GAO Unit Restructuring is Further Evidence of a Grossly Mishandled Investigation of the Career College Sector

Coalition for Educational Success Urges the Agency to Retract its Deeply Flawed Report

WASHINGTON--()--Coalition for Educational Success Managing Director Penny Lee released the following statement, which responds to the Government Accountability Office's (GAO) announcement on the Forensic Audit and Special Investigations (FSI) Unit:

"This significant restructuring and staff demotion constitutes a major admission by the GAO that it mishandled its earlier investigation of career colleges. It significantly undermines the report and casts serious doubt around the credibility and objectivity of the team that provided the GAO's analysis. The time has come for the GAO to withdraw immediately its defective report.

"The flawed report has been used by the U.S. Department of Education to support its campaign for the proposed gainful employment regulation. The report is repeatedly touted by members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) and career college critics during their attacks on the sector.

"By this announcement, the GAO makes clear that it failed to adhere to applicable professional standards and protocols in conducting the investigation and preparing its findings. Consequently, the GAO produced findings that were riddled with errors and replete with biased and unsubstantiated conclusions.

"One cannot overstate the reputational and financial damage done to the career colleges, our students and our employees by the GAO's deeply flawed report. In the days following the report's initial release in August 2010, the market capitalization of the publicly traded organizations that own and operate career colleges dropped nearly $4.4 billion - or about 14%. The end result has been fewer choices for our students and thousands of lost jobs for our employees.

"Even though the GAO now acknowledges that its own quality controls failed with its investigation of career colleges, including lax internal controls to ensure the FSI Unit operated objectively, the restructuring is only a first step. The only acceptable solution is to release all materials related to this study and once and for all, pull the plug on the highly flawed and biased report."

The Coalition for Educational Success

The Coalition for Educational Success includes many of the nation's leading career colleges, serving more than 350,000 students at 478 campuses in 41 states. Career colleges provide training for students in 17 of the 20 fastest growing fields. The Coalition advocates for policies that support wider access to higher education, particularly for non-traditional students including full-time workers, workforce returners, working parents, minorities and veterans.

Contacts

The Coalition for Educational Success
Noah Black, 202-295-8797
noah.black@harbourgrp.com

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Contacts

The Coalition for Educational Success
Noah Black, 202-295-8797
noah.black@harbourgrp.com