"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Friday, October 27, 2006

EduCap, Inc., Student Loans, and Caribbean "Summits"

John Boehner is a lending rep's Rep who makes Tom DeLay look like a paragon of virtue. With government student loan funds slashed last spring, Boehner's primary constituency, the private student loan shark companies, have moved in big time. Their wine-and-dine strategy for corrupting university officials, of course, is the same one used to further corrupt the Congress, many of whose members will be picking up the pieces (and their paychecks) on K Street following November 7.

The light of day occasionally cast by the media is enough, however, to send these blood suckers scurrying back under their rocks. Example: today's story in the Times about EduCap, Inc.'s cancelled field trip planned for university officials and their spouses to warm and sunny Nevis during the cold and dark month of February. As the story goes, EduCap, Inc. has scored billions as a result of federal rules and regs they have essentially been allowed to write, and now they want to share some of that wealth with those university officials who can send more customers desperate for any way to fund their college educations--even if it means coming out of college swamped with debt.

Room rate at the Nevis Four Seasons? $655 per night:

It turns out there probably will not be much talk about education on the Caribbean island of Nevis this February. The student loan company that invited university officials and their spouses to an expenses-paid education summit meeting there has canceled the event.

George Pappas, a senior vice president of the loan company, EduCap Inc., had said the purpose of the conference, which was to be held Feb. 2 to 5 at the Four Seasons Resort, was to discuss education, not loans.

But some financial aid administrators have said the conference was EduCap’s way of wooing university officials who could steer student borrowers their way, for example, by putting them on so-called preferred-lender lists.

Students rely heavily on the lists when choosing a private lender, and loan companies have come up with a range of inducements to persuade officials to steer borrowers their way.

In a letter on Wednesday to people who planned to attend the conference, Mr. Pappas said the company was canceling the event “in light of recent inaccurate reports in the media regarding the financial aid community and the unfortunate perception these reports have created.”

The letter said more than 80 percent of attendees were “not members of the financial aid community.”

“Considerable confusion and misinformation exist about the purpose of the summit,” Mr. Pappas wrote, adding: “The goal of the conference was to foster an informed, thoughtful discussion about creating an educated citizenry.”

Michael Dannenberg, director of education policy at the New America Foundation, a public policy institute in Washington, called the cancellation “but a small victory for the integrity of financial aid,” saying, “larger conflicts of interest remain.”

EduCap is a nonprofit company in the Washington area that has reaped billions of dollars in the lucrative student loan business.

The company was to pay for airfare, the hotel stay and dining for each conference participant and a guest.

A standard room at the Four Seasons on the planned February dates cost $655 a night, not including “taxes, service charges and coastal protection levy,” according to the hotel’s Web site.

1 comment:

  1. While I love the island of Nevis, I was sooo happy to see this conference called off. Imagine paying almost $700.00 per night for a room. About a week take home pay for a teacher. Now if they would just stop the doctors and drug reps from going here health and prescription costs would go down too If you would like to see Nevis you can check out my Nevis Blog http://www.nevisblog.com or my Nevis website http://www.nevis1.com