I am in the midst of writing a piece for the HuffPost about the sordid relationship between the Washington Post and Kaplan University. On a similar note, I've taken issue with Michelle Singletary at the Post on many occasions, and most recently it was in a piece regarding Jesse Jackson's decision to be a sell out and support for-profits. Singletary, on the other hand, performs an even more dubious role at the Post.
She loves to write these sickening stories about how people - actually one couple at her church - got out of student loan debt, and even worse, she recently discussed new initiatives related to student loan reform and higher education funding. In that particular piece, I wrote: "To make matters worse, you have Michelle Singletary at the WP. Oh, yeah, she's a so-called expert on this topic. She's calling for an increase in Pell Grants. I call that a huge conflict of interest."
While writing this forthcoming article about the Post and Kaplan's fraudulent activities, I became angrier about the situation. Moreover, the information upon which I am relying comes directly from a source who used to work at Kaplan. This person was not a low-level telemarketer or recruiter (although those individuals have mountains of evidence, too, so I am not dismissing the tales they could also tell). Instead, the individual played a significant role on one of Kaplan's screw-job campuses.
It's going to a a must-read for those of you who follow my work. The Post and Ms. Singletary should be ashamed of themselves. Frankly, I don't know how that woman sleeps at night. But then again I don't know how a lot of people sleep at night.
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I think WaPo people are just told to spin, spin, spin. If you look at the 11/10 NYT article by Tamar Lewin, you will see that the comments were running fairly negative until about page 5 or 6 which is in the afternoon EDT. Which means Kaplan and WaPo marshalled all their forces and had people (read students) sending in comments singing their praises. The Washington Post and its owners/flunkies are one step up from garbage, as far as I'm concerned.
Singletary is now a nationally-syndicated columnist, so I'm not sure she cares what WaPo management thinks. On the other hand, she exemplifies all the flaws of the typical "nationally-recognized" personal finance columnist, particularly in over-simplifying an unnecessarily over-complicated student loan program. Even Jane Bryant Quinn, the only legit personal finance columnist (who unfortunately shut down her regular column several years ago), has argued that it is necessary to oversimplify in order to stay on message in a column of only two hundred words or so. Unfortunately people who take the advice literally will dig a little deeper, discover "exceptions" and "glossifications," and thus become disillusioned.
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