Monday, September 22, 2008

Alen Janish & CRI - How To Have Access to Federal Aid and Spend it Too

Most of you are aware of CRI and the way it masqueraded as a viable court reporting school when in sobering reality it was merely a vessel to enrich the clever cronies who had ventured upon a clever scheme to separate vulnerable students from government money. Yes, government money. Strange is it not? If its government money, why does it belong to the students you might inquire? Well it belongs to the students because its the students who end up having to pay it back...and that's forever!

Actually Janisch was a bit more advanced than many of the unscrupulous school operators out there. He managed to swindle not just the students but the Department of Education itself, actually not that difficult. The Dept. of Education has a requirement that a school must meet certain financial standards in order to participate in the financial aid program which is literally the lifeblood of any proprietary school since the students do not pay the tuition for most of these schools, they just have to pay the tuition back. Janisch, in order to meet this requirement, engaged in a version of Three Card Monty, with his finances and those of two of his cohorts or elves if you will. The Dept. of Education requirements are not difficult to anticipate inasmuch as they appear at the end of the year regularly, a bit like Santa Claus. Thus, if a school has enough money at the time the DOE checks their finances then they are good to go. Its as if Santa Clause only checks if you're naughty or nice at the end of the year, ignoring your behavior during the rest of it. Read the summary judgment in the CRI bankruptcy case to get an overview of how this worked.

So Janisch, made sure that he had enough money, jewelry, letters of credit, or whatever negotiable instrument he could locate to satisfy the DOE's predictable journey through his books and then as soon as they turned the corner, simply repatriated what ever collateral his friends had loaned him and went on on about his crooked business.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

National Accreditation's Use of Dept. of Education to Equate Themselves With Regional Accreditation

It's the argument that nationally accredited schools march out the most in their attempts to declare themselves the equal of regional accredited institutions. Since the Department of Education does not distinguish between regional or national accreditation, then they are equal and, more importantly, then all the institutions that they accredit are equal. For example, the latest incarnation of this theory arises in this letter which appears to have been solicited by the Distance Education Training Council, a national accrediting agency, to bolster their argument that all accreditation is equal.

The pertinent part of the letter reads: "The Criteria do not differentiate between types of accrediting agencies, so the recognition granted to all types of accrediting agencies-regional, institutional, specialized, and programmatic-is identical. Only the specific scope of recognition varies according to the type of agency recognized."

The Department of Education "criteria" has to do with what is expected of an accrediting agency not what is expected of the schools it accredits. What is relevant are the criteria that the accrediting agencies apply to the schools they accredit. Incidentally the Department of Education has nothing to do with the academic or transfer of credit affairs of any school. Thus, what the Department of Education thinks about accreditation is irrelevant. The letter appears to be solicited by the DETC to make the argument that because the Dept. of Education's Criteria for recognition of an accrediting agency is the "same" for all accreditors, then all accreditation is the same. Secondly, the letter clearly states in the second sentence that "... the specific scope of recognition varies according to the type of agency recognized." Thus the scope of recognition varies according to the type, sooooooooo, all accreditation is apparently not the same, contrary to the first statement. Criteria for inclusion as an accrediting agency has to do with Dept. of Education regulation and has nothing to do with the academics of the schools which are being accredited or the particular criteria applied by the accreditors to decide what school it will accredit.

According to the anon users' scenario and the letter purporting to support it, an accrediting agency which only accredits certificate granting vocational schools and there are some, would be equivalent to the American Bar Association or, in effect, a massage school is equivalent to Harvard Law School. This is, of course, ludicrous. What is relevant are the accrediting criteria of the particular accrediting body, the criteria which schools accredited by that body have to meet. There is obviously a difference between the accrediting criteria of an accreditor who accredits certificate granting purely vocational schools and the accrediting criteria of the American Bar Association, just as there are differences between the criteria of the DETC and other national accrediting agencies and that of a a regional accrediting agency. The Department of Education merely recognizes an accrediting agency for the purpose of whether or not the students attending schools accredited by that particular agency can receive federal loans and grants. The Dept. of Ed. does not pass judgment on the equivalence of the criteria of one accreditor vs. another. no distinction between national accreditors and regional accreditors there must not be one.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Career Education Corp.'s Cuppeance

Career Education Corporation one of the bigger players in the for-profit education sales-go-round has fallen on difficult times due to numerous federal investigations and journalistic exposes. They just announced that they were having to close several schools after vainly trying to sell them. Since 2005 CEC has been investigated by the Security and Exchanges Commission, the Justice Department and its Civil Division, the Department of Education and its most valuable asset, American Intercontinental University was put on probation by its regional accreditor. Now, where there is stink, there must be some dead vermin somewhere inasmuch as these agencies, especially under the Bush Administration, do not have that fine a sense of smell. There has to be outright stench for them to notice even a slight odor.

Well the problem of course is a business model that is fashioned after sales techniques a big city Three Card Monty player or a serpent lubricant vendor might employ. See, education is not a "final sale" were you can amber way from the transaction at an exponential pace. The mark sticks around for two to four years and in that time is quite likely to find out the falsity of any misrepresentations made during the sale. Now, you can continue the deceptions, however, it becomes increasingly more difficult and CEC ultimately failed.

CEC purchased many career schools around the nation, some of which were venerable or long standing institutions such as California Culinary Academy, Brooks Institute of Photography, Brooks College, Katharine Gibbs School, Lehigh Valley College and then applied a business model more suited to a penny stock boiler room than offering education which is almost a public utility when you consider its importance to individuals and society at large. Let us hope that they are in the process of rethinking this strategy.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Florida Metropolitan University "Settles" With AG over Transfer of Credit "Allegations"

Florida Metropolitan University, has morphed into Everest University and "settled" the Florida AG's inquiry into their transfer of credit wrongdoing. The settlement is humorously redundant and rather hilarious as they basically are going to agree to do what they were already doing, which was "assisting" their students in transferring credits which they knew were not transferable and are still not transferable. This is tantamount to Kevin Trudeau settling an action with the FTC by assisting persons who bought a phony cancer cure, with having the cancer cure work. Coral calcium doesn't cure cancer and the credits that FMU assured its students would transfer to regionally accredited schools are not going to suddenly be transferable simply because most FMU is going to "assist" the students in transferring them. If the portion of the settlement wherein the FMU/Everest will be forced to "better disclose" the fact that the credits do not transfer or i.e., stop lying about them transferring, then it will be beneficial.

Nationally accredited schools complain about the fact that regionals will not take their credits. Whether or not this rejection is fair or not is not the issue, they know that their is a transfer of credit problem, yet do not disclose it to their prospective students and then point to the plight of the students who predictably cannot transfer the credits. So they use the students as unwilling food solders and designated victims in their fight with the regionals. This is illustrated very well by this statement in the article:

"FMU representatives have long maintained that the school has been up-front with prospective students. They also say the problem lies with the transfer schools, for wrongly rejecting credible FMU credits."

The absurd contradictions in that statement would torch any brain cell trying to deal with it. So don't try, you will only hurt yourself. If FMU had been upfront with the students about known credit transfer issues, why would those students be surprised that their credits would not transfer? FMU is like a car dealership that sells you a car that they warrant is perfect when you know it isn't and then getting angry at the unaffiliated service station that will not fix it for free. What's worse still, the cars can never be fixed!