Walden U facing program review from Minnesota higher ed officials
- The Minnesota Office of Higher Education has launched an program review of Walden University amid student complaints that the school misrepresented claims of student success in its marketing.
- Students reported to the commission that it was taking longer to earn a doctorate than expected, and that loan debt had increased as a result. Walden officials say the school has a robust record of graduating students on time and without delay, and that one lawsuit cited in coverage about the doctoral troubles spurred the investigation.
- Walden has largely avoided the scrutiny of for-profit schools by the U.S. Department of Education in recent months.
Walden has remained relatively unscathed by the assault on for-profit education because it maintains a successful model of relatively-respectable earnings data for graduates and a system of expansion that continues to attract investors. However, if the federal government can identify any trend of underperformance in graduation rates or loan debt, it too may be in the crosshairs for closure by way of federal aid prohibition.
For most schools facing similar question about employment outcomes and financial stability of graduates, the solution rests in schools taking a bigger role in tracking graduates and gathering information about the factors influencing employability. Did they choose to take internships while enrolled, are they looking to secure employment out of state if living in regions where job markets are depleted? The key is context for student struggles, not just reporting on graduation and degrees earned.