I’m Gonna Be Sick

May 5, 2010 | Blog

My email inbox is full of stories sent by friends and colleagues who share my interests in higher education and public policy. I open dozens of links each day, and once in awhile I’ll pause, laugh, or stop and think. Rarely, however, do I find myself suddenly overcome with nausea.

Of course, there’s a first time for everything. Business Week reports: “The boom in for-profit education, driven by a political consensus that all Americans need more than a high school diploma, has intensified efforts to recruit the homeless.” No, I’m not kidding. The article goes on: “Chancellor University in Cleveland….explicitly focused recruiting efforts on local shelters after it realized that Phoenix, owned by Apollo Group was doing so.”

What world are we living in? So-called educators are hitting the homeless shelters in search of financial aid-eligible students to enroll in college? And they feel good about it? Says one recruiter: “I feel the homeless are a real population that can’t be ignored.” If I thought him possibly pure of heart and well-equipped with a battery of successful methods to academically and socially support these folks, I might be a little ambivalent. But come on, this is much simpler– let’s find them, enroll them, and allow them to fail out of colleges into a long debt-laden life.

Not how he sees it–says the recruiter, “borrowing by the homeless to pay tuition “is no different from a middle-class student who has to take out a loan.”” Huh?

Seriously, what has this world come to? Something is plain wrong. Government must intervene. Go, Department of Ed-GO!

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