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.

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