October 27, 2021

ForProfitEDU.com Launches First Annual Lead Generation Benchmarking Survey members of higher education community are invited to participate

PRESS RELEASE/MEDIA ALERT

ForProfitEDU.com Launches First Annual Lead Generation Benchmarking Survey Online Members of the higher education community are invited to participate in benchmarking study to identify current trends and best practices in lead marketing

Wednesday, December 2, 2009 – New York, NY – ForProfitEDU.com announced today the launch of the First Annual Lead Generation Benchmarking survey for the Higher Education sector, sponsored by Sparkroom. The survey, which is open to individuals that are directly involved with marketing in higher education, will examine where schools are focusing their online marketing efforts, what tools and tactics are most effective, and what challenges exist in this area. All survey participants may register to receive a free report with the results of the survey upon completion. According to BMO Capital Markets Equity Research, sales and marketing expenses run above 25% of revenues for the majority of companies in the for-profit education space, with a growing proportion of that spend happening in online marketing. Despite this, there are very few objective resources that marketers in the education market can reference to get a better handle on the use of online marketing in the sector.

This survey will offer a clear set of benchmarks, while identifying current trends and best practices for marketing professionals. The survey takes approximately 5 minutes to complete, and can be accessed online at https://surveys.itracks.com/survey/AHELMBS 

 It will be open to respondents until December 16, 2009 and a report on the results will be made available to participants in January.

About ForProfitEDU.com

ForProfitEDU.com is a leading website resource for all those who work within, around or are interested in the For-Profit EDU industry. The site offers networking, research, consulting, news updates and commentary from members of the For-Profit EDU community. Contributors include those from the school side, as well as those that work at related services firms including the investment community (investors, analysts, venture firms & PE firms), marketing & advertising professionals, educators & curriculum development, career services & other related service providers. ForProfitEDU also provides research and consulting services to schools & other service firms within the industry. Areas of expertise include Advertising, Lead generation, Marketing Strategy & Execution, Admissions, M&A, Raising capital, Market research and Partnering to create & grow online schools.

About Sparkroom

Sparkroom delivers innovative solutions to direct marketers, including its comprehensive Lead Performance Management software and services. Sparkroom Lead Deliver and Lead IQ deliver a hosted business intelligence platform to give direct response marketers the tools and expertise needed to measure, manage and optimize their lead acquisition spending across every direct response channel. Sparkroom’s software, which it hosts and delivers to its customers on-demand, enables customers to capture, store and analyze information generated by their lead buying activities and to gain critical business insights into the performance and efficiency of marketing and sales initiatives and other business processes. Founded in early 2007, Sparkroom is privately-held, with funding from private investors and Matrix Partners. For more information, visit www.sparkroom.com .

Media Contacts pr@sparkroom.com

For-Profit Ed: NegReg Draft Rules Tough on Several Key Issues

Yesterday after the close, the Department of Education (DOE) delivered a draft of the Negotiated Rulemaking (NegReg) regulations that align with a negative scenario:

1) Tying Title IV eligibility to a “gainful employment” metrics including cost of program , loan debt, and income after graduation. (apparantly to be applied to vocational programs only)

2) Getting rid of all 12 incentive compensation safe harbors . 

ED’s proposals for gainful employment standard will determine the appropriate levels of debt allowable for each vocational program/degree offering and thus may effectively result in tuition caps 

Eliminating all 12 safe harbors could restrict a school’s ability to utilize 3rd party call centers for qualification & hot transfer and potentially diminish internet generated starts, thus stalling enrollment growth. 

Still much speculation and uncertainty…

Security Analyst Faults Barron’s Cover Story on For Profits

Security Analyst Faults Barron’s Cover Story on For Profits:

 A cover story (http://online.barrons.com/article/SB125755384448934953.html#articleTabs_panel_article%3D1%26articleTabs%3Darticle) this week in Barron’s takes aim at for-profit colleges and universities, saying student graduation rates and default rates are worse than those at traditional colleges, and that student dropout rates are as high as those at public universities.

 “For-profit schools like to blame dropouts and defaults on the population of poor and minorities the industry ‘serves,'” concludes Bill Alpert, the article’s author. “But the evidence doesn’t show whether the industry’s serving that population or preying on it.”

In a two-page critique released Monday, Ariel Sokol, a New York City-based analyst with Wedbush Securities, picks apart the article, describing it as sensationalized and saying the author’s analysis is flawed.

 In particular, Sokol says Alpert uses U.S. Department of Education data on drop-out rates and graduation rates for full-time, first-time students pursuing bachelor’s degrees. Yet for profit institutions serve primarily working adults who are rarely first-time students, observes Sokol.  Therefore the department data that Alpert relies on “represents a fraction of the total enrolled students,” at for-profit institutions says Sokol.

 He also says that because for-profit institutions typically have open admissions policies they are likely to have lower student retention rates. Additionally, he writes, pursing a degree as an adult is harder than as an 18-24-year old, leading to higher drop-out rates.

 

—-Andrea L. Foster

EDU stocks continue to get hit

Clearly the EDU stocks are continuing to get hit.  Apol is leading the downward trend, but the others are following.  Many of the analysts I speak with are still concerned about pending legislative changes…  Thought they all agree that for the most part on the state level the for-profits are welcomed, but at the federal/national level they don’t feel the love.  I have to say it is interesting to hear the “end is near” fears from a number of them, while the vast majority believe it is all much to do about nothing!

Apollo Group gets hammered due to SEC inquiry!

Apollo group is getting hammered today due to its announcement of the SEC inquiry yesterday.  I would have to agree with JPM & Piper Jaffray’s view on this and believe the market is once again over reacting to EDU news…  Their EPS & Enrollment are above expectations & their retention has continued to improve.  In addition they seem to be closer to finally resolving the Qui Tam case.  Unfortunately (except to those who are buying) it looks like the panic is setting in again.  If it proves to be anything I would doubt it to be is a significant.

Unlimited programs for $99.00 a month…

Academe may look askance at Straighterline.com, (www.straighterline.com) the commercial service that offers basic college courses online for $99 a month. But the enterprise has lately been getting a lot of press attention, with some education experts seeing it as an harbinger of higher education’s future.

 The service, which started last year, allows students to take as many self-guided courses as they want for —as Straighterline’s Web site says — “less than the cost of your monthly cell phone bill.” 

 The $99 fee gives students access to course content from McGraw-Hill, 10 hours of one-to-one instructional support, and a course advisor. The business grew out of SmartThinking, a popular online tutoring service.

 What’s in it for students? A fast track, relatively inexpensive way to a college degree. Straighterline has partnered with at least four accredited higher education institutions that have agreed to accept credits from Straighterline students.

 The company Web site lists four partners: Charter Oak State College, Fort Hays State University, Lake City Community College, and Potomac College. Potomac is the sole proprietary institution.

 An article (http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/college_guide/feature/college_for_99_a_month.php?page=all) in the most recent issue of Washington Monthly traces the development and struggles of Straighterline and warns big and non-elite colleges that the Washington DC-based business could herald their unraveling.

 “The day is coming—sooner than many people think—when a great deal of money is going to abruptly melt out of the higher education system, just as it has in scores of other industries that traffic in information that is now far cheaper and more easily accessible than it has ever been before, ” writes Kevin Carey, the author of the article. “Much of that money will end up in the pockets of students in the form of lower prices, a boon and a necessity in a time when higher education is the key to prosperity.” 

In another article (http://features.csmonitor.com/innovation/2009/10/15/the-future-of-college-may-be-virtual/), this one in the Oct. 15 edition of the Christian Science Monitor, Carey is quoted discussing Straighterline in the context of the growth in online education.

And in an opinion piece (http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2009/10/06/hess) in Inside Higher Education, Frederick Hess, of the American Enterprise Institute, cites Straighterline as one example of why President Obama’s initiative to get the government involved in developing free, online courses is unnecessary.

 —- Andrea L. Foster

ForProfitEDU.com

Education committee hearing of the U.S. House of Representatives

 If U.S. education officials follow through on their assurances to lawmakers Wednesday, higher-education institutions that participate in federal student aid programs could face a lot more scrutiny in how they enroll students.

 At an education committee hearing of the U.S. House of Representatives, an Education Department official and a government investigator vowed to go after institutions that enroll unprepared students through fraud and abuse. The hearing was held in response to a report, released last month from the General Accounting Office, showing that a few propriety institutions gave students answers to tests so that they would be eligible for Title IV student aid. In other cases, the report said, institutions encouraged students to obtain high school diplomas through diploma mills so the students could secure federal loans.

 Robert Shireman, deputy undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Education, said his office agrees with the report findings. The department is bolstering its communication with other government agencies to help identify illegal activity and revamping how it reviews institutions that participate in federal student aid programs, he said.

 He offered as an example the following: the department now adds and extracts information about consumer complaints from the Federal Trade Commission; the department has created a database that allows student complaints to be referred to law enforcement officials, and the department is using more targeted auditing and investigative techniques to identify suspect institutions.

 “The goal is strengthening the integrity of financial aid programs,” Mr. Shireman said.

 Mary Mitchelson, acting inspector general of the U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General, said her office will continue to investigate fraud regarding the tests that determine eligibility for Title IV student aid (referred to as an Ability-to-Benefit or ATB test), and on-line high school diploma mills.

 The hearing took a dramatic turn when George Scott, director of education, workforce and income security issues for the Department of Education, played an audio recording of a test administrator giving students answers to the ATB test. “Mark it ‘C’ on the paper,” the administrator is heard telling students.

 Lawmakers at the hearing expressed concern over the GAO report findings.

 Rep. George Miller, a California Democrat, said the tactics that some institutions use to lure students to federal aid programs reminded him of the deceit that occurred during the recent housing market scandal.

 “It looks a lot like subprime student loans,” he said.

 Other lawmakers urged education officials not to label all proprietary institutions or the students who attend them as disreputable.

 Rep. Brett Guthrie, a Kentucky Republican, praised a proprietary school in his district, Sullivan University.

 “Proprietary schools like Sullivan University have a history of offering quality educations to students in a variety of fields,” he said. “These institutions also have a history of educating underserved populations, including those in rural and urban areas where students have very limited options for job training.”

 Harris Miller, president and CEO of the Career College Association, reiterated that sentiment.

 “Just because we have non-traditional students,” he said “doesn’t mean they’re not successful students.”

 —- Andrea L. Foster

ForProfitEDU.com

Sparkroom Hires Dave Datars to Lead Sales Organization

Former Omniture executive brings extensive online marketing experience to Lead Performance Management firm

October 15, 2009 – Toronto, ON – Sparkroom, an innovative provider of Lead Performance Management™ software solutions for direct marketers, today announced the appointment of Dave Datars as the Vice President of Sales. With his extensive experience selling SaaS-based solutions to senior executives and marketers, Dave will lead the continued growth of Sparkroom’s sales activities in the higher education sector, while helping the company to expand and penetrate additional verticals.

“We are thrilled to have a sales leader of Dave’s caliber joining our team to help us continue growing our revenue and meet our rising sales targets,” said Jamie McDonald, Sparkroom’s Chief Executive Officer. “He is a great addition to our executive team, bringing extensive experience in revenue generation and business development, paired with a deep understanding of the online marketing space.”

Dave brings over 10 years of sales and management experience with world-class technology companies to the Sparkroom team. Previously, Dave was the Director of Business Development at Omniture Inc., a leading provider of on-demand software for online marketers. Prior to Omniture, Dave held sales management roles at DoubleClick (now Google) and Delano Technology. Dave also previously founded three businesses in the retail and commercial services sectors. He holds a bachelors degree from Wilfrid Laurier University.

About Sparkroom
Sparkroom delivers innovative solutions to direct marketers, including its comprehensive Lead Performance Management software and services. Sparkroom Lead Deliver and Lead IQ deliver a hosted business intelligence platform to give direct response marketers the tools and expertise needed to measure, manage and optimize their lead acquisition spending across every direct response channel. Sparkroom’s software, which it hosts and delivers to its customers on-demand, enables customers to capture, store and analyze information generated by their lead buying activities and to gain critical business insights into the performance and efficiency of marketing and sales initiatives and other business processes. Founded in early 2007, Sparkroom is privately-held, with funding from private investors and Matrix Partners. For more information, visit www.sparkroom.com.

Press release submitted via forprofitedu.com press release submitter: http://www.forprofitedu.com/press-release-submit/

EDMC has strong IPO

EDMC as expected has a strong coming out party with its IPO up almost 25%.  Will be fun watching them grow.  Strong Management team and solid brands…need to start ramping their online business, I am sure they are working on it. Kartenspiel Regeln: Watten

Is the growth in EDU demand starting to slow?

Some very interesting data coming in which may lead to the conclusion that the growth rates may be slowing.  While the industry is still growing and at rates which would make most extremely happy, the percentage growth may be showing some signs that it’s leveling out a bit.