Inside the red brick campus of Ashford University, perched on a bluff above the Mississippi River, the door marked “President’s Office” remains perpetually shut. Telephone calls to the university’s head are swiftly transferred to a corporate office some 2,000 miles away, in San Diego.A new, 500-seat football stadium adorns the campus, and is featured prominently in Ashford’s promotional literature, though the university has no football team. Signs around campus proudly read “Founded 1918” and “90 Years Strong,” despite the fact that Ashford — one of the nation’s fastest-growing for-profit colleges — has existed for less than a decade.
The perplexing campus landscape here in Iowa amounts to an elaborate stage set for a lucrative, online education empire that uses these trappings to sell itself to students as a traditional college experience. That strategy was the brainchild of the corporation behind Ashford: Bridgepoint Education Inc., a publicly traded venture started by a group of former executives from the University of Phoenix, a name now synonymous with for-profit higher education and the controversial marketing practices that have brought the industry crosswise with federal regulators.
Search this blog
More from M. G. Saldivar
Filter posts by category
Subscribe to the Education Blog RSS Feed