Education Professor's Book Explains Negative Effects of For-Profit Colleges
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Education Professor's Book Explains Negative Effects of For-Profit Colleges

June 14, 2016

Quick Facts

bullet point Called "Diploma Mills," the book explains why the $35 billion for-profit industry negatively affects students, taxpayers, lawmakers, and the many others who have viewed higher education as the promise of a better life.
bullet point Angulo labels for-profit colleges as "diploma mills" that target low-income and nontraditional students, and scoop up a disproportionate amount of federal student aid.

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ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA — The latest book by Winthrop University Education Professor A.J. Angulo outlines how the emergence of for-profit colleges has led to broken American dreams for many students.

Called "Diploma Mills," the book explains why the $35 billion for-profit industry negatively affects students, taxpayers, lawmakers, and the many others who have viewed higher education as the promise of a better life. The online and storefront institutions lure students with claims of fast degrees and "guaranteed" job placement, but what they deliver is often something quite different, writes Angulo.

He labels for-profit colleges as "diploma mills" that target low-income and nontraditional students, and scoop up a disproportionate amount of federal student aid.

Angulo said his research uncovered how such schools have had a chequered past since the colonial era. His study includes the transformation of 19th-century reading and writing schools into "commercial" and "business" colleges, explores the early 20th century's move toward professionalization and progressivism, and explains why the GI Bill prompted a surge of new for-profit institutions.

"There are important lessons to be learned from this history," he said. "From the earliest for-profits right through to Trump University, these schools were founded to make money. And the pressure to turn a profit forces these institutions to cut corners and make unrealistic claims. The pattern is surprisingly consistent, making it very difficult for them to live up to basic professional, ethical, and academic standards."

Well-founded concerns about profit-seeking in higher education have evolved over the centuries, Angulo writes, and he argues that financial gaming and maneuvering by these institutions threaten to destabilize the entire federal student aid program.

Angulo is the Elizabeth Singleton Endowed Professor of Education in Winthrop's Richard W. Riley College of Education. He has also completed three other book projects: "Miseducation: A History of Ignorance-Making in America and Abroad," "Empire and Education: A History of Greed and Goodwill from the War of 1898 to the War on Terror," and "William Barton Rogers and the Idea of MIT."

This latest book is published by John Hopkins University Press.

For more information, contact Judy Longshaw, news and media services manager, at 803/323-2404 or longshawj@winthrop.edu.


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