New emails released from Hillary Clinton’s email server reveal that while she was secretary of state, Clinton did a favor for a for-profit education company that later paid her husband more than $16 million.
In 2009, just a few months after Hillary took over at the Department of State, she was involved in planning a private dinner on education policy that featured herself, several State Department staff, and about a dozen individuals involved with higher education.
In one email, sent Aug. 2, 2009 and first noted by Inside Higher Ed, Clinton discusses the upcoming dinner and what guests should be invited. She urges the department to invite a representative of the for-profit chain Laureate International Universities to the dinner.
“And [redacted] works for the fastest-growing college network in the world, Laureate Universities, started by Doug Becker who Bill likes a lot,” Clinton says. “It’s a for-profit model that should be represented.”
A second email shows that Clinton’s wish was carried out, as Laureate Senior Vice President Joseph Duffey was one of 20 guests at the Aug. 17 dinner. Laureate wasn’t the only school to be invited due to Clinton. Methodist-run Africa University had a representative at the dinner after Clinton proposed it (Clinton is a United Methodist).
The emails were released by the State Department as part of its ongoing disclosure of tens of thousands of emails handed over from Clinton’s private email server.
Just a few months later, in spring 2010, Bill Clinton was named as Laureate’s honorary chancellor, a post he held until stepping down in April 2015. His pay at the time wasn’t disclosed, but in July, Hillary’s publication of her tax returns revealed that Bill was paid over $16.5 million by Laureate from 2010 through 2015. (RELATED: Bill Clinton Was Paid More Than $16.5 MILLION By A For-Profit College Company)
The email exchange itself is minor, but it is another example of the State Department showing a favorable disposition towards Laureate. The company’s non-profit wing also received a $1.9 million grant from the department, and in 2010 Laureate became a part of the State Department’s Global Partnership.
While on the campaign trail, Clinton has been sharply critical of for-profit education, pledging in her college plan to “crack down on law-breaking for-profits” and promising to “bring integrity” to the field of online education, which for-profits are strongly associated with. She’s never criticized Laureate, though, while Bill has offered substantial praise for the company. (RELATED: Does Hillary Think Online Education Is The Same As For-Profit?)
Laureate has emerged as one of the largest for-profit education companies in the world, though its presence in the U.S. is quite small. Its largest presence is in Latin America, where it has courted controversy for allegedly buying existing schools and jacking up enrollment while reducing academic quality. One of the company’s schools in Chile had its accreditation revoked in 2014.
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