Thursday, March 24, 2011

Bridgepoint: Education Scam or Economic Engine?

See all posts on for-profit education companies.
See all Bridgepoint posts.

Education Scam or Economic Engine
Bridgepoint Booms Over Troubled Waters

It's the fifth-largest private employer in the county and spreads money around through political lobbying and sponsorships of events like the Holiday Bowl. But just a few years ago you probably wouldn't have known it. Neither would have its many critics, including a U.S. senator who called it "an absolute scam."

The company is Bridgepoint Education, a for-profit company that owns two universities and educates 99 percent of its students online.

"Criticism of the company centers on its remarkable ability to attract students and remarkable failure to graduate them, all while receiving hundreds of millions in federal student aid dollars," Liam Dillon and Will Carless report. "The complaint: Bridgepoint has set up a system to use federal dollars to line investors' pockets rather than enrich students' minds."

Bridgepoint matters locally because of its jobs, money, and influence. One study concluded that Bridgepoint added, directly or indirectly, more than $500 million to the local economy. Since that report was written, the company has grown even bigger, which means Bridgepoint's ability to withstand lawsuits and attacks from critics will have a direct impact on San Diego's well-being.

No comments: