Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Feds Sue DeVry University, Alleging For-Profit College Misled Students

Profit College Misled Students

The Federal Trade Commission said DeVry gave false career and earnings numbers to prospective students.

Shahien NasiripourChief Financial and Regulatory Correspondent, The Huffington Post

The Federal Trade Commission sued DeVry Education Group on Wednesday, alleging the for-profit college operator deceived tens of thousands of prospective students with bogus claims about their career prospects.

Regulators alleged the company's main school, DeVry University, had misled students since at least 2008 when it claimed in widespread national advertisements that 90 percent of the school's graduates who had been actively seeking jobs landed positions in their fields within six months of graduating.

The actual percentage was "significantly smaller," the FTC said. The agency further alleged that the company couldn't substantiate its claim.

The FTC also said the school had deceived prospective students since 2013, when it claimed in advertisements that its graduates had earnings at least 15 percent higher one year after leaving school than graduates from all other colleges in the U.S.

DeVry said it intends to contest the lawsuit, which it claimed was without legal basis. The company "looks forward to demonstrating the accuracy and credibility of our students’ career success," CEO Daniel Hamburger said.

For current and former DeVry students who took on federal student loans, the lawsuit could make it easier for them to petition the Department of Education to cancel their debt. That's because federal law allows student debtors to apply for debt cancellations in cases where their school misled them into taking on loans.

"When prospective students are weighing whether to attend a particular university, they often base their decision on an institution's claims and literature, including its marketing materials, to assess whether that school will help them further their career goals," FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said.

J Pat Carter/Associated Press The Federal Trade Commission has sued DeVry Education Group.

The Education Department in December said it would cancel $27.8 million in federal student loans owed by some 1,300 former Corinthian Colleges Inc. students after the department concluded those students were defrauded into taking on the debt.

In its complaint, the FTC said DeVry University annually enrolled 29,000 to 49,000 new students from 2008 to 2014, meaning that as many as 300,000 students were duped into enrolling with false promises. Hundreds of thousands of Americans cumulatively took on about $5.3 billion in federal student loans to attend DeVry University beginning in the 2008-09 academic year through June 30 of last year, Education Department data show.

DeVry allegedly inflated its job placement rates by counting graduates who continued in the same job they had prior to enrolling, according to the lawsuit. The school also is accused of counting unpaid volunteers, a mail carrier, yard salesman, Cheesecake Factory server, retail sales associate, and a driver delivering rain gutters as graduates who were employed in the fields they studied.

The lawsuit is the latest action by authorities targeting allegedly dodgy for-profit colleges. The industry benefited from tremendous enrollment growth as a result of the Great Recession but has since experienced plummeting stock prices and much lower enrollment as students subsequently defaulted on their loans and authorities stepped up their oversight and introduced new rules to protect students.

Last year, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau sued Corinthian Colleges Inc. and in 2014 sued ITT Educational Services Inc. alleging similar misconduct as in the DeVry complaint. Both companies disputed the claims. Corinthian is no longer in business.

Numerous publicly traded for-profit college chains have disclosed that they are under investigation by state or federal authorities. Regulators are targeting colleges' claims about students' future career prospects.

Despite the lawsuit, the Education Department will still send taxpayers' dollars in the form of student loans and grants to DeVry for current and future students. The department said it has asked DeVry to stop making misleading claims.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

North Boone’s old superintendent now at Muncie, Indiana


MCS hires new superintendent

Emma Kate Fittes, 2:24 p.m. EDT April 29, 2015

MUNCIE – Steven Baule was welcomed to Muncie Community Schools with a standing ovation and a stack of documents Tuesday night.

"They gave me homework," he said.

The folder of documents included a packed schedule for his remaining 24 hours in Muncie and information on the nearly $15 million deficit the board needs to address in the next five years. His homework is to help the board figure out the future of the schools.

The school board unanimously voted for Baule during the meeting Tuesday evening, officially hiring him as the 19th superintendent of MCS. He had been introduced as the leading candidate 10 days prior out of 14 applicants.

The next step is to meet with the public Wednesday at 3 p.m. and, hopefully, find a house in Muncie. Then, Baule said he is going to start meeting with every administrator and community leaders and tour the facilities.

To Baule, his vision isn't important. It's about looking at the data and seeing what programs are successful and trying to find a way to help each child.

He is planning to make two long-range plans, something he feels the district is currently missing. One for finances and one for facilities.

The nice thing about facilities, he said, is that you know what is going to need to be replaced down the road. And he wants to have money ready in the rainy day fund, which is currently being used to help pay for busing.

Previously, Baule was the superintendent of North Boone CUSD 200 school district in Northern Illinois, which has about 1,800 students. There, he was able to put the district "back on the right path." During his time as superintendent, North Boone had almost a $12 million turn, going from about $1 million deficit to having $9.7 million in the operating funds.

Baule's wife, Kathy, and two kids, Sydney and Sam, will be moving with him. Sydney and Sam will go to Central High School in the fall. He said he isn't worried about them having a difficult time because for one they are the superintendent's kids, and Sam has a black belt in taekwondo. For Sydney, her main concern is that soccer and cross country run during the same semester in Indiana

Kathy will begin looking for a job. She is a nurse and has worked in many areas including trauma surgery. Baule mentioned having IU Health Ball Memorial nearby helped make the move more enticing. And Baule had his heart set on Muncie.

"You want to work somewhere where first you're needed and second you can have an impact on a large amount of kids," he said.

Contact inside families & education reporter Emma Kate Fittes at 765-213-5845 and follow @EmmaKate_TSP

If you want to go...


Meet and greet with Steven Baule, the new superintendent of Muncie schools


3-5 p.m. Wednesday


Anthony Administration, 2501 N Oakwood Ave

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Illinois sells $480 million in bonds after 20 month hiatus


CHICAGO | By Karen Pierog


CHICAGO Illinois sold $480 million of bonds on Thursday, its first debt issue in nearly two years, with the U.S. municipal market's hunger for higher-yielding assets easing the interest penalty the state is paying for its fiscal woes.

The deal marks the first debt issuance under Republican Governor Bruce Rauner, who took office a year ago and is embroiled in a battle with Democrats in control of the legislature. The impasse has left the fifth-largest state without a budget six months into fiscal 2016.

Illinois' enormous $111 billion unfunded pension liability and chronic structural budget deficit have driven up yields for its debt, making it more expensive for the state to borrow.

However, the state benefited with the newest issuance because the overall prevailing yields in the market have been relatively low.

"Market yields are lower, driving investors out for additional yield and Illinois offers them the opportunity to do that," said Domenic Vonella, head of U.S. municipal bonds at Municipal Market Data (MMD).

Dan Heckman, senior fixed-income strategist at US Bank, said Illinois also benefited from low supplies of new bonds.

"Illinois picked a very good time to come to market," he said.

The sale attracted nine bids. Its proceeds will be used mainly to finance transportation projects.

"The sale shows that there continues to be a lot of investor interest in our bonds despite the Democratic legislature’s failure to pass a balanced budget," Rauner spokeswoman Catherine Kelly said.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch won the general obligation bonds with a competitive bid that resulted in an overall interest cost of 3.9989 percent for the state. The deal is structured with maturities between 2017 and 2041, with bonds in four maturities insured.

Yields in the issue topped out at 4.27 percent in 2041 with a 5 percent coupon, which is 161 basis points more than the 2.66 percent yield an AAA-rated issuer's bonds would fetch in the U.S. municipal market, according to MMD's benchmark scale.

Illinois has the lowest credit ratings and the widest so-called credit spread among the 50 states. The 161-basis-point spread over MMD's scale is down from Illinois' 170-basis-point spread in the secondary muni market heading into the bond sale. But the spread is wider than the 111 basis point spread for 25-year bonds in Illinois last sale in 2014.

Credit rating agencies warned last month that Illinois' ratings, which are just three to four steps above the "junk" level, could be downgraded if the state fails to enact measures to address its fiscal problems.


Thursday, January 14, 2016

WIFR-TV: Proposed Bill Would Allow Guns on Wisconsin's School Grounds

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A bill proposed by a Republican leader in the Wisconsin Legislature would allow residents with concealed weapons permits to carry guns on school grounds.

Senate President Mary Lazich and Rep. Robert Brooks unveiled their bill Wednesday and hope to get it through the Legislature in the next two months. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
reports that Lazich has said the bill is intended to ensure weapons permit holders aren't inadvertently breaking the law when they drop their children off at school.

The state's concealed weapons law was adopted in 2011. It currently allows permit holders to carry guns in most places, but not in schools or on school grounds.

The proposed bill would allow permit holders to carry guns on school grounds, and local school boards would be able to decide whether guns are allowed inside school buildings.

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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Belvidere Schools names its next Superintendent


Belvidere Schools names its next Superintendent

 After months of surveys, focus groups, and interviews by the Board of Education and an advisory group consisting of administrators, staff, community leaders, parents, and students the Board will vote on Monday, January 11 to approve a contract naming Dr. Daniel Woestman as its next leader. "Dr. Woestman stood out among a group of well-qualified candidates interviewed by the Board of Education.  We were impressed with his enthusiasm and vision for our students and are excited about the future of Belvidere Schools."  -- Robert Torbert, School Board President Dr. Woestman has worked in the region as an English teacher as well as a building-level and district-level administrator in the Hononegah and Rockford school districts.  He earned his bachelor's degree from Brigham Young University, his master's from the University of Cincinnati, and his doctorate from Northern Illinois University. "Working in neighboring districts for the past ten years has allowed me to get to know not only the Belvidere schools, but the wonderful people in the community.  I'm excited to continue those relationships and the tradition of the Belvidere School District as being a great place to work and learn."  -- Dr. Daniel Woestman  The Board will offer Dr. Woestman a 3-year contract with a beginning salary of $175,000. A public reception welcoming Dr. Woestman to the district will be held Tuesday, February 2 from 4 to 6 p.m. in the lobby of the Performing Arts Center located inside Belvidere High School. Above is from:

  • Belvidere School District names Daniel Woestman superintendent

Ben Stanley
Staff writer Posted Jan. 5, 2016 at 10:39 AM
Updated Jan 5, 2016 at 7:03 PM
BELVIDERE — The next superintendent of the Belvidere School District is a familiar face in the Rock River Valley. The Belvidere School Board chose Daniel Woestman, 34, who currently oversees strategic planning for the Rockford School District. Before that, he taught English and was an assistant principal at Hononegah High School.
The district made the announcement today in a news release on its website. He replaces Michael Houselog, who left in August to become director of graduate programs in education at Rockford University. The School Board is expected on Monday to vote on Woestman's three-year contract with a beginning salary of $175,000.
"As a board, we were really impressed with his vision for the district," said Rob Torbert, president of the Belvidere School Board. "He brings a lot of enthusiasm. He’s very smart, very prepared, very relatable. We think that he’s going to do well connecting with faculty, staff, students and everyone in the community."
A search firm hired by the district selected seven candidates out of a pool of more than 30 applicants for the School Board to interview. Woestman was chosen from that group of candidates after interviews with the board and a focus group that included teachers, students, parents and community leaders.
Woestman earned a bachelor's degree from Brigham Young University in 2006, a master's from the University of Cincinnati in 2008 and a doctorate from Northern Illinois University in 2014. He moved to the Rockford area in 2006.
"A lot of my ties to the community I think were a big draw for the position," Woestman said. "I’ve been in the area for about a decade. It’s a high quality school district. It’s just a really, really good school district ... . I’m going to make sure I spend time in every school and listening to a lot of different stakeholder groups."
Woestman will officially take over as superintendent on July 1.
"Dan is an extremely well-liked and well-respected colleague," wrote Rockford School District Superintendent Ehren Jarrett in a prepared statement. "During his tenure with RPS 205, he has led initiatives including our strategic plan, process mapping, accountability and SMART teacher training. His leadership in information technology, in particular, has been remarkable."
Woestman is on the operating board of Alignment Rockford, is a Cub Scout pack leader and is involved in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
A public reception welcoming Woestman to the district is planned for 4 to 6 p.m. Feb. 2 in the lobby of the Performing Arts Center inside Belvidere High School.
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