From the American Enterprise Institute, Washington, DC
ANDREW ROSEN, Kaplan
DIANE AUER JONES, Career Education Corporation
JEFF SELINGO, The Chronicle of Higher Education
ZAKIYA SMITH, White House Domestic Policy Council
Andrew Rosen, chairman and chief executive officer of Kaplan Inc. and author of “Change.edu: Rebooting for the New Talent Economy,” discussed the role of for-profit institutions in higher education at an event at AEI on Wednesday. Rosen examined some misperceptions about for-profits and suggested they can serve a specific niche of students often ignored by traditional higher education institutions: middle-aged students who are often attending school while working full-time and raising children. Discussants Diane Auer Jones from Career Education Cooperation and Jeff Selingo from The Chronicle of Higher Education highlighted problems with the current state of higher education, such as rising costs, a diminished focus on vocational education programs and a failure to acknowledge all possible steps to success for adult learners. Zakiya Smith–a senior adviser for education at the White House–advocated for a more rational system of higher education in which students would be exposed to data to help them assess institutions and make informed decisions on higher education and student debt. Although panelists disagreed about federal control of student loans, they agreed America’s traditional higher education system is not well suited to serve a majority of today’s students. Rosen explained that for-profits have the potential to fill this void and establish themselves as staples of the American higher education landscape.