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Reviewed by Suzanne Cowles for Readers' Favorite
Online Education Fraud: The Diary of a Short Seller by Robert MacArthur is a provocative expose into student loan Title IV fraud, predatory recruiting tactics and manipulated accounting practices of publicly traded for-profit colleges. MacArthur chronicles over 15 years of forensic research, industry advocacy, stock market drama, Washington corruption, corporate scams, sleazy management and volatile information flows that he used as a short seller. By combining records from lawsuits, FOIA requests, interviews of past employees and students, a web of intrigue, fraud and victimization of taxpayers and students emerges. Many of the big offenders such as the University of Phoenix, Kaplan, Westwood, CLC and Grand Canyon are examined from the inside out. Lax regulations, weak government oversight by the Department of Education, greed of an industry, PELL Grant awards, the GI Bill, the solely loophole, Gifts of Knowledge, short squeezes, Sallie Mae, and the 90/10 ratio are explained in full detail.
A crusade for justice is an understatement when one investigates the trickery and salient lies of corporate entities that profit from government welfare and pray on the uneducated low-income sector who really do need a valuable education. Promising someone free money while full well knowing that student loan debt is not extinguishable by bankruptcy procedures is fraud. Cooking the books, inflating grades, and making up graduation or employment rates is all revealed throughout thirteen chapters in Online Education Fraud: The Diary of a Short Seller by Robert MacArthur. This book might make you mad, it might make you think twice about investing in a non-traditional school, but at the very least it will inspire further reflection on the next big bubble.