Charlotte Allen decries the failure of for-profit education:
What happened? How did a for-profit college model morph into today’s basement-reputation for-profit model, exemplified by Saturday Night Live’s fictional “University of Westfield,” where the students mainly learn how to fudge the fact that their degree are from the University of Westfield? I blame the corrupting influence of federal money, the easily available Pell grants and guaranteed loans that began to flow with the passage of the Higher Education Act of 1965. Easy federal money has contributed to a vast growth in enrollments at both non-profit and commercial institutions, a ballooning of tuition costs, and, in the for-profit sector, a focus not on the academic outcomes that might build a school’s reputation as a selling point but upon getting as many bodies as possible into their classrooms.
There are some lessons for the non-profit education world in what is happening here, I would think. Specifically, the corrupting influence of a single-minded focus on budgets and enrollment, without sufficient attention to one’s academic mission.
In a later comment, she clarifies:
The point of my piece is that wherever you have free money, you have rent-seeking — and also disincentives to provide quality services when you can coast along on mediocre services.