The Chronicle of Higher Education. March 19, 2014.
The California state agency charged with regulating more than 1,000 private postsecondary institutions, such as for-profit colleges and vocational schools, has “consistently failed to meet its responsibility to protect the public’s interests,” says a new report from California’s state auditor, the Los Angeles Times reported.
California’s Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education is part of the state’s Division of Consumer Affairs, and has been responsible for regulating private postsecondary institutions there since 2010. The auditor’s report describes a backlog of more than 1,100 license applications as of June 2013 and says the agency failed to proactively identify and penalize unlicensed institutions.
A spokesman for the consumer-affairs division disputed the audit’s findings but said the division agreed with the report’s recommendations about how the bureau could be improved. He told the Times that part of the problem was that the bureau assumed its duties in 2010 but did not receive financing until October of that year.
Last year California’s Legislative Analyst’s Office also reviewed the bureau and suggested that the agency shift its focus to institutions with the highest risk of problems, according to The Sacramento Bee.