Buyer Beware

Posted on August 14, 2018

Well, it happened. The Trump Administration, in the person of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, has decided the time has come to remove responsibility and accountability in the for-profit sector of higher education.


For-profit postsecondary schools may no longer be expected – nay, required — to prove that the students they enroll and charge are able to attain decent-paying jobs. While I have often referred to students as college customers, the concept of Caveat Emptor never really entered the picture. It appears that, while Mrs. DeVos may not understand that phrase – it means Buyer Beware – she isn’t intellectually curious enough to find out.


And that’s a big part of the problem.


This simple requirement, which played a large part in policing and putting safeguards in place to support and protect students from being preyed upon by unscrupulous enterprises, is another regulation enacted during the Obama era that the Trump Administration has decided it is either unnecessary or onerous.


Politics and politicians aren’t the specific problems here. Political parties, while related in consideration, are not the problem either. People are. People who destroy the lives of other people by over-charging for an inadequate education that fails to prepare them for much of anything other than a life of debt.


At – and our close relative,  – our intent is to work exclusively with institutions that give a damn about students and outcomes and pricing and levels of debt and a truly valuable education. It doesn’t matter if schools are for-profit or non-profit; what matter is that they be held to count for their educational and business practices.


Our commitment to you is to stand up for you; to work with institutions that we deem appropriate and accountable.


Here’s a way to look at it: none of us will promote a school that we wouldn’t allow our spouses or children or siblings to attend.


So, if you’re 18 or 58, you now have one more thing to worry about – that the current administration is lessening the importance of accreditors and removing from schools their requirements to perform, prepare and protect you.


If you count on us to help you find your way to a college or university or certificate or professional training program, we pledge not to turn our back on morals or morality. If the federal government won’t, hopefully you’ll trust that we won’t sell you out.

Take 5: Five lessons I learned as a non-traditional college student

Posted on August 10, 2018

“August means back-to-school for college students.

For the parents whose new high school graduate is not shopping for the cheapest and still overpriced textbook in the world, let me ease your mind. Not all hope is lost if your child does not enroll in college directly after high school.

None of this is to say one way is better than the other, but as a non-traditional college student I learned a lot from observing and experiencing college as a 28-year-old freshman all the way to a 31-year-old senior….”


A Fight Worth Having

Posted on July 31, 2018 

I started a fight on LinkedIn last month. And I’d do it again. And this article for educators and by educators is exactly why.


What was the fight about? I had the gall – the absolute temerity – to tell higher education marketing executives that they need to look at prospective students as…are you ready?…customers!


They lost their minds. How could we possibly treat this institution of higher learning as a business? If we look at students as customers, then aren’t we turning education into a commodity?


My answer to their questions: In order to survive and it already is.


As this insane insider vs outsider battle raged, I read the attached article. It has helped me understand why we have this problem of understanding. We do speak different languages and more and more schools are making it more difficult to communicate across this chasm.


This article focuses on the concept of Chief Business Officers at colleges and universities. I focus on the concept of Chief Student Officers.


Higher Education exists to serve – students and society, business and industry – and the best way to do that is to focus with laser intensity on the audience you are serving. Professors (tenured all the way down to adjuncts with a few hours per semester) have a job. It is to teach you. That would make you, the student, the customer. Whether schools like it or not. Indeed, I would argue that students require a seat – or at least a voice via delegate — at every decision-making meeting at every institution. It is the only way to make sure our interests are being served, our voices are heard, and our future is in the right hands.


So, here’s the takeaway: when you review prospective schools – whether you are just starting out, seeking advanced training or going back to school to start over or change careers – try to consider BOTH the value of quality of education AND where you fit. If you are not being treated as a highly valued customer in what will likely be one of the two largest investments of your life, maybe you should consider additional options.


That’s why we built – to help you inform schools about what you need and want from them. You do it when you order a pizza, why not the basis of your career?





Artificial intelligence will take jobs, but it’ll also create new ones

Posted on July 24, 2018

Dear America – Fear is sometimes a good thing. It can motivate. It can force innovation. It can impose controls. But, other times, it’s just a big waste of time.

Here’s an example of both.

This technology-finance focused site spends a lot of time looking at the future. This section is a recurring nightmare for some…and a beacon of opportunity for others. It’s called AI Weekly, and is, as you might guess, a weekly look at Artificial Intelligence innovation, development and impact.

This week, they are trying to allay fears that the rise of AI or ML (machine learning) will destroy America’s working middle class because, well…computers can do your jobs.

NO, THEY CANNOT. You can do theirs’ – or at least participate in the process of creating and assembling the future. No matter how much education you may have.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a Ph.D. or an AA or a Certificate in medical office management, you can and must prepare to be part of the rise of the machines (yes, that is intended to scare the bejesus out of you).

Demand for hands-on work will never disappear – AI cannot repair a transmission…but it can help pinpoint exactly what’s wrong and give you a map to a solution. But staying current with the technologies that are disrupting your industry (now or targeted) is mandatory for all of us.

While there are computer folks who believe they can use AI and ML to create this blog post, I beg to differ. Sure, they can dump “the facts” in your lap…but make it understandable? I don’t think so.

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