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​Tressie McMillan Cottom on For-Profit Higher Ed, Purdue, and Dream Data Sets

“It is much easier to destroy an institution’s reputation than it is to build it,” says Tressie McMillan Cottom, an assistant professor of sociology at Virginia Commonwealth University. “Profit complicates that at a whole other level.”

Cottom, who recently wrote the book “Lower Ed: The Troubling Rise of For-Profit Colleges in the New Economy,” is talking about what can happen when traditional non-profit universities partner with for-profit companies and institutions, such as Purdue’s recent decision to acquire Kaplan University.

EdSurge sat down with Cottom this week at the Education Writers Association’s annual conference in Washington D.C. to talk about the rattling deal and other blurring lines that exists between for- and non-profit institutions, and whether or not the “disruptors” are shaking up traditional higher education as we know it.