Fancy Magazines Buy Un-Fancy Colleges

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Emboldened by the success of certain media companies moving into proprietary education, several of America’s magazines of ideas have purchased or created their own for-profit colleges in an effort to help support unprofitable, though apparently valuable, journalism ventures.

Last month The National bought the for-profit Hudson University for an undisclosed sum, apparently betting that high tuition and low overhead costs will allow the company to siphon money into the publication, which usually runs in the red.

The historically liberal, and non-profit, Mother Smith magazine somehow managed to scramble together $35 million to purchase a 25 percent stake in Academy of Design University, a for-profit graphic design school in San Francisco where tuition is $15,000 a year.

Several other low-earning, high status publications are reportedly trying to raise money to buy online schools which, due to the largess of the federal government, continue to post profits every quarter despite low graduation rates and rumors of poor employment prospects for graduates.

The Jupiter Group, which owns America’s largest for-profit college, announced that it’s not for sale. “Well, except maybe to Conde Nast,” said spokesman Aaron Gunderson.

The Columbian Journalism Review, which is somewhat awkwardly owned by a real college, has decided to just go ahead and purchase a for-profit one, announcing Tuesday that it’s now the proud owner of Capello University.

The Washington Monthly, for its own part, is finalizing plans to purchase Lola’s Beauty School, a cosmetology college with 78 students in Silver Spring, Maryland. [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