who want to better themselves through education by selling them a bunch of lies - and getting paid for it through the federal student loan program.

If I didn't know better, I would say he could have run Business Career Training Institute (BCTI) or Court Reporting Institute (CRI) - two other scam schools in the Puget Sound area that received recent attention for cheating and lying to students. Join the club, Mr. Wabel. BCTI CRI, and CC (Crown College). Crooks College? One really must wonder.