Daily Debriefing

by Amelia Acosta | 7/30/12 10:00pm

Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, released a report Monday that harshly criticized for-profit colleges, The New York Times reported. Representing the culmination of a two-year investigation, the report points out many problematic trends and draws on statistics and anecdotal evidence from over 30 companies that operate for-profit institutions. In 2011-2012, the companies involved in the investigation used over $32 billion in taxpayer money, even though students at their institutions frequently leave without degrees or useful vocational skills, The Times reported. On average, the companies spent 22.4 percent of their revenue on marketing, compared with 17.7 percent on teaching resources, and a degree from a for-profit institution costs nearly four times as much as a comparable certificate from a community college or public university, according to the report. Of students who default on college loans, 47 percent are students at for-profit institutions, yet these students make up only 13 percent of the national college population.

James Holmes the 24-year-old suspected gunman in the July 20 movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colo. was formally charged Monday with 24 counts of first-degree murder and 116 counts of attempted murder, in addition to charges stemming from possession of explosives, according to The Wall Street Journal. If convicted, Holmes could face life in prison, and Colorado prosecutors are debating whether or not they will seek the death penalty. Holmes allegedly entered the theater through a side door shortly after the beginning of a midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" (2012) and opened fire, killing 12 and wounding 58 audience members, The Wall Street Journal reported. A former neuroscience graduate student at the University of Colorado, Holmes withdrew from the school without warning in June and allegedly left his psychiatrist at the school with a notebook depicting his plans for the shooting.

The Founder Institute, a for-profit institution started in 2009 by entrepreneur Adeo Ressi, requires its students to design, execute and incorporate a fully operational company within four months, according to The New York Times. The program, based in Mountain View, Calif., is designed to teach basics of entrepreneurship with instruction focused on marketing and sales, revenues, costs and profits, publicity and fundraising. Ressi aims to treat entrepreneurship as a profession taught at a vocational school and reduce the number of failed start-ups worldwide, The Times reported. Although 60 percent of students fail to graduate from the institute, it has opened branches in Tel Aviv, Paris and Chicago, among other locations. Some remain critical of the institute which costs $1,000 dollars to attend and allows students to keep their day jobs while taking classes because it rushes through the process of starting a company and does not encourage a full-time focus on innovation.

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