Critics Call for Closure of Kaplan University


Founded in 1937 as the American Institute of Commerce, Kaplan University is owned by the Washington Post Company and is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Yet, its accreditation and relationship with one of the most powerful media companies in the world hasn’t kept the school from being targeted for closure by critics who contend the school has defrauded the federal government and students.

Online Petition

Critics say Kaplan U. is putting them deeply in debt.

A group of students has started a petition on to urge the Washington Post Company to shut down the for-profit university, alleging that the school and others like it have harmed “…millions of…students, [who] end up victims of an industry that siphoned off more than $4.3 billion dollars of federal student aid in 2008-2009 alone.”[1]

The petition was started by Shannon Croteau who says that she was just 11 classes away from completing her degree with Kaplan University Online, deeply in debt and unable to secure financial aid. Croteau claims if she was to get her degree it would be worthless in New Hampshire, her home state, with little chance of securing the promised $65,000 paralegal position her education would have provided she alleges Kaplan told her.

Croteau has been joined by about two dozen other students who say they were educated by Kaplan. The students and petitioners are asking that Washington Post Chairman Donald Graham stop admissions to the school unless “meaningful reform” is put in place. Just one week after the petition was launched, 10,000 people have added their names to the list. Each person who signs the online petition generates an email to Graham.

Billions Missing

Other problems with Kaplan University have surfaced in recent years including allegations that it and 14 other schools have used deceptive recruiting practices to attract students. The federal Government Accountability Office found in August 2010 that these schools tell students they can enjoy large incomes by completing their programs.[2] Later in the year new rules were put in place by the federal government to curb dodgy recruiting practices where recruiters were being awarded based on the number of new heads signed up.

For-profit schools have been under the gun in recent years as graduates find that promised job pickings are slim or that they are deeply in debt or both. Those problems are dogging private and public student graduates alike regardless of where they’ve been educated.


[1] Tell Kaplan & The Washington Post: Stop Cashing In On Low-Income Students

[2] The Washington Post: GAO: 15 For-profit Colleges Used Deceptive Recruiting Tactics


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