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August 31, 2010 2:07 PM Graham Puts His Mouth Where His Money Is

By Daniel Luzer

Graham2.jpg

It looks like Washington Post Company Chairman Donald Graham knows all too well how important for-profit colleges are to keeping his business alive.

Yesterday the College Guide ran a piece looking at the relationship between the Washington Post and Kaplan University, the for-profit college it owns. As the Columbia Journalism Review’s Justin Peters said:

What more can the Post do? Divest itself of Kaplan? That’s not reasonable. Kaplan’s the only thing keeping that company in business. Not report on these issues? That doesn’t seem like a great idea either.
“This newspaper would not be here if not for LSAT prep courses and proprietary schools, but trust our reporting anyway!”

Or trust something. According to an article by Russell Adams and Melissa Korn in the Wall Street Journal:

Graham recently abandoned his hands-off approach to the company’s cash cow, making several trips to Capitol Hill to lobby against proposed regulations that threaten earnings at Post Co.’s Kaplan Inc. for-profit-college business.
“They aimed at the bad actors and they wound up scoring a direct hit on schools that service low-income students,” Mr. Graham said in an interview. “That cannot be what the Obama administration wants.”

In fact, altering the business practices of proprietary schools that saddle low-income students with huge debts without helping their careers is almost surely exactly what the Obama administration wants.

Two Kaplan campuses were among the 15 for-profit schools that the U.S. Government Accountability Office found to be routinely engaging in fraudulent and misleading recruiting practices.

Nevertheless, Graham doesn’t intend to keep a closer watch on Kaplan or, say, replace the person in charge of the school. According to the Adams and Korn article, Graham said that Kaplan’s chief executive, Andrew Rosen, is “as good a person as you can have running an education company.” [Image via]

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer