Now that the U.S. Department of Education has taken decisive action against Corinthian Colleges for cooking the books on its job placement rates, I thought that it was worth revisiting a series of posts we ran on our retired blog Higher Ed Watch in 2011 warning of an emerging “for-profit college job placement rate scandal.” I hope these posts are helpful reminders that this is not just a problem at Corinthian Colleges but throughout the for-profit higher education industry.
• “A Widening For-Profit Job Placement Scandal” (August 2011): I started the series after Career Education Corporation revealed “improper practices” at a number of its schools related to their job placement rates. The post reports that this was not an isolated incident–similar misrepresentation was occurring at other for-profit college companies as well.
• “Tricks of the Trade School” (September 2011): How do for-profit college companies manipulate their job placement rates? This post reveals some common tricks.
• “Another Trick of the Trade” (September 2011): One for-profit college company found a creative way to inflate its rates: by paying employers to hire its graduates.
• “Is Anyone Minding the Store on For-Profit College Job Placement Rates” (September 2011): Accreditors and regulators have been asleep at the switch in monitoring for-profit colleges’ job placement rates.
• “Obama Administration Punts on Job Placement Rates” (October 2011): The Obama administration bungled an attempt to establish a standard methodology for career colleges to use when calculating these rates.
• “Who’s to Blame for Job Placement Rate Abuses at For-Profit Colleges?” (November 2011): For-profit college companies often blame “rogue” employees when improprieties are discovered in calculating these rates.
• “When it Comes to Job Placement Rates, It’s All About the Numbers” (November 2011): The drive to inflate job placement rates comes straight from corporate headquarters.
• “How the Widening Job Placement Rate Scandal Could Have Been Avoided” (November 2011): The Clinton Administration had a chance to prevent these types of abuses and messed it up.
It’s important to recognize that the Education Department’s investigation is not the first to reveal that Corinthian Colleges has been inflating its job placement rates. This article, which ran in the New Republic in January 2014, recounts how the California Attorney General’s Office in 2007 accused the company of deliberately and persistently misleading prospective students and regulators about these rates.
These posts and article show that questions about for-profit colleges’ job placement rates aren’t new, and they go far beyond Corinthian Colleges.