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FRONTLINE: College, Inc.

Airs Friday, September 17, 2010 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Michael Clifford, educational entrepreneur with SignificantFederation LLC. Clifford, a former musician who never attended college, has amassed a fortune purchasing struggling traditional colleges and turning them into for-profit companies.

Higher education is a $400 billion industry fueled by taxpayer money. One of the fastest-growing — and most controversial — sectors of the industry is the for-profit colleges and universities. Unlike traditional colleges that raise money from wealthy alumni and other donors, many for-profit schools sell shares to investors on Wall Street. But what are students getting out of the deal? Critics say a worthless degree and a mountain of debt. Proponents insist they’re innovators, widening access to education. "College, Inc." follows the money to uncover how for-profit universities are transforming the way we think about college in America.

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Trailer: Frontline: College, Inc.

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Above: The business of higher education is booming. It's a $400 billion industry fueled by taxpayer money. But what are students getting out of the deal? Critics say a worthless degree and a mountain of debt. Investors insist they're innovators, widening access to education. FRONTLINE follows the money to uncover how Wall Street and a new breed of for-profit universities are transforming the way we think about college in America.

Comments

Avatar for user 'ashfordbridgepoint'

ashfordbridgepoint | May 7, 2010 at 10:05 p.m. ― 4 years, 6 months ago

The student is a pawn in the game of greed run by Ashford /Bridgepoint University that's for sure. Sorry excuse for "higher education". At first their programs seem like a good deal but it's actually a HUSTLE, It wasn't until an employee of theirs in student records, confided to me that they were lying to students to get them to sign up for classses, and when the student realized they were lied to and tried to get help and nobody answered the call. In fact, he himself had to ignore hundreds of emails and calls from students per day, because helping students did not earn them points in the competitive point system they work under. Customer service meant playing the voice messages of students to the rest of the coworkers and making fun of their stupidity and race. Desperate employees are hired from Craigslist by the bushel, usually their first job out of college, who did not look like the type of people I'd want handling my higher education. These same people are also able to obtain master's degrees through the company for FREE. Apparently they wouldn't get fired even after accidentally graduating a student a year early, or accidentally dropping them in the middle of the semester and then not refunding the student money or credit!

Student records, which are sensitive crucial information are handled by people who have no business or incentive to protect them. These records are not kept under lock and file, many are missing or piled up on employees desks for weeks at a time. Employees in their student record department are rewarded for quantity, not quality. Like how many can they graduate per day? Bridgepoint education/ Ashford university is going to market degrees internationally as well!

Does that make you feel like their 'higher education' is worth anything?

The saddest part is the people who thrive working at For-Profit Educational Institutions tend to total narcissists. Hired for the companies who are laughing and mocking auditors who dare investigate complaints from students.... Enjoying lavish indulgent company parties with all you can drink alcohol, showing videos of students from all backgrounds with strained smiling faces.. so happy to be given the chance for 'higher education'.... in this disaster of an economy as millions of people were laid off and desperate for someplace to turn. Talking about how rich they've gotten, how many degrees they sold, how many students are signing up..... Andrew Clark and the investors smiling and slapping each other on the back.

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