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FRONTLINE: College, Inc.

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

Credit: FRONTLINE

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.

Trailer: Frontline: College, Inc.

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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.

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