Domestic, Ethics, For-Profit, Recruitment, Required, Retention Rates, Student Loans, Universities & Colleges - Written by on Monday, September 10, 2012 6:00 - 0 Comments

Theatre Of The Absurd: A For-Profit College Recruiter Writes A Tell-It-All Play

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Tyler Kingkade at The Huffington Post has a good piece about an actor named Aaron Calafato who found himself moving to Cleveland, Ohio, and working for a For-Profit College (he won’t name it) because of the financial crisis that crimped his prospects in New York City. In his job as a recruiter, he found the recruiting tactics so outlandish and harmful to students, he decided to write a play about about his experience in the theatre of the absurd. Those for-profit colleges that further the student debt bubble and provide sub-standard education and poor management cultures will continue to find themselves the unflattering subjects of such literary and theatrical productions, which will immortalize, explore and illustrate the depths of the blight some of them have caused on the higher educational structure in the US.

Calafato took a job at a for-profit college (which he declined to name) for the health insurance and so he could make the monthly $1,500 payments on his loans. Then, Calafato said, he “realized the sort of predatory rhetoric” he was using to get students to enroll with his employer was “putting them into obscene amounts of debt” in order for him to pay off his own.

“I was morally challenged by some of the things I was asked to do there,” he told HuffPost. Calafato was let go for not recruiting enough students, and he began writing a play, which became the show ”For-Profit: Witness the Exploitation of the American Student.”

The show began to gain traction. Now 29-year-old Calafato is working with the Student Debt Crisis campaign as its artistic coordinator. Student Debt Crisis is trying to persuade politicians to address the growing mountain of debt under which college grads are often buried.

For-profit colleges have been under increasing media and government scrutiny. The Government Accountability Office found in a 2010 investigation of for-profit colleges that they were often using deceptive marketing practices, and federal investigations determined they targeted low-income students. For nearly every new regulation proposed by the Obama administration to rein in for-profit colleges, the industry hasattempted to fight back through court filings and intense lobbying of Congress. All while collecting $32 billion from the federal government through programs like Pell Grants, according to a Senate investigation.

The for-profit industry has spent nearly $40 million since 2007 to stop regulations designed to increase disclosures and to prevent students from taking on excessive debt. Those lobbying efforts don’t include money spent by financial institutions that offer private student loans, such as Wells Fargo, Sallie Mae, Discover and Chase. Wells Fargo alone has spent $19 million on lobbying since Barack Obama became president, according to a HuffPost analysis. Sallie Mae has spent $12 million during that same time period.

Via The Huffington Post


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2012-12-28 12:26

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