To the Editor of the Kansas City Star:
A lot has been said about Senator Tom Harkin’s (D-IA) in-depth report addressing concerns within the for-profit higher education industry. The report, totaling over 1700 pages, highlights a variety of issues such as deceptive recruiting tactics, poor student graduation rates, and a high level of student debt default. We at Gragg Advertising, while understanding the necessity of such reports, feel that the media coverage of this report lacks a certain amount of context and balance. Additionally, we feel the report takes the questionable acts of a few and uses them to cast a shadow over the industry as a whole.
As this report is the product of a two year investigative process, those of us in the private sector have already been made aware of, and responded to, many of these issues. In fact, a large portion of this report was released over a year ago, which has driven a great deal of change in the industry over the past 18 months. With the addition of the Gainful Employment and Program Integrity regulations to the Higher Education Act, much stricter guidelines were put into place July 1st, 2011. In addition to that, Tom Harkin spoke at a press conference saying, “As they stand today, our existing network of public and non-profit colleges, and community colleges, cannot meet the demand for higher education…” Harkin continued to state that the for-profit sector is unique in its ability to meet the demands of the growing number of non-traditional students seeking higher education.
As an agency, Gragg Advertising partners with a large number of both for-profit and non-profit colleges. Gragg not only works to inform prospective students about these schools, but also works to help these schools meet the needs of their students. Last month I published an article for our clients that spoke to retaining students by building a strong support system. Non-traditional students have unique issues standing in the way of their graduation; therefore for-profit colleges need to have a unique support system to help their students. Additionally, Gragg offers our clients higher education training seminars on a variety of subjects including admissions, career services and student retention. In short, for-profit colleges play an integral part in the higher education field and we at Gragg are constantly striving to improve both performance and student relations. If you have any more questions, or would like to speak in the future about the state of for-profit colleges, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call at 816-994-1300.
CEO & Chairman, Gragg Advertising
Read the published version of this letter here.