The AFMTE, Biofreeze & BonVital’ 2015 Educators of the Year Winners!

The AFMTE, Biofreeze & BonVital’ 2015 Educators of the Year Winners!

 

The Alliance for Massage Therapy Education is pleased to announce the winners of the 2015 AFMTE, Biofreeze, and BonVital’ Educators of the Year Award. Juliebeth Mezzy is the recipient in the teacher category and Ariana Vincent is the recipient in the continuing education category.

 

“As educators it is our duty to provide our students with quality education. But as the needs of our community and students continues to change and increase, so must the standard of teaching. It is important that the standards of teaching continue to elevate in order to keep up with the continually evolving expectations of students, as well as the demands of the environment we are meant to prepare them for” said Ariana.

 

The pool of applicants was of high caliber. Each applicant had to rate themselves on 4 out of the 10 Standards from our NTESP Core Competencies for Massage Therapy Teachers. These standards describe the knowledge, skills and attitudes that form the basis for effective and successful teaching. This award honors excellence in massage and bodywork education and serves to foster a culture that supports raising the standards of excellence in massage and bodywork education. The recipients are chosen based on their experience, teacher training taken, and how well they meet the core competency standards.

 

“This award is the culmination of every class I have written, instructed, revised, laughed at and cried over. It is dedicated to students. Without them, my soul’s purpose may have gone unnoticed” shared Juliebeth.

 

Ariana Vincent

Ariana received a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin in 1979. She also participated in graduate studies in psychology at the JFK University and counseling at Texas State University. She regularly takes courses to improve her technical and teaching skills. She has been offering continuing education classes since 1999. In addition to hands-on courses, she also has a 30-hour course for massage therapy instructors on Teaching Adult Learners.

 

Juliebeth Mezzy

Juliebeth has been in the field of professional bodywork for over 22 years. She has been teaching at the Cayce Reilly school since 2000. Her major focus is on reflexology, palpation lab, and chair massage. The majority of her teaching training has been informal, mainly through teacher training sessions offered at her school, and the ABMP Instructors on the Front Lines seminars.

Please join us at the 2015 Educational Congress in Minneapolis to hear from these winners (as well as the 2014 winners: Whitney Lowe and Cate Miller) as they share about the specific ways they demonstrate their commitment to excellence in education.

 

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About the Alliance:

The Alliance for Massage Therapy Education serves as an independent voice, advocate and resource for the massage therapy and bodywork education community. Our mission is to support, strengthen, and elevate educational practices and standards in massage therapy and bodywork. The Alliance may be contacted at 1232 Bonefish Court, Fort Pierce, FL 34949. The phone number is 855-236-8331, the general office email address is admin@afmte.org, and the website is https://www.afmte.org.

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EOTY-winners 2015

AFMTE SUPPORTS CONSOLIDATION AND COOPERATION IN A SINGLE LICENSING EXAM AND A CONTINUING EDUCATION APPROVAL PROCESS

(Fort Pierce, Florida – November 3, 2014) – As a representative of the community of continuing education (CE) providers, and schools that sponsor CE at their institutions, the Alliance for Massage Therapy Education (AFMTE) has maintained a position that there needs to be a single national-level approval process for CE providers and courses.

A decision last month by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB) to “implement a program that provides reliable, unbiased and appropriate vetting of continuing education providers and the classes offered to the consuming public” is of deep concern to our organization and its members. The Federation’s action completely ignored the largest existing CE approval program in our profession, administered by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB), and that is utilized in whole or part by 27 state massage regulatory agencies.

Adding another administrative process to the mix will not improve public protection, but it would needlessly increase the cost and burden to CE providers and sponsors who already face redundant requirements with the NCBTMB program and a number of state boards that have their own CE approval programs.

Instead of creating a new and duplicative approval system for CE providers and courses, AFMTE strongly recommends that FSMTB partner with NCBTMB to be able to utilize their well-established Approved CE Provider Program which will better serve the needs of FSMTB and their Member Boards. AFMTE believes consolidation of this key function will be beneficial to all who are involved with the provision, approval, regulation and utilization of continuing education in our profession. A cooperative model, grounded in a legal agreement and with collective oversight of the program, will also resolve the problem of Improper Delegation of Authority that state boards currently have with their use of NCBTMB’s Approved CE Provider Program.

Having consistent standards is one of the hallmarks of a full-fledged profession. Several years ago, the AFMTE endorsed the Massage & Bodywork Therapy Examination (MBLEx) offered by FSMTB as the optimal single-source exam for our field. We encourage the FSMTB and NCBTMB to finalize an agreement whereby NCBTMB will cease to offer its examinations for licensure purposes in favor of the MBLEx.

This is also the opportune time to consolidate state and national CE approval processes as well. AFMTE stands ready to work with both FSMTB and NCBTMB to ensure that a single-source CE approval program is created and administered that meets the needs of all stakeholder groups. We see this as a balanced and mutually-beneficial solution that will advance the profession.

Alliance for Massage Therapy Education Provides Feedback to Federation of State Massage Therapy Board Regarding the Model Practice Act

August 15, 2014 — For Immediate Release

Alliance for Massage Therapy Education Provides Feedback to Federation of State Massage Therapy Board Regarding the Model Practice Act

The Alliance for Massage Therapy Education (AFMTE) issued an official statement to the Federation of State Massage Therapy Board (FSMTB) thanking them for the opportunity to comment on the publication of the FSMTB’s proposed Model Practice Act for massage therapy (MPA). After reviewing the document, AFMTE board members shared their feedback based on personal beliefs, public comments, member feedback, an evaluation of the MPA and a thorough discussion of the potential effects of this act.

The Board issued this formal statement “The Alliance for Massage Therapy Education would like to thank the FSMTB for the time and effort spent on this project for our profession.” The Board included “We sincerely respect your time, efforts and expertise. Statutes are difficult to create, and often the best intentions and deliberations miss something or do not recognize opportunities or potential. We submit these comments and suggestion based on our collective experience as educators, massage therapists and partners and on behalf of our membership.”

There were four main sections the Alliance offered feedback; Sections 102 -105. The Alliance provided a public copy of their response here: Alliance feedback regarding Model Practice Act

Alliance names the AFMTE, Biofreeze & Bon Vital’ Educator of the Year Award Winners!

The Alliance for Massage Therapy Education is pleased to announce the winners of the 2014 AFMTE, Biofreeze, and BonVital’ Educators of the Year Award. Cate Miller is the recipient in the teacher category and Whitney Lowe is the recipient in the continuing education category.

The pool of applicants was of high caliber. Each applicant had to rate themselves on 4 out of the 10 Standards from our NTESP Core Competencies for Massage Therapy Teachers. These standards describe the knowledge, skills and attitudes that form the basis for effective and successful teaching. This award honors excellence in massage and bodywork education and serves to foster a culture that supports raising the standards of excellence in massage and bodywork education. The recipients are chosen based on their experience, teacher training taken, and how well they meet the core competency standards.

Whitney Lowe
Whitney has been teaching continuing education courses for 20 years. His primary areas of expertise are clinical massage and treatment of pain and injury conditions. He has also taught a number of courses on improving teaching skills. The teacher training he has received has predominantly been informal, but extensive. In addition to these training experiences, nominee has engaged in an extensive self study of learning theory, instructional design strategies, presentation skills, and cognitive science.

Cate Miller
Cate received a BA in Philosophy and Education from the University of Buffalo, NY. She has been teaching since 1982, first at the Educating Hands School of Massage, then the Florida School of Massage (1986-present), and the Sedona School of Massage (2006-present) hydrotherapy, Her major focus is on NMT, hydrotherapy, anatomy, pathology, and ethics.

Please join us at the 2015 Educational Congress in Minneapolis to hear from these winners (as well as the 2015 winners) as they share about the specific ways they demonstrate their commitment to excellence in education.

 Educators of the year awared winner 2014 announcement

Annual Membership Meeting to be held online

Annual Membership Meeting to be held online

Alliance for Massage Therapy education announce plans for 2014 annual meeting

The Alliance for Massage Therapy Education announce final dates for the Annual Membership Meeting will be July 14, 2015. Normally their annual meeting takes place during the yearly Alliance Conference. Since the Alliance made the decision to forgo a 2014 Conference to prepare for the 2015 Educational Congress, the annual business meeting will be held online.

This is a new endeavor, that is most cost effective for members to participate in the comfort of their surroundings without having to travel.

“In the absence of a live Alliance conference this summer, the Board of Directors wishes to create an opportunity to connect with our members (albeit remotely) to inform them about our business operations and the committee work we’ve been engaged in during the past year ” says Pete Whitridge, President of The Alliance.

The meeting agenda will include updates on Finances, the upcoming BOD elections, Teacher Education Standards project, next year’s Educational Congress, Marketing and other committee projects.

The Alliance has allotted time for question and answer so that all members have an opportunity for their voice to be heard. All Alliance members will be emailed the meeting details and are encouraged to make plans to attend.

If you would like to find out more about becoming a member visit www.afmte.org/membership


 

social media posting

AFMTE Press Release Call for Applications Educators of the Year Award 2014

Contact: 

Cherie Sohnen-Moe csohnen-moe@afmte.org

Phone: 855-236-8331 Fax: 786-522-2440

Release Date:

Immediately

 

AFMTE, Biofreeze, and BonVital’ 2014 Educators of the Year Award

 

We are proud to announce that we are now accepting applications for our 2014 Educators of the Year Awards.

The Alliance for Massage Therapy Education recently published our NTESP Core Competencies for Massage Therapy Teachers. This document includes ten standards, each of which describe the knowledge, skills and attitudes that form the basis for effective and successful teaching. As part of this, we have also established the Educators of the Year Award (1 for a teacher in a school setting and 1 for a continuing education provider). This award honors excellence in massage and bodywork education and serves to foster a culture that supports raising the standards of excellence in massage and bodywork education. The recipients are chosen based on their experience, teacher training taken, and how well they meet the core competency standards.

Each nominee is required to complete an application and return it on or before May 31, 2014. Educators can directly apply or be nominated by a colleague. Winners will be announced and contacted directly on July 15, 2014.

Each winner receives the following:

1 year Membership in the AFMTE

1 free registration to the 2015 AFMTE Educational Congress

$1,000 Stipend (for travel, lodging and miscellaneous expenses) to be reimbursed at the conference
 

Award

Over $500 in Free Product packages from Biofreeze & BonVital’ featuring their top product lines (retail value approximately $250 each)

A slot in the panel discussion at the 2015 Educational Congress

 

Last year’s winners were Elaine Stillerman, CE Provider and David Lauterstein, Teacher.

The Alliance Deems Complete Collaborative Support at 2013 Conference

NEWS RELEASE  

AFMTE Logo

For information contact:
Pete Whitridge, President
pwhitridge@afmte.org

September 3, 2013 –
For Immediate Release

The Alliance Deems Complete Collaborative Support at 2013 Conference

 AFMTE-2013-Conference

At few conferences do educators have access to every educational organization quite like they did at this year’s Alliance for Massage Therapy Education Conference. Ruth Werner, President of the Massage Therapy Foundation, Anne Williams, Director of Education for ABMP, Karen Armstrong, VP of the FSMTB, Kate Zulaski, Executive Director of COMTA, Sue Toscano, Chair of the NCBTMB, and Winona Bontrager, President of AMTA  participated in a panel discussion and answered questions from attendees.
 

From the beginning, the Alliance’s mission has been to serve as an independent voice, advocate and resource for the entire education sector – from entry-level massage training programs through post-graduate studies.  The Alliance provides that common ground where all can have a seat at the table and share the common goal of raising the standard of Massage Therapy Education.
 

The Alliance is the only organization that brings Schools,Teachers, Continuing Education Providers and Allied Members together under one roof…and come together they did! This year the Alliance hosted their most well- attended conference to date!  This year was by far the largest of all educational conferences with over 130 attendees and 22 exhibitors.
 

Even bigger were some of the topics for discussions including our responsibilities as a profession to participate in the Affordable Care Act,  as introduced by one of the Keynote Speakers, Janet Khan, MD.
 

Other discussion topics included how to best inform the education community about the Core Competencies and brainstorming ideas on how to make them more user friendly and palpable learning modules.
 

Whitney Lowe’s insightful keynote address on how to motivate today’s students generated many conversations with attendees. Technology was a key topic for them thanks to Whitney’s presentation that introduced many to new teaching concepts such as the Flipped Classroom, MOOCs and the concept of badges as part of the credentialing process.
 

It was apparent that many liked the concept of badges. A common idea generated in all the different small group discussions on how to take the National Teacher Education Standards Project (NTESP) to the next level was the sum total of a number of badges leading to a certification or diploma. This type of feedback was exactly what the National Teacher Training Curriculum Development Committee had hoped to achieve at the conference.

The Alliance re-elected Stephanie Beck to the board as well as elected two new board members Gloria Lawrence and Eric Polgar. The Alliance held elections for the leadership Development Committee and Lisa Parenteau was a new electee.
 

Over seven hundred dollars was raised for the Massage Therapy Foundation. Seated massage was coordinated by the Massage Envy St. Louis Regional Director during the Thursday evening Opening Reception co-sponsored by Performance Health/Biofreeze and Massage Envy.
 

David Lauterstien and Elaine Stillerman were awarded the AFMTE, Biofreeze, Bon Vital Educator of the Year Awards.
 

A complete 2013 Conference library of photo albums is available here:  AFMTE 2013 4th Annual Conference Photo Albums  you can sure to share your favorites with your friends and customers.
 

Overwhelming feedback from a variety of school owners, educators, continuing education providers, exhibitors and organizations created an opportunity for a 2015 Educational Congress, a single gathering of the various groups who are committed to excellence in massage education. Many expressed the convenience of having one educational conference. The economic benefits of having to make travel arrangements for only one conference as opposed to multiple events would enable many companies and organizations to offer a level of support they would like to provide but just are not able to do now. So the Alliance is excited to announce they will be forgoing a 2014 conference in hopes that in 2015 we will be able to have an Educational Congress with all Educational Organizations.
 

In summary, we feel it was one of the most successful conferences yet.  It was very rewarding to have feedback from Continuing Education Providers, School owners and teachers that are currently implementing the Core Competencies. We also received tremendous feedback from attendees on how to move the Core Competencies forward. We believe we surpassed our goal for creating a culture of teaching excellence by creating a core of collaboration and unity from all organizations. It was great to have all sectors represented and coming together at the table to discuss and share with a common goal.

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Alliance Announces Winners of Educators of the Year Awards

 

DavidElaine

 

NEWS RELEASE

For information contact:
Pete Whitridge, President
pwhitridge@afmte.org

June 11, 2013 — For Immediate Release

ALLIANCE ANNOUNCES WINNERS OF EDUCATORS OF THE YEAR AWARDS

June 4, 2013 – The Alliance for Massage Therapy Education announced the winners of the AFMTE, Biofreeze and Bon Vital’ Educators of the Year Award (one award for a teacher in a school setting and one award for a continuing education provider) on the AFMTE Facebook page. David Lauterstein is the recipient of the Teacher Award and Elaine Stillerman is the recipient of the CE Provider Award.

Each winner receives a one year AFMTE Gold Membership, one free registration to the 2013 AFMTE Annual Conference, a $1,000 stipend (for travel, lodging and miscellaneous expenses) to be reimbursed at the conference, and more than $1,000 in FREE product packages from Biofreeze and Bon Vital. Both winners will have a five-minute slot at the 2013 AFMTE Conference to highlight their accomplishments and commitment to excellence.

“I am honored to be receiving this award and recognition from my colleagues. As a teacher of continuing education for nearly 25 years, I am very proud to share and espouse the same values in the quality of education as the AFMTE. We all must continue to encourage excellence in our teachers and our students,” said Elaine.

This award honors excellence in massage education and serves to foster a culture that supports raising the standards of excellence in massage education. The recipients were chosen based on their experience, teacher training taken, and how well they met the core competency standards.

Applications were accepted from January to April of this year and were reviewed by a committee. Rubrics were assigned to the different sections, and two winners were chosen. The final selection committee included a representative from each of the following organizations: the AFMTE Board, Biofreeze, and Bon Vital.

According to a representative from Biofreeze, “The committee chose Elaine and David, who exemplify the core competency standards which form the bases for effective and successful teaching. That combined with their experience and training, really showed their dedication to education. Performance Health is very pleased to see these two veteran educators honored with this award.”

“We wanted to acknowledge educators in this field, without a requirement that they (or the schools they teach at) are members of any specific organization. Also, there are many excellent continuing education providers that go unrecognized because they aren’t affiliated with a school,” says Cherie Sohnen-Moe, who serves on the board for the Alliance and spear-headed this project.

“Performance Health consistently supports the profession with humanitarian awards and education scholarships. Thus, this opportunity was a natural alignment with our many years of work with massage schools, continuing education providers and our support of the Alliance.” Performance Health/Biofreeze added “we support the Alliance mission to be an independent voice, advocate and resource for the community of massage therapy schools and educators, and are committed to their efforts in obtaining higher standards for massage therapy education.”

“Bon Vital is proud to be a co-founding sponsor of the Educators of the Year Award for teachers and continuing education providers for the AFMTE. Bon Vital has an unwavering commitment to education and honoring those who enrich the lives of massage students and licensed massage therapists.”

“What inspired me to apply for this award was my administrative staff! They urged me to apply in light of my years of dedication to our school and my joy in teaching. It is in some ways the greatest honor to have the appreciation of the people I work with every day,” said David. “Receiving this award warms my heart. It also is deeply encouraging. I have represented in the massage and bodywork realm a rigorously holistic perspective that emphasizes the artistic as well as the scientific side of massage therapy and education. Lately, there has been so much emphasis, much of it very useful, on the medical applications of massage. So, it is especially heartening to know that our field very much values and respects the ‘higher calling’ of massage and bodywork. Even though we may have an uphill battle, massage therapy bears precious messages to humankind about the value of kindness, the miracle of life on earth, and a fostering of peace of mind, heart, and body. Every human needs the education in realizing what a miracle he or she is – in body, mind and spirit. This respect and advocacy for human potential and ultimately for all life on earth is supported by this incredible profession we call massage therapy.”

The Alliance spent two years developing the Core Competencies for Massage Therapy Education (NTESP). According to the Alliance, these awards are meant to inspire educators to evaluate themselves according to the NTESP. That process alone contributes to creating a culture of teaching excellence – the theme for this year’s AFMTE Conference in St. Charles, MO July 18-20.

“We feel that this award is meaningful as it’s given by an organization dedicated to improving education,” said Sohnen-Moe.

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About the Alliance:
The Alliance for Massage Therapy Education is an independent voice, advocate and resource for the community of massage therapy schools and educators. It serves the entire education sector – from entry-level training programs through post-graduate studies. The Alliance may be contacted at 1232 Bonefish Court, Fort Pierce, FL 34949. The phone number is 855-236-8331, the general office email address is admin@afmte.org, and the website is https://www.afmte.org.

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February 4, 2013 — For Immediate Release

 

ALLIANCE PUBLISHES comprehensive teacher standards document

 

The Alliance for Massage Therapy Education has completed Phase 1 of its National Teacher Education Standards Project, and is pleased to announce the publication of the Core Competencies for Massage Therapy Teachers. This document – the first of its kind in the massage therapy field – describes the foundational knowledge, skills and attitudes (KSAs) needed for teachers to produce successful and consistent outcomes with adult learners in a variety of educational settings.

These comprehensive standards apply to the work of teachers across the entire continuum of massage therapy education, from entry-level training programs to post-graduate studies. They also apply to teachers throughout the arc of their professional careers.

In December 2010, the Alliance launched the National Teacher Education Standards Project (NTESP) as part of its long-term commitment to strengthen and improve the quality of massage therapy education. This endeavor is both timely and essential because the majority of instructors in this field have not received formal training in the theory and methodology of teaching. As well, there are few jurisdictions that uphold competency standards for massage therapy teachers.

The Core Competencies will provide guidance to classroom teachers, continuing education providers, schools, national accrediting commissions, state regulatory agencies and other organizations in the massage therapy field.

The National Teacher Education Standards Project (NTESP) will be carried out through a series of five phases: With Phase 1 now finished, the Alliance moves into Phases 2 and 3, which involve the creation of a model teacher training curriculum and the identification and development of training resources. To ensure that teachers have achieved the competencies, a voluntary certification program will be established as Phase 4. The final step will involve working with school accreditors and regulators to incorporate these teacher education standards. Overall, it’s estimated the NTESP will take 5-10 years.

The Alliance’s Professional Standards Committee was responsible for the development of this document. A diverse group of experienced teachers, CE providers and massage school directors researched existing teacher standards throughout the realms of public education and specialized professional education. The committee incorporated some of these well-researched templates, adding to them the unique nature and attributes of massage therapy education. Throughout the process, important feedback on working drafts was obtained from attendees at the Alliance’s 2011 and 2012 Annual Conferences, as well as through public comment periods. The finished product is a true community effort.

According to Alliance President Pete Whitridge, LMT, “The establishment of the Core Competencies is a landmark achievement in the massage therapy field. Now that these standards are in place, we are shifting our focus to the practical tasks of implementation. In the months and years to come, the Alliance will provide resources to assist individuals and institutions in the process of meeting these standards, for the ultimate benefit of students and clients of massage therapy.”

In ongoing support of this project, the Alliance will focus on the theme of “Creating a Culture of Teaching Excellence” for it’s 2013 Annual Conference. This event will be held July 18-20 in St. Charles, Missouri, and will feature workshops and discussion forums about the process of implementing teacher standards. The Alliance looks forward to the input of all who attend this conference, as these voices and perspectives shape the future of massage therapy education.

 

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About the Alliance:

The Alliance for Massage Therapy Education is an independent voice, advocate and resource for the community of massage therapy schools and educators. It serves the entire education sector – from entry-level training programs through post-graduate studies. The Alliance may be contacted at 1232 Bonefish Court, Fort Pierce, FL 34949. The phone number is 855-236-8331, the general office email address is admin@afmte.org, and the website is https://www.afmte.org.

https://www.afmte.org/2013/02/05/4135/

Story Links from Inside Higher Ed

A New Leaf at Phoenix?
August 24, 2010
WASHINGTON — When it comes to marketing and recruiting, the University of Phoenix is turning over a new leaf, or so its executives said at a briefing here Monday. “We’re doing what we think is right,” said Gregory W. Cappelli, the co-chief executive officer of Apollo Group, which owns Phoenix and other for-profit colleges and schools. The company, he said, is shifting “from a recruiting mentality and culture into one of a long-term relationship” between potential students and recruiters, who’ve been renamed “counselors.” The briefing was framed as a discussion about Apollo’s position paper, “Higher Education at a Crossroads,” which touts the for-profit sector as playing an essential role in President Obama’s access and completion goals. Apollo is actively working to brand itself as an organization chastened and determined to do better, especially after being identified in the Government Accountability Office’s “secret shopper” investigation of recruiting practices. (more)

Damaging Data on Loan Repayment
August 16, 2010
WASHINGTON — That sound you heard Friday at 5:15 p.m.? That was the collective thud of the heads of for-profit college executives hitting their desks in dismay when they got a first look at the sort of loan repayment data the U.S. Education Department expects to use in its proposed new regulatory scheme, aimed at ensuring that vocational programs prepare their graduates for “gainful employment.” The numbers were lower than many observers (supporters and critics of the for-profit college sector alike) expected, and while officials of the companies immediately disputed the legitimacy of the department’s data and again challenged the government’s underlying regulatory approach, they also seemed to recognize that the statistics presented yet another threat. One company, Strayer Education, went so far as to schedule a news conference for 7:30 a.m. today — before the stock markets open — to explain, and presumably contest, the department’s numbers for its campuses. (more)

Did the Department Drop the Ball?
August 13, 2010
WASHINGTON — The Government Accountability Office’s “secret shopper” investigation of recruiting practices at for-profit colleges was a mixed blessing for the U.S. Department of Education. At one level, the findings presented at last week’s Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing were a vindication. Videotaped evidence pointed to fraud at four colleges, and questionable or deceptive practices at all 15 campuses investigated. But, at the same time, GAO’s discoveries have put the Education Department on the defensive, trying to explain why it hasn’t done more to prevent recruiters from making deceptive statements to potential students. There are already rules on misrepresentation and incentive compensation of college employees for securing enrollments — which the department is expected to tighten in its final regulations, to be published by Nov. 1 — and while weak rules may be part of the problem, they’re not the whole story. (more)

What Harkin Wants
August 10, 2010
WASHINGTON — If it wasn’t already clear that the U.S. Senate was putting plenty of pressure on for-profit colleges, the detailed information the body’s leading voice on education is seeking from 30 companies and institutions makes it pretty obvious. At the end of last week’s hearing on for-profit higher education’s recruitment practices, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said he wanted to “get to the bottom of this.” The this, of course, was everything about the for-profit sector — from how many students each of the 15 publicly-traded companies enrolls to how institutions train and compensate recruitment, admissions and financial aid employees. On Thursday, Harkin’s staff directed the publicly traded companies and 15 privately held for-profit institutions to submit two dossiers in the next few weeks. The first, due Aug. 26, primarily consists of information related to management structures, revenue sources and enrollment totals. The second, due Sept. 16, includes several requests for all documents and e-mail messages related to recruiter performance, financial aid procedures and tuition hikes. (more)

Has the Conversation Changed?
August 9, 2010
WASHINGTON — Leaders in for-profit higher education have historically tried to deflect criticism of the institutions by pointing to a few misbehaving “bad actors” who aggressively recruit unqualified students, keep them enrolled for as long as possible while burying them in debt and, if students stick it out long enough, award them worthless degrees. But the events of last week — most notably the findings of the Government Accountability Office’s undercover investigation of recruiting at for-profit colleges that included inducements to commit fraud at four institutions, and the highly critical Senate hearing at which the findings were aired — challenged the validity of that argument and put advocates of the sector on the defensive in a way that they have not been for years. The developments emboldened critics, saying that the week’s events prove what they’ve been saying about the systemic nature of the sector’s problems. (more)

Shellacking the For-Profits
August 5, 2010
WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats made it clear Wednesday that their examination of for-profit higher education has only just begun, and that they plan to pursue legislation aimed at reining what they see as the sector’s dishonest — if not fraudulent — practices. At a hearing on the “student recruitment experience” at for-profit colleges that began Wednesday morning and carried on through the mid-afternoon, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, outlined plans to hold more hearings on the sector, to collect broad sets of information from for-profit colleges, and to begin drafting legislation aimed at cleaning up the sector. (more)

Colleges Weigh In on Rules
August 4, 2010
WASHINGTON — The public comment period for the majority of the U.S. Department of Education’s proposed regulations aimed at protecting the integrity of the Title IV federal financial aid program ended at midnight Tuesday. Department officials have the next three months to read and consider close to 1,800 comments posted on regulations.gov (including duplicates) — ranging in length from a sentence or two to 100-page dossiers — submitted by a mix of college presidents, financial aid officers, associations, companies, and rank-and-file students and employees. Final rules must be published by Nov. 1 to go into effect on July 1, 2011, as the department has planned. (more)

Congress’s ‘Secret Shopper’
August 3, 2010
WASHINGTON — A government report detailing the findings of an undercover investigation of for-profit colleges’ recruiting tactics reveals admissions and financial aid officers engaged in unethical and sometimes illegal practices, all in the interest of persuading students to enroll and obtain federal financial aid. The report, along with an accompanying video of undercover footage, is the culmination of a three-month effort by the Government Accountability Office, Congress’s investigative wing, to determine whether and to what degree for-profit colleges are engaging in “fraudulent, deceptive or otherwise questionable marketing practices.” A copy of the report is available here. (more)

A Bit More on ‘Gainful Employment’
August 2, 2010
WASHINGTON –The U.S. Department of Education’s proposed rules defining “gainful employment” by examining students’ ability to repay their loans have spurred more questions than they’ve answered. But on Friday, James Kvaal, the new deputy under secretary of education, answered some of the most salient nuts-and-bolts questions that have emerged since the department released its notice of proposed rule making and regulatory impact analysis on July 23. And, for the first time since starting work at the Education Department earlier this summer, Kvaal explained why he believes for-profit colleges — the primary target of the rule making process – need greater regulation. “In the landscape of higher ed today, you see a lot of thriving for-profit colleges and that’s a good thing.” Even so, he said, “we should recognize that for-profit institutions do have a legal incentive or even an obligation to try and maximize their profitability for shareholders.” (more)

In Whose Interest?
July 30, 2010
WASHINGTON – Just a few hours after the U.S. Department of Education released the full text of its proposed regulations to define “gainful employment” last Friday, two groups that rarely weigh in on education issues circulated news releases expressing concern that the rule would limit minority students’ access to postsecondary education. In its statement, MANA: A National Latina Organization said that the proposed regulations would “adversely affect Hispanic students’ ability to borrow money and will limit Hispanic students’ access to higher education.” The National Black Chamber of Commerce said the rules would “disproportionately harm low-income and minority populations by discriminating against students who must borrow the needed tuition to attend college.” (more)

Partial ‘Program Integrity’
June 16, 2010
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Education today released a set of proposed rules intended to prevent abuses of federal financial aid programs by establishing new consumer protections, ensuring that only eligible students receive federal aid, and clarifying the courses and programs for which students can use federal aid dollars. Though the notice of proposed rule making (NPRM) to be published in Friday’s Federal Register includes more than 500 pages of rationale and regulatory language on 15 issues related to the integrity of the federal financial aid programs, what’s most likely to get attention is what’s missing: a full set of regulations defining “gainful employment,” the mechanism through which most programs at for-profit institutions and non-degree programs at nonprofit institutions qualify for federal aid. (more)

High-Profile Trader’s Harsh Critique of For-Profit Colleges
May 27, 2010
Steven Eisman, the Wall Street trader who was mythologized in Michael Lewis’s The Big Short as that rare person who saw the subprime mortgage crisis coming and made a killing as a result, thinks he has seen the next big explosive and exploitative financial industry — for-profit higher education — and he’s making sure as many people as possible know it. In a speech Wednesday at the Ira Sohn Investment Research Conference, an exclusive gathering at which financial analysts who rarely share their insights publicly are encouraged to dish their “best investment ideas,” Eisman started off with a broadside against Wall Street’s college companies. “Until recently, I thought that there would never again be an opportunity to be involved with an industry as socially destructive and morally bankrupt as the subprime mortgage industry,” said Eisman, of FrontPoint Financial Services Fund. “I was wrong. The For-Profit Education Industry has proven equal to the task.” (more)

Comparing Higher Ed to Wall Street
April 29, 2010
Whenever worried leaders of for-profit colleges have implied in recent months that the U.S. Education Department is gunning for the institutions, officials of the federal agency have discouraged such talk, offering evenhanded rhetoric about treating all sectors the same in their push for increased accountability. The words have provided little reassurance to the colleges, since they haven’t always seemed to square with the aggressive approach the Obama administration is taking in rewriting federal rules governing vocational and other programs. On Wednesday, in a speech to state regulators who oversee for-profit colleges, the chief architect of the Education Department’s strategy, Robert Shireman, offered a much more critical assessment of the private sector institutions than he has in his public comments to date, according to accounts given by several people who were in the room. (more)

Pushback on Gainful Employment
April 22, 2010
WASHINGTON – As the U.S. Department of Education prepares to finish revising regulations intended to weed out abuses of the federal financial aid system, for-profit higher education’s major advocacy group has chosen to push back. In a letter sent Wednesday to Education Secretary Arne Duncan, the Career College Association calls on the department to scrap its proposed regulations on “gainful employment,” which would assess vocational programs based on the ratio of their graduates’ student loan debt to their incomes. The letter coincides with the CCA’s public release today of a report it commissioned on the proposal’s implications that analyzes data representing more than 600,000 students in more than 10,000 programs at its member institutions, which finds that the proposal could make thousands of for-profit programs ineligible for federal financial aid. (more)

Going Ahead With Gainful Employment
April 21, 2010
WASHINGTON — A long recession and a wavering job market have brought for-profit higher education institutions into the public eye as never before. Big advertising budgets have given them name recognition. Dramatic enrollment growth (fueled by increasing amounts of federal financial aid) and assurances to students that a degree or certificate is the path to a comfortable job in a specific field have brought them scrutiny. Many newspapers, websites and TV networks have told the tale of programs at for-profit institutions that don’t prepare students for the jobs they’ve been all but promised — and plunge them into debt in the process. While the anecdotes are often true, they’re only part of the story; some for-profit colleges (the institutions themselves prefer the term “private sector” or “market funded”) do prepare students for good jobs and don’t sink them in an overwhelming pool of post-graduation debt. (more)