ProPublica investigation on Baker College in Michigan

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by tadj, Jan 13, 2022 at 12:37 AM.

  1. tadj

    tadj Active Member

  2. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    Interesting development.

    I interviewed last year for the Program Director of Criminal Justice Online Programs position.
    tadj likes this.
  3. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    From a nonprofit Board perspective these two pieces stuck out to me:

    You can't lead an organization and then hop on the Board (much less as Chairman!) without causing issues. As a President, to have a former President directly evaluating your performance, means if you have any difference on strategy they'll be undermining you and you won't be able to truly be independent. I had a similar experience when I was Executive Director (ED) of a small economic development organization and one of our staff was on the Board. As Executive Director I was supposed to evaluate her staff performance, but I couldn't do that effectively when she sat on the Board that was evaluating my role as ED.

    Also, paying Board members is virtually unheard of at nonprofits, outside of travel expenses.
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  4. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    Oh, now that I've gotten further in the article

    Here's the data:

    I correctly suspected that Morris Brown was the college that recently regained accreditation (TRACS).

    Nonprofit list includes:
    • Mountain State University
    • Dowling College
    • Baker College
    • Morris Brown College
    • College of New Rochelle
    They split the list by for-profit, non-profit, and covert for-profit, for which I'm not sure if there is reliable criteria.
  5. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    This was a response sent to everyone on the Baker College list from its President, Bart Daig:

    I want to make you aware of a news article about our College that appears in the Detroit Free Press. Overall, the story is grounded in misinformation. I understand that it may be difficult to read and some parts of it, while not presenting an accurate picture, are disheartening as we all take pride in Baker College. Over the last several months, we answered the questions posed to us and worked to provide as many facts as possible; unfortunately, the story lacks those facts and is intentionally unbalanced.

    I believe that it is important for you to understand the facts related to specific aspects of the story, which I’ve highlighted for you:

    Governance Structure and Board of Directors: The governance structure has been in place for several decades and is regularly reviewed by the Department of Education, State of Michigan, Higher Learning Commission, and specialized accreditation entities. Additionally, the article states that past presidents were highly compensated for being on the board, which is inaccurate; past presidents elected to have a portion of their salary deferred and be paid after retiring from the role of system president.

    Career Services and Employment Rate: The college continues to provide lifetime employment assistance and counseling. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), an agency that is used to benchmark employment rates, data indicates that our graduate employment rate is 6.1% higher than the average in the Great Lakes Region. In other words, our graduates are employed at a higher rate than peer institutions and have a mean salary of $52,000 annually, which is aligned with the region.

    Affordability, Scholarships, and Marketing: Just like any college, there is a cost to market degree offerings, and although the article made it sound significant when compared to scholarships, the true correlation should take into account the cost of tuition, not how much an institution spends on marketing. Our tuition is low when compared to the state and national average, hence scholarships are proportional to tuition. As an example, according to Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) for the last reporting year, 2019-2020, the following are the annual tuition rates: Baker College $11,070; State of Michigan Average is $23,481; and the National Average is $22,284. It is important to note that approximately 60% of students receive some form of scholarship or aid.

    Financial Aid and Student Debt: Although we cannot comment on the three students quoted in the article, we can affirm that in some cases the loan amounts quoted were either inaccurate or exceeded the Department of Education’s (DoE) financial aid borrowing limit. We follow strict guidelines and are audited to ensure that we adhere to federal, state, and local guidelines. We also do not encourage borrowing in the manner that was outlined in the article. Additionally, all students are federally required to complete entrance loan counseling where they learn about student loans and debt management. We continue to be in good standing with the federal and state government and our accreditations.

    We all take pride in our students, alumni, and the work that we perform to help change the lives of the individuals that pass through our doors. I want to thank you for your dedication and diligence in your pursuit of achievement and excellence.

    I appreciate your taking the time to read and understand our realities. We want to give you every reason to be BakerProud, and to share your pride with the world.
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  6. tadj

    tadj Active Member

    Thanks for sharing their perspective on things.

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