A petition urging the Washington Post Company to make changes at its lucrative Kaplan University, or shut it down, has garnered more than 7,000 signatures, 5,000 yesterday alone, and the number is rising rapidly.
Each signature generates an e-mail message to Donald E. Graham, chairman of the Washington Post Company, and several other Post officials. The messages ask them to stop admissions to the for-profit university, the source of the Post's profits, until it develops an "independent, third-party" system to investigate student complaints.
The petition was posted on Change.org a little over a week ago. It was initiated by a group of about 25 disaffected former Kaplan students.
The leader of the group, 40-year-old Shannon Croteau, said she was swindled by the university when she enrolled in its paralegal bachelor's-degree program. Ms. Croteau said the company had stuck her with $30,000 in debt for a loan she never took out, and refused to offer her any more financial aid, claiming it had "run out." She later discovered that her program had actually been an associate-degree program that isn't accredited in her home state of New Hampshire.
Kaplan is one of several for-profit colleges such as Corinthian College and Phoenix University that have come under criticism for duping students into taking out huge student loans for programs whose credits do not transfer or lead to gainful employment. The result-huge profits for for-profit colleges while students are left with broken dreams and mountains of debt.
Sign the petition!