Don’t miss out on our next NC Policy Watch Crucial Conversation luncheon:

For-profit colleges: A helpful solution or part of what ails higher education?

NCPW-CC-2015-09-29-Barmak-Nassirian-edit-400x270-webFeaturing Barmak Nassirian, Director of Federal Relations and Policy Analysis for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities

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The rapid growth of for-profit colleges is one of the most important phenomena to impact American higher education in decades. Spurred by pervasive advertising and recruiting, the spread of online learning and the challenges of the 21st century economy, more and more Americans are turning to for-profit schools in hopes of boosting their employment and income prospects. Some conservative think tanks even argue that for-profit colleges can and should supplant public and nonprofit schools as the chief vehicle for delivering higher education.

Unfortunately, for many students, for-profit colleges have failed to deliver. Indeed, for a sizable number of students, the experience has been similar to what one would expect from a high-cost, predatory lender: slick and deceptive ads, poor service and mountains of debt. As advocates at the North Carolina Justice Center’s Predatory For-Profit Schools Project explain here, the industry is rife with sketchy operators who take advantage of vulnerable consumers.

So, where do things currently stand and where are they going? What is the true nature of the for-profit college industry and what does it portend for public and nonprofit schools? What are federal law and policymakers doing about the issue?

Please join us as we explore these questions and others with Barmak Nassirian. Mr. Nassirian the Director of Federal Relations and Policy Analysis at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. In this role, he coordinates federal relations and legislative, regulatory, and public policy for AASCU. Nassirian is also a nationally known policy analyst and expert on federal student aid. He has worked for decades with an extensive network of contacts on both sides of the aisle on Capitol Hill, with the Obama Administration and within key federal agencies, as well as with the media and the broader national higher education community.

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When: Tuesday, September 29, at noon — Box lunches will be available at 11:45 a.m.

Where: Center for Community Leadership Training Room at the Junior League of Raleigh Building, 711 Hillsborough St. (At the corner of Hillsborough and St. Mary’s streets)

Click here for parking info.

Space is limited – preregistration required.

Cost: $10, admission includes a box lunch.

Click here to register

Questions?? Contact Rob Schofield at 919-861-2065 or


Dr. Bill Friday, president emeritus of the UNC system, says North Carolina is at the point where it is violating the State Constitution, which states higher education should be offered as free as practicable.

In a weekend radio interview on News & Views with Chris Fitzsimon, Dr. Friday said it is time to draw a line on tuition hikes.

The 91-year-old, who served as the first president of the expanded UNC system, says continued cuts by the legislature have seriously hurt the institution.

At the same time, the trend of offsetting those cuts by raising tuition and fees has only discouraged young people from seeking higher education:

“One out of three families in North Carolina don’t gross $35,000 a year…the tragedy is these families don’t even apply anymore, see they have no resource base to work from,” explained Friday.

Friday believes the state’s lawmakers should have the courage to close billions of dollars in exemptions and tax loopholes rather than “whacking at” the budgets of North Carolina’s public schools and universities.

To hear a portion of Dr. Friday’s interview, click below. To hear the full segment (including this week’s other  interviews with Bob Etheridge and author Jeff Clements)  visit the Radio Interview section of the N.C. Policy Watch website.

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