Mitt Romney

For-Sale Romney Is A False Prophet For For-Profit Universities


The New York Times panned Mitt Romney—on its weekend front page no less—for claiming that the way to cut soaring college tuition is through competition by for-profit colleges. "Mitt is shamelessly shilling for his donors," was the story's not-so-subtle message. And about that, the Times might well be right. After all, Bill Heavener, the chief executive of Florida's Full Sail University that Romney singled out twice during campaign stops as his model, has contributed $2,500 to Romney's campaign (as has his wife), the maximum allowed. Heavener also gave $45,000 to Restore Our Future, a Romney "super Pac" as did C. Kevin Laundry, the chairman of the private equity fund that owns Full Sail.

None of this would have mattered if Full Sail actually had a record of providing an affordable, quality education. But NYT found that the college charges more than $80,000 for a 21-month program in "video game art" that graduates just 14 percent of its 272 students on time and only 38 percent at all. And its students carried a median debt load of nearly $59,000 in federal and private loans in 2008.

This is pretty damning stuff— and Full Sail might well be the dog that NYT makes it out to be. But remember what they said about the University of Phoenix? Its recruitment practices are over aggressive. It's over priced. Its class hours are skimpy. Its graduation rates are low. Its faculty and instruction are sub par and yada, yada, yada. All of this was absolutely true, Katherine Mangu-Ward's 10-page investigation of the university two years ago found—but also utterly irrelevant. That's because, she explained:

The university aims to meet underserved demand for post-secondary education, tailor-made to fit the individual circumstances of harried adults. Like other for-profit schools such as DeVry and ITT, Phoenix offers the educational equivalent of a subprime mortgage: not the best product the industry has to offer, but a potentially valuable option for people who might not otherwise get into a desired market.

As with subprimes, a nonnegligible portion of consumers won't be able to stay afloat, exiting school moderately poorer and perhaps not much wiser. But the students who do graduate—like the millions who use subprime deals to gain a firmer foothold in the housing market—have a much different story to tell. Their tales are not about sunshine on the quad, Saturday night football games, or ivy-covered walls. They're about a kind of practical, bare-bones education that you never see in coming-of-age films but that is usually superior to no education at all.

In other words, context matters, and, call me cynical, but I just don't trust the NYT to offer it. For-profit colleges offend liberals so much that they'd find something wrong with Aristotle's Lyceum if it happened to make money.

That said, I think Romney is wrong even about the substance of his claim. I don't think for-profit colleges can cut tuition rates any more than private schools have helped rein in the cost of the public K-12 system. They might make a difference on the margins, but they are no panacea. Why? Because when government pours money into an industry, it bids up the price of the factors of production for everyone. Doling taxpayer dollars to public universities means that they can: pay more to hire professors (which is not an entirely bad thing as my husband works for Michigan State University); spend more on erecting Club Med campuses with hot tubs in dorms etc. etc. And private universities that wish to compete have to match the salaries and facilities offered by their public school peers or go out of business.

Hence, the first step in cutting college tuition inflation is to get government spending out of higher education—not getting for-profit colleges in. But don't expect Romney to say that — unless, maybe, if a donor pays him to do so.

Perhaps we should start a collection?


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  1. Jesus is this shit depressing.

    We’re gonna have to choose between President Furious Solyndra and Mittens “I Get Speakers’ Fees From Time To Time, But Not Very Much ($362,000 last year alone) and hey, I ‘probably’ only pay about 15 percent in taxes anyway

    What’s fucked up is that in terms of libertarianism Romney is the only candidate who is at least lying about his desires to shrink government. Obama despises the idea.

    So we have that going for us, which is nice I guess.

    1. Gee, and I thought nobody understood me. Welcome to most of my adult life. Can you see why I’ve been so excited since Ron Paul started polling double digits?

      1. Did you see Uncle Ron’s performance at the debates last night?

        If you like the guy, don’t let him get nominated. He’ll just get embarrassed. And I agree with most of what he says.

        No one left besides Mittens has a shot in hell of beating the Chosen One.

        Mittens. Really.

        And now I has a sad again, and must go drink.

        1. “No one left besides Mittens has a shot in hell of beating the Chosen One.”

          Not much good if the person who beats Obama basically continues all of his policies, as Obama continued Bush’s.

        2. I just won’t have a pony in this race then… again. It gets tiring having a choice between tyrants, or registering a protest vote.

          1. Another Shit Sandwich/Giant Douche slugfest this November.

      2. “Can you see why I’ve been so excited since Ron Paul started polling double digits?”
        No, he doesn’t have a chance.

        1. Of course he does. It may still be an outside chance, but the second-place candidate when only a few small states have voted can hardly be said to have no chance at all. This isn’t 2008.

          1. Intrade has Ron Paul being elected president at 2.5%.

            Maybe wishful thinking putting it that high, but I’d say he has a non-zero chance of winning.

        2. It isn’t about him having a chance as much as it is about seeing the number of people grow who have a decent sense of life. Ron Paul has doubled and tripled his numbers from 4 years ago. That’s a lot of relatively young people coming our way. And they’re changing the landscape. We aren’t as fringe as we were just a few years ago.

          1. ^^THIS^^

            This election cycle is about more than getting Ron Paul elected. It’s about laying the field for more libertarianism.

            That Team RED primary races have RP polling 20% or higher in the early stages is a good sign that perhaps things are ripe for a huge shift in the near future. Libertarianism is more than a fringe. 1 of 5 or better shows it clearly.

            1. Hope so, but we’re up against Team Statism, which comes in two colors…

              1. I agree.

                But even a small portion of Congress would make a big difference. We don’t need enough to control it; just enough to prohibit shit from going through unchecked (aka Obamacare). 10% would change the dynamics of our political quagmire significantly.

                Getting the WH would be huge as well.

                The battle is up hill, and it appears that we won’t be rid of rank statists. Ever. But ANY influence is a good one.

                1. Doling taxpayer dollars to public universities means that they can: pay more to hire professors (which is not an entirely bad thing as my husband works for Michigan State University)

                  Sorry guys, it will never happen. How in the fuck could Libertarianism ever take political hold when it’s supposed practitioners do not follow it’s principles? You work for a “Libertarian” publication decrying coercion and wealth transfers while your husband, and yourself, benefit greatly from the same?

                  1. Roadzzzzzzz!

                    1. Oh, of course. Driving on public roads is just like making 6 figures working for the Department of Education. Are you claiming that a principled Libertarian would take any form of welfare also, since they drive on public roads? You validate my point.

                  2. I suppose you missed in the very next breath she writes:

                    Hence, the first step in cutting college tuition inflation is to get government spending out of higher education?not getting for-profit colleges in.

    2. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  2. Stop trashing America’s CEO. When your fucking worth a couple hundred million, 362,000 is a drop in bucket. Romney is fucking loaded, he’s fucking Mormon, he’s a Masshole, he’s likes to play footsie with the wrecking ball of the military industrial complex – -he’s flawed, dammit. But he is not a European Socialist and he won’t grab our guys. So cease and desist from calling attention to his many flaws — WE FUCKING GET IT.

  3. that is: won’t grab our guns.

    1. Republicans aren’t above passing bullshit gun laws.

      1. Reagan managed to do all kinds of damage in California, and didn’t he sign the bill outlawing civilians from buyin machine guns manufactured after 86?

        Republicans can blow me just as hard as democrats

  4. What is with these stupid children trying to act like journalists with this tripe? You’re not a journalist. Get a damn job and do something with your life.

    1. Patience, the Times wasn’t bankrupted in a day.

  5. If we just ended the federal student loan program, watch these schools dry up.

  6. I’m for RonPaul 2012, but if drops out i’m voting for Mittens because I need a fucking job. I will vote for Obama or satan himself before I will support a Santorum (google it) let alone a tweaked out cabbage patch doll like Newton Gingrich.

    1. This is how Hitler came to power. We need moral virtue. We need a man of substance like Santorum (google it) or a soothsaying fundamental change agent and Freddie Mac lobbyist like Newton Leroy Gingrich in 2012. *white static resumes*

      1. You’re on the internet. Everyone here has already googled Santorum.


    1. Dude, you’re fucking crazy.

      1. Umm, I think you owe this guy an apology. Rick Perry has been highly successful in his life. He’s married to a great CHRISTIAN woman. He is a college graduate and commander and chief of thousands of warriors who protect our borders for the drug runners and Jack in the Box employees. He has wonderful hair. And was a highly intelligent agricultural commissioner. Some of the Ron Paul supporters need to take a bath!

        1. You forgot the s/ — /s/ tags

          1. No. She just thinks she’s at a Team RED website rather than one that has actual (fiscal) conservative values.

  8. I ate a possum the other day. Callista worked her magic all over it. Then we had sex on the display case at Tiffany’s. Freddie Mac has made me, fundamentally, a change agent across the cheaper suburbs of America. WAR IN 2012!

    1. I think I am going to puke now.

      1. Don’t puke in the flute.

    2. That should be “War in 2013”. Inauguration is in January, not the fucking day after the election.

      1. i know you think you’re smart, but elections are all about choices. Uno mas tequilla.

        1. You’re a douche.

      2. The Iranians released the hostages as soon as Reagan was elected, not waiting for the inauguration. They might not wait for Neutron to get his finger on the bunker buster button if they know it was coming.

        1. The Iranians released the hostages as soon as Reagan was elected, not waiting for the inauguration.

          Not in my timeline. The Iranian govt made sure they did not clear their airspace until immediately after Reagan’s oath of office. Speculated that they wanted to deny Carter any claim he “freed” the hostages on his watch.

          1. Reading you again, are you talking about the suddenly productive release negotiations in November and December?

            The election most certainly had an impact there. But the release was not assured until January 20th, 1981.

  9. Why would private, for-profit universities drive down the cost of post-secondary education in a way that private not-for-profit universities have not? The not-for-profits are certainly willing to compete with public universities. What makes the for-profits any different?

    As long as the student loan market is distorted by the non-dischargeability of student loan debt, don’t expect any competitive pressures to bring the cost of education down. Without that distortion, I doubt many of these for-profit schools would even exist.

    1. ^ this.
      So long as they’re both sucking the public teat, the difference is that the non-profits aren’t as well run, while the for-profits are run well enough to collect, say, 5% for the investors.

    2. Agreed. It has to do with the unlimted cheap money, not whether an institution is called “for profit” or not. Students have to start making their college decisions based on how much it costs. Only then will schools start competing on bringing their price tags down.

  10. We can’t trust Flip Romney. In other words: He’s a Flippin’ Mormon. He is also from Massachuetes and he is rich. We need an unprincipled, pork chop from the swag part of Georgia who is a fundamental change agent and a highly sucessful lobbyist for Freddie Mac. Remember The Mountain Meadows!

    1. Hi Idiot. It’s schwag, not “swag”. Hope this fucking helps. Low grade marijuna in 2012!

    2. Dude, I think you just got PWN3D by a Mormon!

  11. I am a false prophet! The Gold Plates are a superstition!

    1. False prophet or prescient gold bug?

  12. *white static*

  13. Together and alone at last. Giving truth the Gingrich treatment!

    1. “You better know I know what hard times is”

  14. Bring me dope, cocaine, a new wife, and a new roster of GOP candidates. I will try to be good.

      1. Ahh, you’ve done grand, laddie. Now you know what you have to do. Burn the house down! Burn ’em all!

  15. The vast majority of these comments make absolutely no sense. Tuesday’s a little early in the week to be hitting the bottle in earnest, don’cha think?

  16. You said it. Something’s in the water (or air) tonight. Hopefully we can get back to the prickly pedantic pretentiousness of petrified personages in short order.

  17. Vote for Obama?
    Vote for Romney?
    Have my penis cut off?

    1. It is said that the Amish vote on their knees. Perhaps they are on to something.

  18. As bad as Mutt Rummy is, it’s better to take money from universities and suck up to them on the campaign trail than it is to take money from racists and write racism in your newsletter.

    1. You’re so clever.

      1. No, mustard isn’t clever; mustard is boring.

        1. Hot mustard is not boring. Put a little of that with some sour kraut on a brat and wash it down with a cold Guinness served in a frost stein mug and you will know heaven.

          1. Spicy horseradish mustard is the shit. It does make you shit, though. Also got to have that chinamustard on egg roll.
            Mayonnaise is boring. Except for cajun mayonnaise.

          2. Yeah, but the poster ain’t *hot*; s/he’s boring.

    2. Still on the Max-pad, eh, mustard?

  19. What the hell happened to this thread already?

    1. Better ask quick.

  20. WRT education, it’s interesting Full Sail was brought up since I’ve also looked into them before and have discounted them.

    There are other non-degree schools that provide post-secondary education that are career and/or skills focused which don’t rely government subsidies or loan programs to grab students. You can go to traditional art university or a ‘modern’ art university and pay through the nose or be in massive debt, or if you don’t need a degree (or have one already) there are other schools teaching the same skills for much much less.

    1. “There are other non-degree schools that provide post-secondary education that are career and/or skills focused which don’t rely government subsidies or loan programs to grab students.”

      From the article:
      “And its students carried a median debt load of nearly $59,000 in *federal* and private loans in 2008.”

      Maybe I’m missing the point, but see that *federal* up there? Comment?

      1. ??
        I was referring specifically to other schools, particular those that don’t offer degrees (Full Sail and University of Phoenix do)

        1. Oops. Thanks.

  21. This thread is being trolled hard.

    1. rather’s super-manic phase, I think. Yesterday she was shitting up the threads with Dadaist nonsense from “Cleverbot”.

      1. Rev. Blue Moon, I think you are as foolish as the person you accused today; look into the mirror

    2. Mardy Fish lost, heller. Again. And he was being a whiny bitch about it too.

      1. I didn’t catch any of it because of work. What did he say?

        1. He was getting pissy during the match because he wasn’t playing well, yelling at his trainer and friends, and then started complaining to the ref that Falla was getting too much medical attention for leg cramps (which was somewhat warranted, but the way he did it was whiny).

          Nadal just won, and now Donald Young is up on Court 6, and I really want to see him win.

          1. “The room’s startin to spin real fast… cause of… cause of all the gayness”

  22. And for your amusement, CA cities are now desperately searching for a replacement for the slush-funds which were formerly used to employ poor, drunken Uncle Max until the court said “No!”:
    “Cities struggle with ending redevelopment agencies”…..1MP58K.DTL

    1. “Thousands of city workers empty their desks. Offices go dark. Rows of deteriorated buildings may sit untouched.

      This is how California’s redevelopment program dies.”

      Thanks. Those sentences made me giggle a lot.

      1. If there is any justice, we’ll hear stories like this from all around the country.

      2. Rows of deteriorated buildings may sit untouched.

        If they’re so fucking deteriorated, then the redevelopment goons weren’t doing their jobs anyway, were they?

        Note also, that any sentence that contains the word “may” does not have its meaning affecting by inserting “or may not”.

  23. So… it’s *okay* for, say, Bill Clinton, to get speakers’ fees… do I have it right so far?

    1. Pretty much, yeah.

  24. Nothing about the premier of Justified?

    I am disappoint.

    1. Oh yeah, I sort of forgot about that show, I’ll have to download the second season.

      1. And it appears from episode 1 of season 3 that you will need to have seen season 2 for it to make sense. At least early on.

        1. Season 3 seems to be when dramas tend to go down the shitter. Not always, of course, but many run out of steam and turn melodramatic or repetitive on S3.

          1. Let us hope this is not the case with Justified.

  25. This is like the worst chat room ever.

    1. This is like the worst chat room ever.

      And yet here you are.

      Tired Guy|1.18.12 @ 12:56AM|#

      Impressive. You really know how to raise the bar. Maybe you should write for The Atlantic.

  26. “which is not an entirely bad thing as my husband works for Michigan State University”

    Government spending is good when it benefits me, is that your reasoning, Shikha? Sounds like a pretty low bar.

    1. Via Alan Vanneman: “Sherlock Holmes and the Giant Roadzzzzzz! of Sumatra.”

  27. Who shat the thread?

  28. not for profit universities don’t sell subprime degrees as well? what was OWS about other than that?

  29. Man I never would have thought about it like like that. Makes sesne dude.

  30. Romney also got donations from Todd Nelson, of EDMC.

    The private loans created by for-profit colleges like “AI” Art Institutes, run by EDMC, and other for-profit colleges were given out ala sub prime housing crisis. These balance were nothing more than a supplement to jack up the prices so they could maximize FEDERAL loans, grants, and GI Bill Money. They lure in and target low income people with big dreams by creating impulsed based programs that in reality have no value in the real world due to their low pay. They fluffed the value of these degrees. Their recruiters lied. Their loan officers lied. They knew these loans go bad. They’ve created a system that the Department of Education doesn’t see it happen in the 2 year window. I firmly believe that the schools’ loan officers were rewarded to steer students to these absurd private loans. I know in my case, I was told that Private loans were “loans from Sallie Mae, our preferred FEDERAL lender.” abusing the relationships the schools had prior to the healthcare laws. They have Sallie Mae and their subsidiaries push students into deferments and forbearance and then Sallie Mae collects the defaulted government loans. The private loans are written off in their books far away from the eyes of regulators investors, and anyone who could change the system and most of all parents. These students are now trapped in these balances. The lenders have NO incentive to work with students. The students can’t declare bankruptcy. The players keep lobbying away more and more rights so they win. Its the perfect scam. By the time the student is aware of what is happening, they’re locked in balances they can never afford and their legal right to sue the schools is either expired or taken away with arbitration agreements, hurried through in high pressure “interviews”.

    These for-profit colleges must be stopped and all students should be refunded. This is the new subprime crisis. Why else would Goldman Sachs own 41% of EDMC

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