Bill Clinton and For-Profit Laureate International Universities!

Dear Commons Community,

Bill Clinton’s relationship with the for-profit  Laureate International Universities received some attention last year but has resurfaced due to the publicity that Bill and Hillary Clinton have received regarding The Clinton Foundation.  As reported in the New York Daily News two days ago.

“Bill Clinton accepted nearly $18 million in payments from a prominent for-profit education company, despite the fact that his wife, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, has made criticism of such firms a cornerstone of her education policy proposals, a new report alleges.

The former President took at least $17.6 million from Laureate International Universities, a large for-profit education conglomerate that runs at least 80 schools and universities across the world, in exchange for a five-year role as “honorary chancellor,” NBC News reported.

As part of that job, which Clinton held from 2010 to 2015, the former President traveled the world talking up the advantages the company’s schools offer, according to the network.

But his role appears to contradict many of the criticisms Hillary Clinton — who was secretary of state from 2009 to 2013 — has offered about the very same kind of institutions during her campaign.

Candidate Clinton has vowed to “crack down on predatory” for-profit schools as part of a broader plan to help lessen crippling student loan burdens on millions of Americans.

The “College Affordability Plan” posted to Clinton’s campaign website dubs “for-profit colleges” as institutions that have “too often taken advantage of borrowers” and promised a “crackdown on the abusive practices of for-profit colleges that defraud taxpayers while burdening students with debt for educational programs of no value.”

In fact, one of Laureate’s largest schools in the U.S., Walden University, was found to have burdened students with the second-highest debt load of any American school, according to a 2015 study by the Brookings Institution.

Three of the five schools the company runs in the U.S. have been under what the federal Education Department calls “heightened cash monitoring” due to questions over its finances, CNN reported this week.

In a statement, the Clinton campaign reiterated its desire to “crack down” on for-profit schools operating in “lawbreaking” ways.

Complicating the picture even more is the fact that Doug Becker, the founder of Laureate, has donated up to $5 million to the Clinton Foundation.

And it appears that Hillary Clinton, during her tenure as secretary of state, but before her husband was hired by the company, wrote to a top aide that she wanted officials from the school added to a State Department dinner guest list.

According to emails released by the State Department, Clinton, in 2009, described the company as “the fastest-growing college network in the world” and mentioned that it was “started by Doug Becker, who Bill likes a lot.” Bill Clinton appears to have resigned from his position with Laureate just days before Hillary Clinton announced her campaign and after five years in the role.”

The Clinton Foundation is a weighted chain on Hillary’s candidacy that just keeps getting longer and heavier. The Clintons should divest themselves of all involvement in the Foundation as soon as possible.



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