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...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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