CECU Sets the Record Straight on Misleading Inquiry Against Private Equity Funds in Postsecondary Education
Steve Gunderson, President and CEO of Career Education Colleges and Universities, challenged the research used in assembling the latest attack on private equity funding of colleges in our sector. “Senator Warren and Representative Pocan’s research is so bad, one cannot even comment on the basic premise of their proposal!” said Gunderson. “We know there exist a lot of voices who oppose the sector’s very existence. But at least start with accurate data to make your proposals.”
Sen. Warren and Rep. Pocan’s letters from September 16th to six equity firms mislead on basic higher education facts.
A Gallup survey of Career Education Colleges and Universities (CECU) graduates showed that our alumni have found jobs at a higher rate than other institutions, with 62% finding full-time employment within six months. The survey also revealed that they earn 60% more in annual income after their education than before attending a CECU school. However, the letters claim the opposite: that students who attend career education colleges and universities “ultimately earn less” and “are less likely to find employment than students who attend alternative schools.”
Similarly, Sen. Warren and Rep. Pocan say that our sector has “the lowest completion rates for college entrants.” However, data from the National Center of Education Statistics (NCES) shows that 2-year schools in our sector have a 61% graduation rate compared to 25% for public 2-year schools.
Research from the NCES also demonstrates that the average debt balance of career education colleges and universities graduates is lower than those of 2-year nonprofit schools. An analysis of annual loans and grants by sector and type of school shows that the average annual student loan debt for first-time full-time students at proprietary schools in 2015/16 was $8,076. The data shows that the information used to claim that our sector’s students graduate “with significantly higher amounts of student loan debt than their comparable alternatives” are simply not accurate.
“Over the last few years, opponents of career education colleges and universities have cherry-picked data and manipulated research to distort outcomes in higher education, and advance ideological wars against the sector,” said Steve Gunderson. “Outcomes should matter – for every student, every program and every school. Public policy should be determined by the performance of each school and program, not by attacks on an entire sector just because of an ideology. Data and research from government and respected institutions prove that our members are committed to providing successful outcomes for their graduates.”