More on higher education and the left


Another letter about Steven Warshawsky's article yesterday is worth sharing.


My Faculty colleague, Arthur Pontynen, sent me a copy of Mr. Warshawsky's prescient commentary in American Thinker for September 28.  I think he is right on track, and arguing a point I've been trying to make since Yorktown University enrolled its first students in May 2001——nothing can be done to reform higher education from within.

That reform will come from competition from institutions using new technologies to enter the education marketplace at a fraction of the cost of establishing a traditional college or university. 

Hitherto new colleges were founded by Priest, Preachers and Billionaires, but now a new class of education entrepreneur is appearing, and taking on the Establishment.  Yorktown University is more focused on politics, economics and the Liberal Arts than any other Internet—based Universities, and represents the first assault by conservative scholars and investors to 'take on' the education Establishment.  Others such as University of Phoenix, Strayer, DeVry, Laureate University, Capella, Walden, Kaplan, Argosy and a dozen others are focused on niches in a broad vocational market.

The rules of the game (until now) have been rigged to protect traditional institutions which explains why a very small percentage of the total student population in the United States attend Internet—based institutions.  That protection begins in state licensing regulations, and moves to regulations governing accreditation and Title IV eligibility.

Of six regional accrediting associations (chartered by the U.S. Department of Education) only one (North Central) has accredited solely Internet—based universities.  In a country of 285 million people there are only three regionally accredited universities. 

Due to a Distance Education Demonstration Program these three regionally accredited Internet—based institutions and a few nationally accredited ones are exempted from the so—called "50% rule" that restricts enrollments online using Title IV funds to the number of students using Title IV that are enrolled in classrooms. 

In the current Higher Education Act reauthorization, only the House version repeals that regulation.  The Senate version keeps this discriminatory rule, but grants certain exemptions that will ultimately allow places like Yorktown University to qualify for Title IV eligibility——so long as Republicans control the House.

The domination of the left in higher education, therefore, is supported by a crazy quilt of state law and federal regulations culminating in an accrediting system that deters new institutions from entering the education marketplace. 

Higher education is a protected market benefiting the left, and until that is made known and thousands of influential citizens call for de—regulation of the education marketplace, nothing can be done to displace the left from their positions of power in higher education.

Richard J. Bishirjian, Ph.D.
Yorktown University
4340 East Kentucky, Suite 457
Denver, CO 80246