Kaplan’s Many Problems

Kaplan University is in trouble. With Congress and the Obama administration continuing their scrutiny of for-profit education, Kaplan now faces internal changes, from its own parent company. According to an article by Tamar Lewin in the New York Times:

But the bad publicity, and growing scrutiny, have taken their toll. Since its recent high last spring, Washington Post Company stock has dropped by more than a quarter. Other for-profit education companies, including Corinthian Colleges, in which the Post owns an 8 percent stake, fell even further.

Earlier this fall Post Company Chairman Donald Graham announced a new plan under which people can drop out of Kaplan for several weeks after classes begin without paying tuition.

Graham is involved in a heavy lobbying campaign to try and prevent the federal government from cutting for-profit schools off of federal funds.

Kaplan derives more than 90 percent of its revenue from the federal government.

Florida is currently investigating several for-profit schools, including Kaplan, for deceptive financial aid practices and misleading statements by recruiters. Former students and employees have also sued the school, arguing that the school was deceptive and engaged in legally questionable activities.

As former Kaplan admissions officer William Wratten said:

[Abusive practices] are not outliers; they are in the middle of the field, the middle of the bell curve. Maybe not the exact same activities, but the mind-set was the same: Do whatever it takes to get the sale, to keep your job.

The Washington Post did not cover this issue.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer