Monday, December 13, 2010

GAO Softens Report of For Profit Universities?

Very odd goings-on from the GAO.  The first report GAO report of for-profit colleges, complete with video, was scathing and didn't pull any punches.  It was pretty damaging to for-profits and created a serious call for reform.

Fast forward and now the report appears with revisions.  From the Washington Post article:

"GAO originally reported: "Undercover applicant was told that he could earn up to $100 an hour as a massage therapist. While this may be possible, according to the [Bureau of Labor Statistics] 90 percent of all massage therapists in California make less than $34 per hour."


The revised version states: "While one school representative indicated to the undercover applicant that he could earn up to $30 an hour as a massage therapist, another representative told the applicant that the school's massage instructors and directors can earn $150-$200 an hour. While this may be possible, according to the BLS, 90 percent of all massage therapists in California make less than $34 per hour."

In another example, the report originally stated that a college representative "told the undercover applicant that by the time the college would be required by [the] Education [Department] to verify any information about the applicant, the applicant would have already graduated from the 7-month program."

The revised version states that "the undercover applicant suggested" that possibility and the "representative acknowledged this was true."

Many calls for an investigation and testimony from GAO on why the changes were made.  To be honest, the report is just as damaging to for-profits so I don't think the changes really soften things too much.  The schools were wrong and the changes can't do anything about that. 

But this is Washington - and there is always a hearing about something.