It Could Have Been Worse

Inside Higher Ed reports that yesterday’s hearing could have been a lot worse for for-profit colleges:

Rumor had it, in the days leading up to Wednesday’s hearing before a House of Representatives committee, that officials from the U.S. Government Accountability Office were preparing to screen a video for lawmakers that showed officials at an unidentified for-profit college giving would-be students the answers to a test designed to gauge whether they have the “ability to benefit” from a higher education. The alleged misbehavior by the college official had already been made public — it was by far the most explosive accusation made in a GAO report issued last month — but the vision of an ACORN-like video that might live for eternity on Youtube and Metacafe suggested that Wednesday’s hearing could be explosive and make life extremely uncomfortable for for-profit colleges.

The incident at the unnamed for-profit college did get a multimedia airing before the House Education and Labor Committee — in the form of audio, not video — and the apparently egregious violations of federal law had some members of the audience burying their heads in their hands and squirming in discomfort.

I would be curious to find out the decision-making process that led to the audio, but not the video, being aired. The audio was pretty bad as it was, but there’s a pretty big gap between audio and video when it comes to garnering wider attention.

Jesse Singal

Jesse Singal is a former opinion writer for The Boston Globe and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. He is currently a master's student at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Policy. Follow him on Twitter at @jessesingal.