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By Layla Zaidane
August 22, 2013

Ashford University: High Default Rates and Sky-High CEO Compensation

Cost: $20.5 million

Ashford University is a for-profit college operated by Wall Street-owned Bridgepoint Education, Inc. Ashford has one of the highest default rates and poorest levels of student success. In 2009, its cohort default rate was 19.8 percent. That same year, Bridgepoint’s CEO received $20.5 million compensation package, including $19.4 million in stock options, according to the school’s Form DEF 14A.

Auburn University: Second Highest Paid University President

Cost: $2.5 million

Auburn University’s president is the second-highest paid public university president in the country—yet the institution has a 36 percent graduation rate. Students pay, on average, $100 each for the president’s $2.5 million salary.

New York University: Loans to President, Administrators, Star Faculty … For Vacation Homes

Cost: $72 million.

New York University has faced criticism for its practice of offering subsidized home loans to star faculty with super low interest rates. The New York Times reported these loans, “in some cases, [carried] rates nearing zero percent or [were] partially forgiven.” Loans were approved for the purchase of second homes or vacations homes, including a loan for University President John Sexton in Fire Island, N.Y. In an April 2013 email to the New York University community, Chief Financial Officer Martin Dorph disclosed there were a total of 168 loans valued at “approximately $72 million.”

University of Kansas: 5 Coaches of Men’s Teams Make An Average of $1.5 million

Cost: $7.6 million

In 2011, the University of Kansas boasted the highest average annual salary for its men’s athletics coaches. The top five coaches were paid on average $1.5 million for a total of $7.6 million. This amount equals approximately $280 per student.

University of Missouri – Columbia: A Better Gym Than Nike’s

Cost: $38.9 million (paid for by mandatory student fees)

The University of Missouri’s flagship Columbia campus boasts a state-of-the-art fitness facility described in a Chronicle of Higher Education review of campus architecture projects. According to the report, “the project added an aquatics center with a 50-meter pool and seating for 1,000, as well as a heated outdoor pool, and an indoor leisure pool with a beach, river currents, a grotto, and a waterfall; a climbing wall; an 18,000-square-foot fitness center; and a jungle-themed lobby. The facility includes conversation areas, offices for staff members, a conference suite, and a juice bar.” The university’s Division of Student Affairs website exhorts students to use the “on-campus beach club” to “soak up some sun as you push toward the end of the semester.” A list of the most innovative gyms in the United States listed University of Missouri’s facility ahead of even Nike’s World Headquarters.

University of Phoenix: Degrees That Devote $10,000 To Investor Profit

Cost: $423 million

According to data reported to the Department of Education, just 1 percent of students seeking a bachelor’s degree at the University of Phoenix receive their degree in 4 years. Yet, Apollo Group, Inc. (the company that operates University of Phoenix as its central business) earned $423 million in profits during fiscal year 2012, according to its Form 10-K. That means the University of Phoenix earns nearly $10,000 in profit for each degree or certificate they award.

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