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The challenges faced by for-profit education during these difficult times

August 01,2011 by: admin

It is tough being a CEO in a for-profit organization. Now if you are in this position the Education Secretary Arne Duncan would probably take you to task for not being able to graduate adequate number of students or for failing to prepare the ones who graduate to get ‘gainful employment’ in their chosen field. With the new push from the Obama administration to increase the PELL grants while removing subsidies on the Stafford Loan Limits, Congress is putting you through detention for violation of the government’s 90/10 rule, where schools are required to prove that they get around 10% of their income from other sources apart from the Title IV fed financial aid. And as if this weren’t enough, the short-sellers from Wall Street are giving this sector D’s and F’s because it has failed to meet the profit projections. This is more than sufficient to send the online education CEO back to the school.

However, with Dr. Wallace E. Boston, President and CEO of the American Public University System it is very different as he sees things from a different perspective. While his competitors are constantly complaining about the ‘unfair grading system’ he is in fact, seeking out the AP courses. Unlike the rest of the much publicized institutions such as the Apollo Group Inc. or APOL which is the parent company of University of Phoenix, APEI has managed to stay focused through its American Military University or AMU subsidiary, on a lucrative niche well within the for-profit online education segment.

James P. Etter, a former Marine Corps instructor, had founded AMU during 1991. This was done to facilitate the financially strapped, highly mobile, and irregularly employed soldiers who lacked the necessary educational qualification to rise in ranks and to make a career in the services. In 2001, AMU had expanded and moved into the American Public University System. There it managed to establish the American Public University (APU) which was APEI’s civilian arm. This was done to meet the demand for a post military career preparation. Despite its expanded course offerings to the public service community, APEI has continued to prosper because it has not focused primarily on the bigger online areas like InfoTech, healthcare, and business. But it has rather focused only on niche degrees in the niche sectors such as fire science, emergency management, space studies, law enforcement, and the armed forces of course. This has been made abundantly clear by Boston on many occasions.

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