College, Inc.

Meet Michael Clifford. Clifford's important new book is "How To Run A College - By A Guy That Never Went To One!". He could relate to high school dropout, Ambassador College adman and "Chancellor" Herbert W. Armstrong.

MARTIN SMITH: Why did the university need to be reinvented? What's wrong with the way that universities were running up until the time that John Sperling came along with Phoenix?
MARK DeFUSCO: John saw the constraints of most- most college professors. You know, anybody who's got any new ideas in college are quickly beaten down. The academy hasn't had a real change in how it works for almost 500 years.
ANNOUNCER: [Univ. of Phoenix television commercial] Which university revolutionized education in America?
MARTIN SMITH: The granddaddy, University of Phoenix, spent $130 million on ads in 2008.
ANNOUNCER: [Univ. of Phoenix television commercial] Which university has the largest business school in the country?
MARTIN SMITH: That's more than brands like Tide, Revlon and FedEx.
ANNOUNCER: [television commercial] Why wait any longer?
MARTIN SMITH: What they spend on sales and marketing can rival or exceed what they spend on teaching.
MARK DeFUSCO, Dir., University of Phoenix, 1994-'02: If you take a look at for-profit colleges, the analysts will tell you that anywhere between 20 and 25 percent of the total revenue of a company is in sales and marketing, about a quarter. In most cases, the faculty are in the 10 to 20 percent range.
MARTIN SMITH: [on camera] Should that make us uncomfortable?
MARK DeFUSCO: I don't know. Why would one be uncomfortable?
MARTIN SMITH: Well, you're spending more on getting me to come to the school than you are on the service you're providing once I'm there.
MARK DeFUSCO: I understand. Well-
MARTIN SMITH: Is that right?
MARK DeFUSCO: When I go and buy perfume for my mom, the chemicals in the bottle and the bottle itself amount to about $0.50. The advertising amounts to five or six bucks.
MARTIN SMITH: But you're not selling perfume.
MARK DeFUSCO: What makes education so special? For-profits have to get people's attention, and they do a very good job of getting people's attention.
Read the full transcript here.


Douglas Becker said...

And just like the pioneer in sponsoring schools of higher education without having one yourself, the methods to recruit differ little from the original:

From the Huffington Post:

For-Profit College Recruiters Taught To Use 'Pain,' 'Fear,' Internal Documents Show says the headline.

"Remind them of what things will be like if they don't continue forward....

Another set of cults, just like RCoG, WWCoG and UCG. And the methods should sound very familiar. The big difference is that Herbert Armstrong didn't claim to be a born again Christian.

Will you get your money's worth?

Experience suggests....

Anonymous said...

I teach at one...these observations are true. I love to teach and need the contact, but at times it feels like working for WCG all over again. Smoke n mirrors, burden on the member/student and way way too expensive predicting default for those who can least afford it.