General News Outlet (Large Staff)
It’s an industry that seemingly can do no wrong in the eyes of regulators. That’s because for-profit colleges in Florida are mostly self-regulated. A look at how these colleges came to flourish in Florida.
HIGHER-ED HUSTLE (Landing page)
- Politicians turn Florida into for-profit college paradise
- Industry touts its success stories
- Ex-employees describe predatory playbook
- Desperate complaints and form-letter responses
- A closer look at complaints
- For-profit colleges flex political muscle
- Money, politics and Florida’s career colleges
Comments from the Judges:
“I opened this entry skeptical that an investigation of for-profit colleges would tell a story I hadn’t heard. I was wrong, wrong, wrong. Michael Vasquez’ exploration of an oversight apparatus that enables continued abuses blew me away. It’s egregious enough that students take on massive debt-loads to acquire — or not acquire — worthless credentials, it’s horrifying to understand how the officials charged with ensuring the students’ complaints are investigated sell them out. Great job.”
“This is an exhaustive, authoritative investigation of for-profit colleges in Florida that led to the shutdown of Dade Medical College. This package represents a huge effort. … It’s obvious why this series made such an impact on Florida. I like how the writer pointed out how Florida students in particular could be vulnerable to for-profit institutions. The forgery claims are truly jaw-dropping. The first story, about how politicians have passed laws that fueled the incredible growth of for-profits in Florida, is a blockbuster, no question. Vasquez includes many powerful, heartbreaking anecdotes of the impact of these laws and unethical practices on everyday people. … The reporting and quotes are simply incredible.”
EWA is grateful to the College Board for its generous support of the 2016 National Awards for Education Reporting.