This line from an article in the Portland Press Herald encapsulates the points that I will undertake in my writing to you today: “Corinthian Colleges once ran 107 campuses that served more than 100,000 students. It was a Wall Street darling for its lucrative model of offering degrees to low-income students who borrowed heavily from the government to pay tuition.”
I’ve been doing some research to discover that in 2013, the top 5 executives of Corinthian Colleges, Inc. earned a combined $6.5m in executive pay and other compensation packages while 85% of its revenue source came directly from the federal government. When you follow the money, you see that these pirates purposefully plundered the United States Treasury for their personal profit. They baited low-income students and veterans of the military whose higher education dreams were shattered when weeks before graduation, 16,000 students arrived at shuttered doors and a news media eager to report the drama of their indebtedness with no degree to show for their hard work. And what of the thousands of students who continue to pay their student loans who now hold a worthless piece of paper embossed with the Heald, Everest, and WyoTech logos?
I must repeat this: “It was a Wall Street darling for its lucrative model of offering degrees to low-income students who borrowed heavily from the government to pay tuition.” Who pays for the crumbled corporation now? I do. You do. We all do. The middle class pays her taxes to keep this country afloat, bankrolling these insidious cheats. CEO Jack D. Massimino earned $3M in 2013 while the for-profit education giant was under investigation by the U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
From an article in the Atlantic Monthly: Ultimately, several deals Corinthian had hoped to make didn’t happen. Corinthian’s CEO, Jack Massimino, said in a statement Sunday that “the current regulatory environment” prevented the company from ensuring “a seamless transition for our students.”
Therein lies the culprit: “the current regulatory environment,” spoken by this $3M-annual-salary-package CEO, stated that regulation was the problem for them to do the right thing for their students. Well, Diary, it is exactly the (lack of enough) current regulatory environment that kept these sham colleges open and continued their eligibility to receive government funding for the students that lead up to the abrupt closure last week. The grand government puppets of the plutocrats advocated for Corinthian while they were under investigation. While the “U.S. Department of Education alleged the enterprise misrepresented job placement data and altered grades and attendance records,” Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio asked the U.S. Department of Education to “demonstrate leniency” toward Corinthian Colleges by permitting the wealthy for-profit company to continue accessing millions of dollars in federal financial aid while it was cooperating with a federal investigation. (Rubio’s Advocacy For Corinthian Colleges Draws Scrutiny)
My heart hurts when I read this line in the aforementioned article: “…[Corinthian Colleges, Inc.] institutions that pledged to provide affordable, efficient vocational training to nontraditional college students: single parents, military vets, high-school dropouts who wanted to get back on track.” I cannot imagine what it must feel like to pay $20,000 – $60,000 in tuition toward achieving a dream that you were told would bring you success in life only to be left completely shut-out. To be told that earning a college degree would give you a leg up and out of that low-income job you work while going to school, caring for your children, and transforming into a better self. I wonder if those students are at home on this Sunday with head-in-hands wondering what to do next while looking at an empty calendar that would have been filled with preparation for the end of a semester and possible graduation. Most of the students that I teach at City College of San Francisco hail from under-served populations with low-income backgrounds, but they are the lucky ones who somehow avoided the predators. They came to CCSF at a $46 per unit fee (it was once 1/2 that fee and even lower in the early 2000’s) which offers them the true dream to aspire and achieve. Well, that is if the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges does not accomplish its goal to terminate the accreditation of the excellent and resilient CCSF – a college that continues to offer high-quality education and inspiration to thousands of students while entering the 4th year of extreme hardship delivered by a commission driven to destroy it from the inside out. Oddly enough, this is the same commission that accredited Corinthian Colleges up through 2013. Isn’t that something, Diary?
Someday soon, I’ll write to you about the very strange 3-years that I taught part-time at the Art Institute of California-San Francisco on 1170 Market Street. AiCA-SF is one of several for-profit colleges of the EDMC – Education Management Corporation. The Pittsburgh PA-based operator of post-secondary educational institutions was expected to delist from the NASDAQ in November of 2014 and has eliminated approximately 2,600 positions with campuses in the process of closing. I guess this is how the CCSF administration has orchestrated a deal to move the classes once offered at our prized Civic Center campus into the first four floors at 1170 Market Street.
Endcap: 2013 – Combined salaries of the top 5 administrators at Corinthian Colleges, Inc. = approx $6.45M
(Though their stock options are now at $.01, this was 2013, and we all know what execs do with their stock options before the company crumbles.)
Here’s the breakdown:
Jack D. Massimino
CEO and Chairman of the Board = $3M
Base pay: $900,000, Bonus and non-Equity Incentive Compensation: $307,395, Stock award and option value: $1,719,207, Other: $91,257
Beth A. Wilson
Executive Vice President (EVP) = $877,786
Base pay: $451,140, Bonus and non-Equity Incentive Compensation: $100,491, Stock award and option value: $283,156, Other: $42,999
Kenneth S. Ord
EVP and Chief Administrative Officer = $1M
Base pay: $530,450, Bonus and non-Equity Incentive Compensation: $141,789, Stock award and option value: $322,937 Other: $26,521
Stan A. Mortensen
EVP and General Counsel = $787,816
Base pay: $396,550, Bonus and non-Equity Incentive Compensation: $88,322, Stock award and option value: $248,894 Other: $54,040
EVP and Chief Financial Officer = $783,968
Base pay: $400k, Bonus and non-Equity Incentive Compensation: $89,100, Stock award and option value: $251,059, Other: $43,809
(Image politely borrowed from MotherSky.com)