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December 21, 2009

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Mike Flanagan

Tim,

I challenge you to MANAGE a school and its students (who aren’t employees; they are clients) and adequately obtain voluntary disclosures from them for most of these stats that you clamor for. It is extremely difficult, nigh impossible, to CONSISTENTLY obtain this information (wage rates, debt load, repayment rates) from the students themselves or from third parties like Sallie Mae.

Even placement rates can be very difficult to determine accurately because of the woeful responsiveness (and responsibility) of students. If we didn’t almost literally “bribe” students we could not obtain enough placement data to be meaningful.

My school deals with relatively high-functioning members of society, yet we find many “communication-challenged” students in our midst. Even more so for the for-profit schools that deal with lower socio-economic students. Heck, my wife teaches doctoral students who amaze us with their dysfunctionality. Apparently you worked primarily with high-functioning, economically savvy people in the financial industry. Methinks that you have an idealistic assessment of peoples’ financial acumen, not to mention basic life skills.

The disclosure process costs real money, which of course increases the schools’ costs and must get reflected in higher tuition fees. I think you have legitimate points, but also think you unduly favor public schools over private. You rarely consider that the <2-year private schools typically deal with people who have higher loan default rates and lower economic status PRIOR to going to school (and taking out student loans), so it is no surprise that their after-school loan default rates are higher.

I challenge you to find placement and wage rates from even ONE public school, either 2-year or 4-year. Good luck if you accept the challenge.

Keep up the good work overall, though.

Merry Christmas,

Mike Flanagan
President
Video Symphony
TV & Film School
www.videosymphony.com

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