For-Profit School's Advertising Campaign Capitalizes on the Crappy Economy and Junkies

[Ed. note: email subscribers may not be able to see the formatting below that makes it clear certain outrageous and completely sarcastic statements in the first paragraph of this post are not meant seriously. Come on over to the site and it'll all make sense, I promise. Or not. Whatever. Maybe I just miss you and want to see your pretty face.]

Just when you thought the blood-sucking degree mill "schools" you see advertised during Maury Povich mostly online, heavy-advertising, for-profit schools couldn't steep any lower get any more creative, here's an ad campaign that manages to take an admirable career goal like helping down and out depressed people and turn it into a sick, twisted fishing net cast to gather up already broke, wanna-be professionals to milk them for every penny they don't have really interesting commentary on the economy.

It begins: "Capella University understands rough economic times have led to an increase in clinical depression. Drug and alcohol abuse is up and those dealing with grief don't have access to the professional help they need."

This is where Capella tries to convince you that they are the gateway to bridge these poor, lost, perfectly diverse subway wanderers to you, the world's next greatest counselor. Yes you can!

Wait, maybe you can't.

If you, prospective Capella student, read the fine print, you'll see that you may not get as far as you think you can professionally with a Capella degree. "Capella University cannot guarantee licensure, certification, or endorsement. State regulations vary regarding professional licensure and salary benefits. It is learners' responsibility to understand and comply with requirements for their state," their website reads. That seems weird.

Or does it? Check out this case from Pennsylvania:

Petitioner, a resident of Nazareth, obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology in 1998 from East Stroudsburg University.   She obtained her Masters of Science degree from Capella University (Capella) in Minneapolis, Minnesota on March 29, 2001, and was awarded a doctoral degree from Capella on August 31, 2004, in Clinical Psychology.

On December 8, 2005, Petitioner filed an application to practice psychology with the Board of Psychology.   In a letter dated November 22, 2006, the Petitioner's application was preliminarily denied.   In pertinent part, the letter stated:

The Board reviewed your Application for a License to Practice Psychology at its November 20-21, 2006 meeting. The Board has preliminarily denied your application because your Ph.D. degree from Cappella [sic] University does not meet the following definition of a ‘doctoral degree in psychology’ found in § 41.1 [1] of the Board's regulations:  ‘(xii) Has a residency requirement that each degree candidate complete a minimum of two consecutive academic semesters as a matriculated student physically present at the institution granting the degree ․’

Here's a really fun PDF on the appeal.

I mean come on, the Capella YouTube page description has an asterisk after "accredited" - it doesn't get much more official than that:

Capella University is an accredited* fully online university that has built its reputation by providing quality education for working adults.
Thing is, that little asterisk is like a door in the Winchester Mystery House, it leads to nowhere. Notice how clever the "accredited* fully online" part is? Capella's "Accreditation" page doesn't make it any clearer either. Any guesses?

Anyhoo, Capella also got sued by an Illinois pension fund 2010. The fund alleged Capella misled investors (oh here we go with that again) by failing to disclose allegedly "abusive and fraudulent recruiting and financial aid lending practices."

Know what I find hilarious? The fact that students ranked Capella a C in "Campus Beauty" and "Campus Maintenance" on this review site. IT'S FULLY ONLINE! You might be able to blame Capella for a lot of things but your dirty ass house isn't one of them.

I shouldn't be questioning any of this stuff too loudly or Capella might get mad and go all Monsanto on my ass. You see, they agreed to settle a counterclaim lawsuit claiming defamation and interference with business relationships against a former Capella student named Jeffry La Marca in 2009. La Marca was a former student who claimed Capella discriminated against him on the basis of his disability, and dismissed him from the university after he sought reasonable accommodation. In the end, he was required to post an apology, hand over ownership of his anti-Capella websites to Capella and received no compensation.

Why is everyone so heated about Capella anyway? Oh wait, here's a recent Capella-produced paper on student debt (hilarious, I know) that goes perfect with the Department of Education OIG audit from 2006 [PDF] that found Capella deficient in several areas such as their use of government funds, how they chose to count time and how they chose to define the word "student." Like this nugget:

FFEL and Pell disbursements. The University disbursed Title IV, HEA program funds (FFEL and Pell) to students who were not enrolled in an eligible program at the time of the disbursement. As a result, the University had the use of about $3.5 million in federal funds every quarter for 2 to 10 days, and the Department may have made unnecessary interest and special allowance payments related to these funds. We recommend the Acting COO for FSA require the University to develop and implement policies and procedures to provide reasonable assurance that funds are not disbursed to students who are not enrolled.
At the time, Capella received 70% of its income from government grants, which added up to about $328,204,910 from 2002 - 2005.

The University spent considerable time trying to extract information from its computer systems that would support student attendance, but was having difficulty obtaining all needed information due to various technical issues," the OIG report reads. LOL right!

Anyway, back to that ad. I'm not implying anything about the quality of Capella's instruction, I'm just saying the ad is a bit creepy to me given how bad the situation in America really is. That's all. I swear. For realsies.

I was also freaked out by their previous "lady stalking the little girl coming home from school" campaign. Matter? What does that mean anyway? Oh well. Back to what you were doing, I'm going back to the teevee.

Jr Deputy Accountant

Some say he’s half man half fish, others say he’s more of a seventy/thirty split. Either way he’s a fishy bastard.


W.C. Varones said...

Same shit, different school.

Alliant University's (San Diego) $150,000 psych Ph.D. massacred a family of three.