The U.S. Education Department’s accreditation advisory committee will discuss the conversion of for-profit colleges to non-profit status at a meeting from May 22-24. The chair of the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) is Art Keiser, the chancellor and CEO of Keiser University. This Florida-based school converted from for-profit to non-profit status in 2011, which is the subject of the discussion. Some Senate Democrats, led by Senator Elizabeth Warren, have urged that he recuse himself, since he obviously has a conflict of interest. Secretary DeVos will decide whether he does. Or will he have the decency to do it himself? What could possibly be dubious about a college headed by its founder and namesake?

Keiser for many years was the face of for-profit higher education, even chaired the for-profit’s lobbying group in D.C., and now he in charge of regulating the industry? What a bad joke Betsy DeVos has pulled on the nation. Keiser led the way in converting his own namesake institution from for-profit to non-profit, but the Miami Herald reported that it was still lucrative.

Robert Shireman of the Century Foundation developed a very informative and important graphic about the sham of converting colleges from for-profit to non-profit. You should see it. The link is at the end of this post.

In his email to me, he noted the similarities between ostensibly non-profit charters that are actually managed by a for-profit, and “colleges” that convert to non-profit status yet remain for profit in fact.

He makes the following points:

1. The abuses of students and taxpayers have occurred predominantly at for-profit colleges.

2. That’s because removing investors from power positions in schools (being nonprofit) reduces the incentives for exploitative and predatory practices.

3. For-profit colleges want the “nonprofit” label but without properly separating profit from corporate control.

He adds, “These problems keep recurring over history. NACIQI’s leadership is needed to assure that nonprofits, at least, are safe for students and taxpayers.”

But, can NACIQI regulate these institutions, as it is supposed to do, when its chair heads an institution that is an exemplar of the institutions under investigation?

Read the report here.