It seems crazy until you consider that DeVos is relying on a lawyer from Bridgepoint Education to advise her. For students who ended up at Ashford, though, it’s a perfect storm of awfulness.
Berkshire: I want to dwell for a moment upon the six words you just uttered. Not *it’s a perfect storm of awfulness* but *it seems crazy until you consider*… Again and again in writing about the DeVos/Trump education vision, I’m struck by how critics are focused entirely on the wrong metrics. A university with a 5.1 % completion rate, for example, seems like a *failure factory.* But if you understand that the goal is actually to hoover up federal money in the form of student loans while paying your executives a ton, the model makes cents. So do Bridgepoint’s *investment* priorities, like employing 1,700 recruiters but zero career counselors.
Crowley: Bridgepoint Education operates under a business model predicated on the funneling of public money into private sector pocketbooks. It’s essentially a private for profit company that is funded by taxpayers, who subsidize the entire industry through federal student aid programs. That’s money, by the way that could be invested in public programs. I would argue that the for-profit higher education system is the most heavily subsidized sector in the US right now. It’s not the military. It’s not Lockheed Martin. It’s not healthcare. It’s for-profit higher ed. And this is at the same time that states are reducing the amount of funding they provide to our public institutions. I work at a public university and we hear constantly about the state budget, *oh the state budget,* and being told that we need to figure out how to do more with less.
One other point I want to make: had it not been for the Senate HELP Committee doing their investigation and subpoenaing internal documents from Bridgepoint, no one would know any of this. If researchers wanted to study Bridgepoint and its approach to online teacher preparation, for example, the company doesn’t have to share any of that information because it’s a proprietary institution