UPDATE: For whatever reason, the ABC News video embed code doesn’t work properly. Here’s the direct link to the video. Enjoy!
Last night, ABC Nightly News ran a story on the for-profit “education” industry, including how these people dupe prospective students into believing their “degree” will guarantee them a good job, rip off the taxpayer (to the tune of $24 billion in student loan and grant money in 2008-2009 alone), even recruit customers from homeless shelters. According to the intro to the ABC News report, “a government report of 15 for-profit schools says 4 of them encourage fraud, and that all 15 engage in deceptive practices.” It’s truly heinous.
So, Chris Cuomo sits down with the for-profit “education” industry’s lobby group head, Harris Miller — once the “placeholder candidate” nearly foisted on us in 2006 by Democratic powers in Virginia, until the grassroots rose up and “drafted” Jim Webb — to ask him some questions. The exchange in the last minute or so of the video is priceless. Check it out, after the “flip.”
Steve Eisman, Hedge Fund Manager: These companies are marketing machines, masquerading as universities.
Chris Cuomo: …the schools seem to recruit practically anyone, like Benson Rollins, who lives in a homeless shelter in Cleveland, Ohio…Lobbyist Harris Miller says, even though these schools serve an important role by providing higher education to students who would not ordinarily get a degree, he admits the recruiting practices at many for-profit schools need to be changed.
Harris Miller: We should not have a situation where that many bad occurrences are being visible.
Chris Cuomo: You got caught.
Harris Miller: No, there are always problems, there are problems in traditional schools too.
Chris Cuomo: 15 for 15 in the GAO report.
Harris Miller: That’s right.
Chris Cuomo: You get the government money, why don’t you give some back to these people who’ve been stuck after your improper solicitation.
Harris Miller: That’s something we’re gonna look at it.
Chris Cuomo: Look at what, you don’t have anything on that. What do you have in place to pay the people who are carrying [Cuomo is cut off — presumably, he meant to say, “massive student loan debt”]?
Harris Miller: Nothing.
The sad thing is, as painful as the interview is, Chris Cuomo’s aggressiveness towards Harris “The Shiller” Miller is totally justified when you look at the for-profit “education” industry for which he lobbies (and makes beaucoup bucks doing so): a huge scam that rips off the taxpayer to the tune of billions of dollars per year, which deceives prospective students, and which saddles them with massive debt and worthless degrees. As Steve Eisman says, these “schools” are nothing “marketing machines, masquerading as universities.” Call your Congressman and tell them the government should cut off these con artists and shut them down, ASAP!
P.S. For more, see this diary on a Frontline story back in May of this year.