Georgia private college regulator rolls out new website

The Georgia Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission, a little-known corner of state government tasked with regulating the state’s for-profit colleges, has a long way to go to prove itself an effective regulator.

The AJC this summer looked into the tiny, poorly funded agency and found shoddy record keeping and little evidence of oversight of an industry many consider to be badly in need of scrutiny. Two prior state audits found similar shortcomings. (Read the results of the AJC’s investigation here.)

Sometime in the past week, the commission rolled out a long-anticipated website, which insiders at the commission said would solve some of their woes. If you are nostalgic for the 1990s, you can see what the old website looked like here in a snapshot taken in April of this year.

The new website does look nicer, but looks aren’t everything.

Links still point to 20-year-old forms that must be printed and filled out by hand. (Much of the paperwork in commission files is handwritten.) The directory of schools is searchable but contains virtually no new information and students cannot look at filings submitted by schools on their accreditation, faculty or finances.

Fortis

Fortis College on Cobb Parkway in Smyrna is one of about 300 campuses regulated by the Georgia Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission.

The big upgrade is that students can now file a complaint against a school using an online form.

The commission will hold its first meeting since the AJC investigation Oct. 6. We would link to the agenda, but there isn’t one.

The state has done little so far to address the problems plaguing the commission. After the AJC’s story ran, Gov. Nathan Deal appointed new members to long-vacant seats on the commission and later met with lawmakers to discuss ways to shore up regulation.

House Higher Education Committee Chairman Carl Rogers, R-Gainesville, said he would call a meeting soon to discuss what to do about the commission. He has yet to do so.


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