Liberal petition-hosting website Change.org has found a new target: The Washington Post. In an excoriating alert released Thursday, the website targeted The Post for its revenue-generating Kaplan educational programs.
“Here’s how the Washington Post Company makes billions of dollars: Veterans, single moms, and working parents are lured in by admissions counselors at Kaplan University Online,” wrote Change.org Executive Editor Judith Meskill.
The release said that, “Students use federal loans to sign up for classes that can be 14 times more expensive than a comparable community college class.
“It’s basically a scam. Sixty-nine percent of students drop out. A third of students default on their loans, meaning taxpayers are stuck with the bill and the students have their credit destroyed — while Kaplan keeps all the money.”
The release noted that an employee training manual for Kaplan University, acquired by Iowa Democratic Sen. Tom Harken, reads: “If you can help them uncover their true pain and fear…You dramatically increase your chances of enrolling this prospective student.”
Change.org further said, “A separate presentation to employees declared that single African-American mothers raising two children were the most profitable, because they were the most likely to drop out.”
Meskill wrote in the alert that The Post has intentionally ignored unethical behavior at Kaplan. “Instead of investigating these practices, the Post has instead tried to cover it up,” she wrote.
The petition is intended “to target the entire Washington Post board.” It attracted more than 24,000 signatures as of Thursday afternoon.
A November report by The Post revealed the significance of Kaplan to the Washington Post Company. “Kaplan accounted for 62 percent of the entire company’s revenue and 75 percent of its operating income,” wrote The Post.
The Post reported Wednesday that Kaplan experienced a 47 percent decline in new enrollments in the fourth quarter of 2010.