Another privatizing boondoggle . . .
My son and I went on a two-week road trip that ended yesterday, 4,000 miles, three ballparks, two national parks, and a lot of blue highways.
During that time, I was stuck with USA Today as my newspaper of choice at the motels we stayed at (though I would also buy a copy of the local paper when available — anyone that thinks the Republic is bad ought to take a look at San Francisco’s largest paper, the Chronicle — it’s awful and awfully tiny).
In one edition of USA was a feature on the Senate report on private, for-profit colleges (you can read the article here).
The report’s conclusions? ”For-profit” seems more important than “college” for these schools.
Our Republitarians love to rake Obama over the coals for Solyndra. But the amount of money — $32 billion a year — these for-profit schools get from the government make Solyndra a bargain.
And what do taxpayers get for that largesse going to those schools?
Only 18% of their funding goes to instruction (public universities spend 21% on instruction); 24% on marketing; making a nice 19% profit. Oh, and the leaders of these schools average $7.3 million a year in salary — think Michael Crow’s making anywhere close to that.
And what do the students get from these schools?
A 54% drop out rate.
96% of students on loans (vs. 50% at non-profit schools).
A loan default rate significantly higher than that of non-profit schools’ students.
And what’s most delicious about the whole for-profit schools?
They are almost entirely supported by . . . oh, not the private sector.
Nope, almost entirely by us, the taxpayer.
Which means? We keep a failing enterprise afloat, one the conservatives like to tout as an “alternative” to traditional schools.
But it gets better.
Today, the paper features a column by Mark Brenner, a senior VP for the Apollo Group, which runs the University of Phoenix (you can read the column here).
He’s more than a little bent about the Senate report, and goes about the task of “refuting” it . . . with nothing but platitudes about the efficacy of the for-profit school his company runs.
He doesn’t dispute a single finding from the report.
Someone’s a little nervous about the Golden Egg being cracked.