National Security Agency Loves For-Profit Colleges

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Guess who’s monitoring information about America’s borders and protecting its security? It turns out it’s a whole bunch of people who attended open admission for-profit colleges, mostly online. According to a piece by John Cook at Gawker:

The National Security Agency, the supersecretive spy agency that’s supposed to be staffed with hypercompetent ubergeeks who are basically the only thing standing between us and terrorist havoc, pays tax dollars to educate its staffers at sketchy for-profit universities.

According to records we obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, NSA staffers have attended Strayer, the University of Phoenix, and Capella University—all of which have been caught up in one or another of the scandals facing for-profit education recently—in the last decade as part of its graduate fellowship program, under which NSA staffers get paid time off and a full ride to pursue “mission-related” graduate or undergraduate coursework.

The NSA graduate fellowship exists “to ensure NSA’s continued technical and managerial growth, NSA awards a limited number of full-time mission-related undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships annually.” So NSA is awarding taxpayer-funded scholarships to stockholders of education companies.

Of course the National Security Agency, which is basically in charge of collecting, decoding, and analyzing foreign communications, employs lots of people in low-level administrative positions that don’t require degrees from real colleges, but come on. This looks like a waste of money.

This is the same place that denies people jobs because they smoked pot a couple times. But Capella University, a school that advertises on the subway and operates out of strip malls, is totally okay? What kind of national security are we working on here? [Image via]

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