Sunday, January 15, 2012

Full Sail Ahead

On the front page of today's Sunday New York Times, Eric Lichblau writes about Mitt Romney's abiding affection for for-profit colleges, especially Florida's Full sail University whose CEO is a major campaign donor.

At a town-hall-style meeting in New Hampshire last month, listeners pressed Mitt Romney on the soaring cost of higher education. His solution: students should consider for-profit colleges like the little-known Full Sail University in Florida.

A week later in Iowa, Mr. Romney offered another unsolicited endorsement for “a place in Florida called Full Sail University.” By increasing competition, for-profit institutions like Full Sail, which focuses on the entertainment field, “hold down the cost of education” and help students get jobs without saddling them with excessive debt, he said.

Mr. Romney did not mention the cost of tuition at Full Sail, which runs more than $80,000, for example, for a 21-month program in “video game art.”

Nor did he mention its spotty graduation rate. Or, for that matter, that its chief executive, Bill Heavener, is a major campaign donor and a co-chairman of his state fund-raising team in Florida.
Mr. Romney has received financial support from other segments of the for-profit college industry as well, and he was quick to praise the industry as an affordable alternative to traditional colleges.
[Romney] said schools like Full Sail and the University of Phoenix, a much larger and better-known nationwide system, offer students an alternative.

When students look at such schools, Mr. Romney said, “you’re going to find students saying: ‘You know what? That’s not a bad deal. I’m not willing to come out of college with a hundred thousand dollars in debt.’ The alternative is to say the government is going to pay for that.”

He added: “I just like the fact that there’s competition. I like the fact that institutions of higher learning will compete with one another, whether they’re for-profit or not-for-profit.”

The remarks appeared intended to draw a sharp divide between Mr. Romney and President Obama, whose administration has imposed tighter regulations on for-profit colleges and limited the role of private companies in student lending....

To read the article in its entirety, click here.


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