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Separating Mr. Trump’s ‘University’ from the For-Profits

Donald Trump faces two federal class action lawsuits over alleged misleading marketing practices involving Trump University.

ALBANY, N.Y. (June 27, 2016) — For-profit higher education faces several challenges today, including occasional cases of fraud, but it is not representative of the business enterprise that was Trump University, writes UAlbany’s Kevin Kinser in a recent article in The Conversation.

The business activities of Trump University, the for-profit real estate training program which ran from 2005 to 2010 and is now the subject of two federal class action lawsuits, are being equated by many commentators with those of for-profit colleges and universities.

Kinser, however, who has been studying for-profit higher education since the late 1990s, says that Trump University is a different animal. “The Trump University case has little to do with the current challenges faced by for-profit higher education in the U.S.,” he writes. “It is not regulated by the same agencies nor does it have to follow the same rules.”

Phoenix University

Phoenix University, one of the largest for-profit universities, is accredited and has received billions in federal aid.

In his article, “The truth about for-profit colleges and Trump University,” the associate professor in the Department of Educational Administration & Policy Studies presents a concise history of the for-profit university, which he notes has been “part of the higher education landscape since the 1800s.”

Since the 1972 Higher Education Act, however, for-profits have increasingly, and with growing controversy, relied on federal aid programs to survive. Not so with Trump University. “That students can get grants and take out loans distinguishes for-profit higher education from other businesses — like Trump University — that may claim to educate students,” writes Kinser.

“This aid is supposed to serve the public purpose of higher education as being vital to the nation’s well-being and not simply facilitate the pursuit of private profit.”

You can read the full piece here: “The truth about for-profit colleges and Trump University.”

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