Penn Foster, Caldwell College, implicated in bait-and-switch

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by TCord1964, Feb 7, 2014.

  1. TCord1964

    TCord1964 New Member

  2. sideman

    sideman Active Member

    According to the report it looks like Penn Foster only made their normal fees for their courses, it's Ed4Mil and Caldwell College that are the real profiteers. Also, without seeing any further evidence, it seems like PF might've had some kind of arms length agreement with these entities, but where's the proof? Right now the only thing PF can be accused of is maybe just poor judgment in dealing with these two.
  3. TCord1964

    TCord1964 New Member

    Actually, the article mentions that students (and taxpayers) were being gouged on the courses:

    "Ed4Mil's military recruits, taking courses like jewelry making and dog training, had no idea they were paying as much as six times more than civilians for the very same class.

    Gunsmithing at Penn Foster was normally $708. But the same Penn Foster course through Ed4Mil was $4,331."

    I agree that Penn Foster didn't unduly profit from the venture, other than gaining additional students. I wonder what Caldwell's understanding of this arrangement was. Ed4Mil, on the other hand, seemed to make the most money under this deal.

    Ed4Mil was basically a middleman, luring students through Caldwell, charging Caldwell prices, paying Penn Foster their regular fee for the course, and pocketing the difference.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 7, 2014
  4. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    I suspect that there may be confusion here between different "Penn Foster" schools. There are actually three of them:

    - Penn Foster High School
    - Penn Foster Career School
    - Penn Foster College

    Each of the Penn Foster schools has legit accreditation -- but obviously the accreditations are different. Penn Foster College is the only one that is accredited as a college/university (by DETC).

    The news story indicates that the students in question were studying things like medical billing, gunsmithing, jewelry making, and dog training. But those programs aren't offered at Penn Foster College -- they are offered at Penn Foster Career School.

    And Penn Foster Career School doesn't have college/university accreditation -- so from that perspective, it could be considered "unaccredited". It's true that PFCS is accredited as a "career school", but from the college/university perspective, that doesn't count.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 7, 2014
  5. msganti

    msganti Active Member

    Doesn't know much about the original issue, but taken straight off Penn Foster's Accreditation page:
    Penn Foster Career School, College, and High School have all met the high standards of integrity and performance set by the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC)
    Is Penn Foster Accredited and Transferrable Credits | Penn Foster
  6. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    As I said in Post #4, all three schools have legit accreditation. But they are different kinds of schools, and so they have different kinds of accreditation.

    DETC accreditation for a high school is not the same thing as DETC accreditation for a college/university. DETC accreditation for a career school is not the same thing as DETC accreditation for a college/university either. The three schools are listed separately at the DETC website:

    - Penn Foster High School has DETC accreditation in the "High School" category
    - Penn Foster Career School has DETC accreditation in the "Postsecondary" category
    - Penn Foster College has DETC accreditation in the "College" category

    Your local elementary school probably has regional accreditation. Your state's flagship public university probably has regional accreditation too. But "Primary School RA" is not the same thing as "University RA", even if they both come from the same accreditation agency.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 7, 2014
  7. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    Sorry, DETC actually calls it the "Degree Granting" category.

    The point is that Penn Foster College has DETC accreditation as a degree-granting institution.
    Penn Foster Career School also has DETC accreditation -- but not as a degree-granting institution.
  8. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    Calling it an unaccredited college is still inaccurate because it doesn't claim to be a college.
  9. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    That's true. I'm not defending the accuracy of the news story, because it is clearly confused about Penn Foster. I'm only suggesting how the confusion might have occurred.
  10. Phdtobe

    Phdtobe Well-Known Member

    "While Penn Foster isn't accredited to accept military tuition assistance money." It looks like for this program, PC is unaccredited. DETC is not universally accepted. The bigger problem is the scam.
  11. TCord1964

    TCord1964 New Member

    CalDog is correct that each branch of Penn Foster has different accreditation. I myself was a Penn Foster College student, and PFC has national accreditation under the DETC. Penn Foster High school is regionally accredited by the Commission on Secondary Schools of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. Penn Foster Career School is regionally accredited by the same organization, but that is not the same type of regional accreditation given to degree-granting colleges and universities, just as regular vocational-technical schools don't have that type of accreditation.

    I'm not sure why Caldwell College is getting involved in career and technical education through a career school, other than $$$.
  12. jam937

    jam937 New Member

    If you read the story and listen to the video I get the feeling the reporter is using "unaccredited" when they really mean "not eligible" to receive military tuition. All this talk about accreditation of Penn Foster is missing the big picture
  13. jam937

    jam937 New Member

    Did Penn Foster not know these students were military?
    A company called Ed4Mil [Education for the Military] is paying the tuition for all these students.

    Is it illegal for Penn Foster to take military tuition when they are not eligible to receive such money?

    I understand the "stink" from the news story is that the military was paying more then civilians for the same course. But even if the cost was the same, is it legal for Penn Foster to secretly get military tuition when they're not eligible?
  14. TCord1964

    TCord1964 New Member

    According to, Penn Foster College is a Servicemembers Oportunity College, and military tuition benefits can be used for their programs. Penn Foster Career School is not eligible to receive those benefits, so Ed4Mil was apparently using Caldwell as a front to illegally funnel military tuition assistance to a school not eligible to receive those funds.
  15. jam937

    jam937 New Member

    We're splitting hairs. I'm not sure of the corporate structure. Penn Foster owns at least three entities: College, Career School and High School. The entities have different accreditations and eligibility programs. But ... they are all owned and operated by Penn Foster.
  16. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member

    :eek:fftopic: It's been quite a while, TCord. Good to have you back :wavey:
  17. TCord1964

    TCord1964 New Member

    Thanks! I'm actually still plugging away at my degree program at Excelsior. I took a break of more than a year away from my studies due to family financial and medical issues, but I'm getting back to it again this year. My son is working on his high school diploma from Ashworth.
  18. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member

    Awesome about your son! I have a teenaged friend who just finished sophomore-senior year with Penn Foster and I couldn't be more proud, or jealous, of him for having a HS diploma at 16 and already in the process of enrolling with a local CC. I wish the best for your son :wavey:

    As for you- wow! One of the things I LOVE about the Big Three is that unlike many colleges out there, REAL LIFE doesn't preclude you from being able to finish. I'm not ure if you've seen the threads, but I finally put several years of ribbing to rest and finished my BA. I can't wait to join in celebrating yours as well!
  19. TCord1964

    TCord1964 New Member


    I don't think I'll finish this year, but I hope to get the bulk of my remaining 32 credits completed. My next DSST exam is The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union.
  20. GeneralSnus

    GeneralSnus Member

    It is interesting to see that the U.S. is actually a party to the lawsuit, and all three parties are named defendants. Even more interesting is the fact the suit was filed under seal in 2010, but only in December 2013 was it ordered unsealed and served upon the defendants. I suspect a criminal investigation occurred during that time period. The case number is 1:2010cv02097 in the M.D. for Pennsylvania if anyone cares to download (and hopefully share with us) the complaint from PACER.

Share This Page