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Katie Peppers

Thank you for the post. It brings into light what education has done over the years. However, the more advanced education becomes the more commercialized it becomes. I was reading this weekend that ads were being published on school newsletters. How commercialized we have become.

Jordan Trunner

This post really had me thinking about this particular issue in way I havent before. Its something I do believe we need to talk about more. Thankyou.


Incredibly insightful article. I attended a for-profit school and outperformed every single one of my traditional college peers, earning 100K by age 27 and manged many by the age of 29. I have traveled internationally for work since age 27 and was financially able to take a year off at age 30 to study world philosophy and religion and invest in real estate. I can truly say that having the first-hand experience of senior leadership and coordination with local businesses contributed in large part to my success. Its nice to see someone recognize for-profits for being innovators in higher education. They are there because they are serving a purpose and the model should be RESPECTED.

Lloyd responds: Thanks, Emily, for the first-hand perspective.

Josephine Reid

Great article. The reality of the higher education in the U.S. as compared to foreign countries is surreal. I have always thought that education should be free. There is talke everyday from the media about educational conditions from district to district but yet we continue to offer education for a price that is beyond low-income families reach. So are we punishing low-income citizens in this country? Everything is about making a quick buck. Listen up people, low-income citizens can not afford to pay back loans that are pushed at them by financial organizations and higher education financial aid offices. Private universities are particularly hit by the unwillingness of students to pay back loans leaving the institution in a debt ratio that peeks above the normal range. If the mission of the university is to educate students and make them productive citizens, then why can't they figure out a way (this starts with the government) to make education a free pass.


Very interesting article. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. We certainly need new discourses on the subject. It's shame that so many people still buy into the old paradigms of what conventional education represents. Times are changing, but most educational institutions are not--to the peril of the students and ultimately society. In the end, we can't wait for the world of education to change. We, as individuals, need to change the way we view ourselves and our role in the world. The challenge is, who is going to help us break our trance? Not sure there is an easy answer to that, blogs like yours certainly help. I also recently launched my own blog in hopes of doing the same. www.dontgetburnedblog.com Keep up the good work.

Ed Cooper

I have been saying to people that this era is 'déjà vu all over again' ---the often quoted Yogi Berra-ism.
These are similar issues to the mid-seventies concerns that the Feds had with proprietary post-secondary education institutions...and resulted in an array of constrictions on PSE that remain (and many of us fought against in that era).
Recent (and not so recent) experience in a variety of industries---show that rules are made to be broken/stretched (the financial industry makes proprietary education look like minor league players in comparison). Making tighter rules tends to be the course we take to solving rule-bending and out-right unethical behavior. In the end, as Rebecca suggests above, the appropriate ethical moral compass of the company will be the only gauge that will stay a reasonable course for the institutions and the consumers.
We've known for a long time that the accreditation models were not 'great' evaluation models. Increasing the standardization of the evaluation models across the US and improving the methodology will be essential for the long-term governmental and proprietary investment in Post-secondary Education.
Ed Cooper

Lloyd replies: Thanks Ed for your on-target comments. I agree with your "ethical compass" conclusion, although several companies seem to be doing great lately without one! I also agree with your emphasis on improving evaluation - I think that would open up and improve the field of education enormously.


Working at one of the large for-profits has convinced me that this is the inevitable culling of the herd that happens in every industry from time to time. The weak and unethical will fall, the strong and better behaved will move forward, and traditional higher ed will still be behind the 8-ball to up its game or stop complaining. My current hope, however, is for three things:

First, that this will shine the light on the entire industry, not just one part of it. If traditional higher ed wanted to and could provide for all the students there would be no need for for-profit. But they don't and they can't. The traditional model is broken and needs a re-imagining if it is to survive going forward.

Second, that this will serve as a wake up call to the for-profits to clean house a little and be more explicit about their values. Mine had already begun the process but hadn't moved nearly fast enough and is now caught in the maelstrom. This will serve as a somewhat painful lesson in keeping ahead of the curve and using the flexibility that comes with the for-profit model to move quickly.

Third, that this will drive the re-evaluation of the accreditation system. Students don't understand it (leaving many attending "accredited" schools that are accredited by all but made up organizations), schools pay for it creating an explicit conflict of interest, and it doesn't REALLY do what people seem to think it does. Accreditation doesn't guarantee anything beyond the minimum. If we want to judge quality, we need another way.

Lloyd responds: Thanks Rebecca, for an excellent insider's comment. Your points are really on target.

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