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In what may mark an early sign of more favorable treatment of for-profit colleges under the Trump Administration, the U.S. Department of Education has announced delays for colleges to submit appeals or public disclosures relating to gainful employment rules, Inside Higher Ed reported.

Gainful employment rules -- created during the Obama Administration -- establish performance standards for for-profit colleges that tie their eligibility for federal student loan funds to their graduates' rate of success in loan repayments after entering the workforce. Republicans and Trump Administration officials have indicated that they will seek to curb or eliminate gainful employment rules.

In the recent announcement, the Department of Education granted roughly three-month delays to for-profit colleges to make filings relating to their gainful employment performance. According to Inside Higher Ed, the Trump Administration's Education Department said in a written statement that it decided to make the new delays to "allow the department to further review the gainful employment regulations and their implementation."
 
 
The owner of a California for-profit school chain has pleaded guilty to immigration fraud after being accused of running a "pay-to-stay" scheme involving foreign nationals who would falsely obtain immigration documents allowing them to remain in the U.S. on student visas even though they were not actually students, Inside Higher Ed reports.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of California announced that the school owner, Hee Sun Shim, 53, agreed to forfeit $465,000 seized by investigators as part of a plea deal in which he faces the potential for a sentence of up to 15 years in prison.

Prosecutors claimed that Shim's four schools collected tuition from and issued immigration documents to individuals who were not genuine students and had no intention of attending classes at Prodee University, Walter Jay M.D. Institute, the American College of Forensic Studies and Likie Fashion and Technology College.
 
 
A cosmetology association is suing the U.S. Department of Education over gainful employment rules that tie schools' eligibility to receive federal student loan funds  to their graduates' job performance.
 
Inside Higher Ed reports that the American Association of Cosmetology Schools, which represents about 750 institution, is seeking in a lawsuit filed last week to obtain relief from  U.S. Department of Education gainful employment regulations.

According to Inside Higher Ed, "The organization argues that gainful employment undercounts cosmetology graduates' income because many self-employed workers rely on gratuities and are paid in cash. Many cosmetologists simply underreport their incomes, according to the organization."
 
 
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is poised to renew efforts to eliminate oversight of for-profit colleges in the state, according to a report in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

According to the newspaper, the budget that the Republic governor introduced last week calls for eliminating the Educational Approval Board by January 2018.

"The governor proposed getting rid of the board in his 2013-15 executive budget as well, arguing then that doing away with it would lift unnecessary financial and regulatory burdens on for-profit schools," the newspaper said. "Opponents countered that the board plays a key role in overseeing the schools and the Legislature's finance committee ultimately nixed the idea as it revised Walker's budget."
 
 
A for-profit college president says he that he was terminated after offering to shelter a homeless student in the school's library on the school's Missouri campus.

The president of Vatterott College, Brian Carroll, told a local television state that the student, who is schizophrenic, had run of medication and lacked shelter when Mr. Carroll made the decision to allow him to stay in the school's library amidst a winter storm in January.

Mr. Carroll said that the student neither stole nor damaged property, but corporate officials at the school discovered that the student had been allowed to stay in the library through surveillance cameras and fired Mr. Carroll for putting college property at risk.

A school spokesman told the television station that the company does not comment on personnel matters.

 
 
DeVry University's parent company is agreeing to settle allegations in New York that the for-profit school misled students about the job and salary statistics of its graduates.

In announcing a $2.75 million settlement in which DeVry neither admitted nor denied liability, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement, "DeVry used misleading claims to lure in students who were simply seeking a college degree, greatly exaggerating job and salary prospects for graduates."

DeVry Group said it was "pleased this matter has been resolved, particularly as DeVry University implements recently announced student commitments and as we continue our focus on investments that directly support our students’ success."

Most of the settlement funds will be used to pay restitution to graduates.

DeVry had previously agreed to settle similar allegations brought by the Federal Trade Commission for $100 million.
 
 
A federal class action lawsuit has been lodged against a for-profit nursing school in Maine, alleging that InterCoast Career Institute's nursing education program at its Kittery campus is a "sham" that has taken advantage of vulnerable students.

The lawsuit, filed this week in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine, alleges that the school filed to provide about 300 nursing students between 2011 and 2016 with quality education needed to obtain licenses and jobs.

According to the lawsuit, InterCoast, which opened its nursing program in 2010, targeted its $36,000 per year program to students in northeaster Massachusetts with radio, video and print ads.

If you are a current or former student, faculty member or administrator of a for-profit school and have concerns about whether the school has taken unfair advantage of its students, you may share your concerns with an attorney by completing this form or calling the attorneys who run this blog at 248-502-0862.
 
 
Sage College, a California school specializing in training court reporters, suddenly closed this week, stranding about 350 students who received e-mails about the closure only days earlier, according to a report in the Riverside Press-Enterprise.

The newspaper reports that, "Sage College is the latest in a series of private for-profit colleges to abruptly quit the business. Unlike some other such institutions, however, there were no claims that the school had a bad actor. Instead, it fell victim to the actions of its accrediting agency, the Accrediting Council of Independent Colleges and Schools." 

In December, the accreditor, ACICS, lost a final appeal to retain its standing with the U.S. Department of Education to retain its status as an accrediting entity.  As a result, schools like Sage lost their accreditation status because they had been accredited by ACICS. Such schools had 18 months to find another accrediting agency.

Sage disclosed via an FAQ page this week that it had discovered it would be difficult to gain accreditation from a different entity. “We learned that Court Reporting programs do not meet required benchmarks to qualify for the approval process,” the material says, “therefore moving forward in that direction was not a viable option for us.”
 
 
Two for-profit colleges based in Minnesota are closing their campuses in several states  after the U.S. Department of Education denied them further access to federal student aid funds.

The schools, Globe University and Minnesota School of Business, offered programs in Minnesota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, the two for-profit schools were denied federal student aid in December 2016 after the U.S. Department of Education "said they had committed fraud with Title IV funding and 'knowingly misrepresented' transfer eligibility for their criminal-justice programs." 

Globe has indicated that students will be able to transfer to Broadview University, another for-profit school,  for "teach out purposes."  Minnesota School of Business students will be able to continue in classes through January 2016, and its students in a nursing program will reportedly be able to transfer to Concordia University of St. Paul.
 
 
Another for-profit school's sudden closure has left students reeling, uncertain as to where to go to complete their education and what to do about the time and money devoted to school programs that they cannot complete.

Star Career Academy, based in Cherry Hill, N.J., "regretfully informed" students, faculty and administrators on November 15, 2016 that the company was ceasing operations effective immediately. Star's offerings also included Culinary Academy of Long Island and ServFast Computers. The company had campuses in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

CBSPhilly reported, "Students received the notice through an automated text message and now must figure out what to do about the time spent, the money gone and the credits which may not be transferable. 'I had 10 days left to complete the program all together,' one student said."

In a statement, the school said, "Star Career Academy’s closing is the result of the negative financial impact of a continued declining student population while operating in the challenging for-profit post-secondary school industry. Star Career Academy has done everything in its power to prevent closure after operating for 37 years and providing a supportive educational environment for thousands of students.