In defense of private sector colleges

08/13/2012 7:13 PM

08/13/2012 7:14 PM

I am writing to respond to your editorial, "For-profit college risk clear in report," (Aug. 5), which praises a biased report by Sen. Tom Harkin vilifying private sector colleges and universities.

Projections suggest our country needs an additional 20 million workers with postsecondary education skills in this decade. Private sector colleges and universities are essential to meeting this demand by educating 3.8 million students with the necessary skills and training to immediately enter the work force.

In 2009-2010, the 374 private sector colleges and universities in California educated 397,868 students and employed 34,436 staff. These students represented 10 percent of the 3,982,560 students enrolled in California's 702 postsecondary institutions.

Rather than leading a bipartisan charge to improve all of higher education and meet the demands on the workforce, Harkin continues his attacks on our schools' by releasing a report that focuses on ideology over reality to make a case for more laws and regulations.

We can all work together to address the systemic challenges facing higher education. Let's start by recognizing that there are good and bad schools in all elements of higher education. Then, let's accept that state regulators, accrediting agencies, and the federal government already have significant authority to deal with any problem schools.

STEVE GUNDERSON President and CEO, Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities Washington, D.C.

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