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Research Raises Questions About Colleges That Shift From For-Profit to Nonprofit

Several for-profit colleges have recently restructured as nonprofit entities. But a new report argues that some of them now act like “covert for-profits” and that their backers profit in ways that are not standard at traditional universities.

The new research was conducted by Robert M. Shireman, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation and former Education Department official, who analyzed four for-profit colleges that had converted to nonprofit status. Through Freedom of Information Act requests, he obtained the documents that led to the creation of the nonprofits and other communication between each organization and the Internal Revenue Service.