President Trump and his administration plan to change the head of the fraud investigation sector of the Department of Education to a former dean of a for-profit college.
The former dean in question is Julian Schmoke junior who used to work at DeVry University and currently works as a community college administrator. A Politico report states that he will head the sector of Student Aid Enforcement.
Schmoke is currently the director of campus operations at West Georgia Technical College and formerly worked at DeVry University, a for-profit institution, where he worked as the associate program dean for the Engineering and Info Sciences section from 2008 till 2012.
Reportedly the Trumo administration has been asked to run the Unit of Student Aid Enforcement created by Obama while he was in office and which investigates illegal actions by education institutions.
Allegedly, Politico obtained an email according to which the head of the Federal office of student aid, Wayne Johnson made several appointments which included Schmoke.
In an email, Johnson apparently quoted Schmoke’s experience in education related services like education leadership, and how to implement and develop important aspects of the education sector like education policy, program evaluation etc.
However, Schmoke’s appointment has received a much more mixed response elsewhere. Jay Fleischman has raised the concern of someone who formerly worked for a for-profit college being appointed to such a position being a possible conflict of interest. Fleischman, who is a lawyer working specifically in student loans, states that institutions Schmoke formerly worked for, settled cases of fraudulent acts, the same acts that Schmoke will now investigate.
The Unit of Student Aid Enforcement was formed in 2016 by Obama while in office. It was formed to investigate illegal acts by education institutions.
These acts mainly include working towards the prevention of acts such as inflating fees and wrongly exaggerating job opportunities, which target students who are made to pay more with the promise of a more comfortable life.
The Unit consists of four sectors which focus separately on investigations, to defend borrowers of loans, actions of the administration, and cooperation with campus security and disclosing crimes.
In a public release about information about the unit, Education Secretary John King stated that Americans deserve to be rewarded with better lives and educations as a result of their investment of time, effort and money. Going further to say that failing to do that would lead to consequences for everyone and stating that education institutions who practice dishonesty will be punished accordingly.
The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) was paid 100 million dollars by DeVry University in 2016 among several other cases DeVry settled like an over 2 million dollar settlement with the state of New York in 2017 and a nearly 500,000 dollar settled with Massachusetts.
Much of the money will be used for returning to students and forgiving the loans of former students. The settlements happened as a result of cases brought to court due to deceptive advertisements.
The FTC court case states that DeVry lied to graduates about the field they were working in giving several examples to support their case. The case with Massachusetts started that DeVry lied about job rates of certain programs, which could be as low as 52% a half year after graduating and not as high as 90% like DeVry claimed.
As a result of these cases, DeVry attempted to switch its branding to Adtalem Ed. Inc.
However, DeVry is just one college which has recently been accused of illegal practices. Obama and his administration brought litigation against several for-profit colleges. This resulted in some of the worst accused being denied further financial aid from the government. Most people wish to have loans forgiven as a result of the litigation.
Fleischman has said that since some of these actions supposedly happened while he was working at DeVry, it is sad that Schmoke might be leading the government organisation that is going to be investigations others like DeVry. He will also be majorly responsible for the over 1800 student complaints made against DeVry by former students.
Doubt has been cast over whether or not Schmoke is the best person for the job taking into account his past working for an institution like DeVry.