Anthem Education, Shady For-Profit College, Welcomed With $350,000 in Tax Breaks

Categories: Broward News

rick scott pensive.jpg
Collidge is good!
On Tuesday, Gov. Rick Scott's offices sent out a news release that declared, "Gov. Scott Announces Anthem Education Expansion in Fort Lauderdale, 70 New Jobs."

It explained that the for-profit college will be locating its "North American headquarters" to Fort Lauderdale, spending $300,000 on a building and furniture, and creating 70 jobs with salaries that average more than $50,000.

It also noted -- low down in the report -- that Anthem was lured with "a Qualified Target Industry (QTI) tax refund totaling of $350,000 ($280,000 from the state and $70,000 from the city)" though it won't receive the money until "jobs goals and other contractual requirements are met."

Scott said, "Florida is known for educational excellence and job creation -- and Anthem Education's expansion in Fort Lauderdale is more proof of our success. With more than 320,000 jobs created in the last two years, our strategies of cutting taxes, paying down debt, and investing in K-12 education are paving the way for more opportunities for Florida families." Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler, Florida Secretary of Commerce Gray Swoope, and Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance CEO Council Chairman Ray Ferrero Jr. also babbled about how great it was to have Anthem.

It seemed a little ironic for the governor -- a guy who has refused federal funds for Medicaid expansion and high-speed rail -- to talk about Anthem in the same breath as "educational excellence," "cutting down taxes," and "paying down debt," because according to a congressional report that featured the school, federal taxpayer money is what props up Anthem (the school got $112 million in 2010) and other for-profit colleges, and the students who come out of its programs get a questionable education, only to be frequently saddled with debt.

Not only does the school's own website emphasize its spa over its computer science and health-care tracks (see toolbar -- though, hey, manicures by students are only $10!), but there are dozens of complaints on RipoffReport.com. Online commenters who say they are disgruntled students say it's "a scam, not a school" and accuse the company of "being sneaky and only car[ing] about money." The school was founded under a different name, High-Tech Institute (which faced a lawsuit from dissatisfied students and allegations of sexual harassment ), and has operated under various brand names, including Anthem College and Morrison University. In 2012, it was acquired by Florida Career College.

A 2012 Senate report titled "For Profit Higher Education: The Failure to Safeguard the Federal Investment and Ensure Student Success" summarizes a two-year investigation that revealed how $32 billion a year in federal money is funneled via student loans and grants into for-profit colleges, yet more than half the students leave programs without earning degrees. The report has an entire 17-page section on Anthem.

The report explains that for-profit colleges find vulnerable students, strong-arm them to enroll, and push them to apply for federal grant and loan money and sometimes additional private loans on top of that. The school pockets the money. Students, however, often end up in debt, with dubious degrees and credits that frequently cannot be transferred to state or private colleges.

About Anthem specifically, the report noted that the school derived 81.9 percent of its revenue from federal funds (maybe more, since that wasn't counting funds from veterans' programs), devoted 19.3 percent of its income to marketing and recruiting, and operated at a loss for at least two years. Data from 2008 indicated that 21.5 percent of students were defaulting on their loans.

The report said that the cost of tuition at Anthem was "more than triple" of a comparable degree from an accredited state college. The report also noted Anthem's "aggressive recruiting tactics" and "misleading recruiting tactics." Undercover investigators found that one Anthem recruiter misled a prospective student into believing that she could not speak with a financial aid officer until after enrolling and that another worker fudged documents to make an applicant look poorer and consequently qualify for a federal grant.

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5 comments
Judy0001
Judy0001

I attended the Anthem College in Kansas City Mo recently and I will say that it was a RIPOFF!!! I wish I would have done my homework on the college before I attended and took out loans and financial aide. I did attend a 2-year college before attending this one at a fraction of the cost. The school is not focused on education but on revenue. The staff turn over is UNREAL and they talk to the students as if they are dumb or un-educated, and I am a very well educated ADULT with college experience and no college I have attended is like this one.

They cut back on supplies and education materials that we pay for with our student loans to keep money in their pockets. I don't understand how at every other community college or university you get a student loan check back at the beginning of the semester but at this one you don't. They keep the money and then make you apply for it calling it a loan (huh a loan on money that is already yours) imagine that. Then when we would call the Florida Corporate office to complain they would do nothing.

I could go on and on about this but wont. Just know that these FOR PROFIT institutions are just that. They don't care about their students, the students education or the students future.

oozygonzalez
oozygonzalez

Interesting article. Although it should be fair to mention that the Ripoff report is also a big ripoff. An article was written about that in the Phoenix New Times http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/2007-02-01/news/the-real-rip-off-report/ 

The article states, "Magedson [founder of the Rip-Off Report] won't remove posts. He's not interested in evidence that would offer vindication. But if you're willing to pay, Ed Magedson just might be willing to talk." Sounds like a another shady business guy to me and probably should be mentioned in your article.

I am confused, if Florida Career College/Education Training Corporation purchased Anthem Education in 2012 then all the data you are  talking about is from Anthem's old owners and not the current owners. Rick Scott is not giving tax cuts to the old shady owners of Anthem Education but to the new owners Florida Career College. If you click on here the Senator Harkin's report  there is no mention of Florida Career College/Education Training Corporation. 

http://www.harkin.senate.gov/help/forprofitcolleges.cfm

So is your article talking about the old Anthem or the new FCC/Anthem? 


icculus17
icculus17 topcommenter

zero comments, again.  No wonder this nonsense just continues.  Fraud capital of the Western hemisphere

lisah363
lisah363

@Judy0001 Hey join the club! I went to Florida Career College[Anthem] and see what you mean.. Very HIGH PRESSURE sales PITCH on getting a loan, which I was firm with them about NOT wanting or doing and then I received a letter about my loan?? It was a mix up. I've attended real colleges too and this one is defiantly focused on profit and the way they speak to down to the students is just awful..

During the 1st course, realized the scam and dropped out. Here nearly 2 months later, still no refund of my $!,000.00!! Surely they didn't think I'd forget about "that"?

That a sham-scam.. :(

Glad I'm out of there. :)

riverrat69
riverrat69 topcommenter

@icculus17 You expect anything better from the guy that took the fifth 75 times?

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