U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin recently released a flawed and misleading report on America’s private sector colleges and universities. It appears he and some of his staff don’t fully understand the sector’s innovative approach to education and instead view it narrowly through a traditionalist, ideological lens.
To cite just two examples, withdrawal rates were wrongly computed to include currently enrolled students at Keiser University (KU). If the methodology used by the staff was accurate, the withdrawal rate would have been 32 percent, which is comparable to, and in some cases less than, state universities and community colleges.
Next, the report cited tuition disparities at publicly-subsidized and non-subsidized private colleges and universities. It failed to take into account the large subsidies of direct educational costs and capital investments in the public sector. According to a 2007 Washington Economic Group study, a reasonable estimate of the average cost per student, including the capital costs in public schools is $7,950 per full-time equivalent (FTE). The comparable costs at KU are approximately $7,800 per FTE making it less expensive than public education, not more.
KU is Florida’s second-largest independent university, and we are proud of our contributions to the state.
We are regionally accredited by the same agency that accredits the state universities in Florida, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. It’s the fifth-largest producer of associate degrees in nursing graduates in the state, and 11th nationally. KU is the state’s top producer of associate graduates in health professions, computer and information sciences, criminal justice and homeland security.
We celebrate the diversity and talents of our study body and are pleased to be ranked fifth in Florida and 14th in the nation in awarding associate degrees to African Americans and fourth in Florida and eighth nationally in associate degrees awarded to Hispanics. Annually, 62 percent of KU graduates have degrees in science, technology, engineering and math and healthcare.
With small classes and a career-focused curriculum, Keiser University will continue to successfully serve students and employers, just as we have for the past 35 years.
Arthur Keiser, chancellor,
Keiser University, Fort Lauderdale