Monday, July 30, 2012

Taxpayer Money Pours into For-Profit Colleges!!! Love that old Free Market?

I'm catching on. Taking our hard earned taxpayer dollars so we can fill the pockets of for profit private sector businesses and CEO salaries, is okay if it supports free market principals. Especially in the education.

Republicans are big on privatizing public schools because they say competition in the free market will raise the quality of education, and get government out of the way. Government is known for stifling innovation. If you believe that you're a sucker or horrifically unqualified to influence public policy.

In what could be a precursor to privatizing K-12, see how private sector colleges are soaking taxpayers because...well, they can. If the following is okay with you, where taxpayer money is used to supercharge the free market, then I think I'm starting to understand conservatism. Paying public employees a decent wage is bad, paying a private sector CEO or corporation is good.  
NY Times: Wrapping up a two-year investigation of for-profit colleges, Senator Tom Harkin will issue a final report on Monday — a voluminous, hard-hitting indictment of almost every aspect of the industry. “In this report, you will find overwhelming documentation of exorbitant tuition, aggressive recruiting practices, abysmal student outcomes, taxpayer dollars spent on marketing and pocketed as profit, and regulatory evasion and manipulation. These practices are not the exception they are systemic throughout the industry, with very few individual exceptions.” According to the report, which was posted online in advance:

-Taxpayers spent $32 billion in the most recent year on companies that operate for-profit colleges, but the majority of students they enroll leave without a degree, half of those within four months.

-Among the 30 companies, an average of 22.4 percent of revenue went to marketing and recruiting, 19.4 percent to profits and 17.7 percent to instruction.

-Their chief executive officers were paid an average of $7.3 million, although Robert S. Silberman, the chief executive of Strayer Education, made $41 million in 2009, including stock options.

-The bulk of the for-profit colleges’ revenue, more than 80 percent in most cases, comes from taxpayers.

-On average associate-degree and certificate programs at for-profit colleges cost about four times as much as those at community colleges and public universities. An internal memo from the finance director of a Kaplan nursing program in Sacramento, for example, recommended an 8 percent increase in fees, saying that “with the new pricing, we can lose two students and still make the same profit.” Similarly, the chief financial officer at National American University wrote in an e-mail to executives that the university had not met its profit expectation for the summer quarter, so “as a result” it would need a midyear tuition increase. Republicans called the study “a hostile partisan effort.” 
For Republican voters, that’s good enough for them. But is a little more regulation and oversight needed to protect taxpayer money?
Democrats generally arguing that greater regulation is needed to prevent huge publicly traded colleges from plundering the Treasury for student financial aid while leaving students with crippling debt and credentials that are worthless in the job market. Many Republicans see such colleges as a healthy free-market alternative to overcrowded community colleges, offering useful vocational training and education to working adults who will not attend more traditional institutions. 
Again let’s be clear, spending, and basically plundering taxpayer coffers, is okay in the name of freedom and capitalism. It is not okay for taxpayers to support themselves as public employees.

1 comment:

  1. Same with Ryan's health care proposal. What they mean by a free market is they want to destroy public schools and health care programs so the private markets will no longer have any competition. But they do this by using government to redistribute wealth through tax collections to fund vouchers for the private markets because even in their "free world" the private markets can't stand on their own - w/o vast government redistributive collectivism. And the helpless democrats can't create a winning message out from some think tanks to defeat this? Sometimes I get the idea they would rather join it than beat it.