HUFFINGTON POST: Durbin: Corinthian Buyer ECMC Is Breaking Its Promises

Career College Central Summary:

  • In a floor speech today, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) said he was "troubled" that ECMC, the debt collection company that has acquired more than 50 campuses of collapsing for-profit college chain Corinthian, is "already, just weeks into owning and operating these schools, failing to live up to the promises they made to the students and to me."
  • Durbin said that ECMC's CEO, Dave Hawn, had indicated that he had listened to the concerns of Durbin and others and agreed to drop a policy forcing students to give up their right to bring grievances with the school to court. But Hawn did not tell Durbin that ECMC would in fact compel students to accept fundamental limits on their ability to bring a lawsuit.
  • Durbin recounted that he had written to Hawn in December asking him not to require students to bring their disputes with the school to a private arbitration — as Corinthian, one of the most abusive for-profit colleges, had long required. As Durbin noted, ECMC said it planned to run its new college subsidiary, called Zenith, as a non-profit, and non-profit colleges don't force students into mandatory arbitration.
  • Arbitration tends to favor the institution over the individual, and would hinder a range of student claims against a school, from deceptive recruiting to campus assault.
  • "I told Mr. Hawn that if he was truly going to run a not-for-profit institution, he should allow the clear model [of'] non-profit education — no mandatory arbitration clauses for students," Durbin said. "In response to me, Mr. Hawn certainly said the right things."  Hawn told Durbin that he would accept that "students have an unquestioned right" to pursue claims in court.
  • "I felt pretty good about that response," Durbin said today. "Well, then we read the fine print."

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