Tuesday, February 19, 2019

America's Most Endangered Private Colleges in 2019


Related article: Endangered Colleges include HBCUs, Small Religious Colleges (2016)
Related article: Another American College to Close (Bryan Alexander, 2019)
Related article: Private College Revenues and the US College Meltdown (2018)
Related article: College Meltdown Shows Few Signs of Slowing (2019)


In 2016, Jeff Selingo and EY published a report stating that more than 800 US colleges were facing major downsizing, mergers, and closures. But their report did not list the schools most likely to fail. It would appear that higher education and business insiders, including government agencies and credit rating agencies, know which schools are likely to merge or fail, but they are unwilling to share it with the public.

The Department of Education publishes a list of schools in financial trouble, called the Heightened Cash Monitoring List, but the list is small and is not the best predictor of future school failures. The PEPS School Closings list is helpful, but it's most often a post-mortem of colleges that have already failed.

Would it be possible to create a list by examining just a few variables? I would suggest these variables, in combination, when looking at the survivability of individual US private colleges:

Enrollment <1000 students, and at least
Five consecutive years of student enrollment losses, and at least
Five consecutive years of revenue declines, and
Revenue declines of more than 15% over the last 5 years, and
Endowments less than $5 million

What variables do you think should be included? And what are the intangibles that must be considered? For example, HBCUs have been able to survive for decades despite lack of government support. Loss of accreditation, on the other hand, can be a death sentence for almost any college.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Deceived by DeVry

Subprime DeVry University Continues to Deceive Consumers
In 2019, DeVry University continues to deceive consumers through its DeVry website and online recruiting. As a subsidiary of Cogswell Education and Palm Ventures, a shoe-string operation in comparison to its previous parent company, matters could get worse. This briefing illustrates some of Devry’s current deceptive practices.

Lack of Transparency Used For Location Bait and Switch 
As a selling tool, DeVry University claims to have more than 45 convenient locations. However, it has closed about 50 campuses and learning sites between 2011 and 2019. Closures have occurred in cities throughout the U.S., including Pittsburgh, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Memphis, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Portland (OR), Seattle, St. Louis, and Tampa. DeVry’s campus closing determinations have been far from transparent, even to employees
In January 2018, several DeVry schools we believed were planned for closure remained on the “Find a Location Nearest You” map. These locations included Anaheim, Bakersfield, Cherry Hill, Colorado Springs, Dayton, Oakland, Oklahoma City, and Palmdale. By July 2018, all of of these learning locations were reported to the US Department of Education as closed schools. While these locations have been removed from DeVry’s map, prospective students had been led to believe that the locations existed.
Typically, the school closing process, known as “teach out,” takes 12-18 months. But in the case of DeVry’s closings, teach outs have occurred with less warning, leaving students and teachers little time to react to their campus closings. This lack of transparency has also allowed DeVry to sell its convenient locations even as it plans to close campuses that may be closest to prospective students. With a recent history of campus closings and the sale of DeVry to Cogswell Education, we anticipate several additional closings of “convenient” but unprofitable learning locations that may already be slated for closure.

Financial Aid Bait and Switch
DeVry has advertised a variety of loan options, including Federal Direct Loans, Federal PLUS Loans, Perkins Loans, and private student loans.
Although DeVry provides a list of potential lenders for private student loans, interest rate information does not appear to be readily available from the site.
When consumers use the Department of Education's College Navigator to get the net price for DeVry, they are redirected to a DeVry lead generator.
Pricing inconsistencies exist. One anonymous DeVry insider said this about the pricing:
There are three completely different total program costs potentially given to prospective students and differing lengths of the programs."
"DeVry’s admissions advisor’s cost calculator used to sell DVU on the phone, shows one amount. The website’s tuition chart lists something totally different, and finally the academic catalogue lists a third completely different figure with students."
"Also most admissions advisors are telling prospective students it is possible to complete a bachelor’s degree in 2 years 8 months! Then Student Finance tells students the truth that its 4 years at best due to lack of course availability and practicality (not taking 20 credit semesters). The catalogue info backs up Student Finance."
"I can’t understand how DOE or someone hasn’t caught that yet. You could call an advisor today go through their admissions planning and get cost 1, then look in the website tuition chart for 2, then look in the catalogue for a 3rd totally different cost and time est. your advisor just told you."
Former DeVry students owe more than $12 billion in student loan debt. The 5-year student loan default rate at DeVry is 43 percent. 

TechPath and Other Claims about Cutting Edge Technology
DeVry leads its potential customers to believe they will be learning innovative skills using cutting edge technology. DeVry advertises its TechPath program, a “distinctive learning approach that grew out of the understanding that students need a different kind of education to prepare them for a world that’s tech-intent, constantly changing and connected as never been through the digital mesh.”
DeVry insiders, however, have reported that campuses have not kept up with technology. And online teaching may be counterproductive for many students.
Brookings Institution Research indicates that the average DeVry University student takes two-thirds of his or her courses online with negative effects on course GPAs and persistence.

Decline in Educational Quality
Teaching staff have reported that educational quality has declined significantly as online class sizes increased. One former instructor stated:

“And, with the cap removed, faculty were teaching 40 or more students in online classes in a cultural contest that promoted the student to customer, obviating any faculty authority to establish rules and at times, even basic human decency. The ax, ever ready to fall on our necks, had us all rather desperately seeking other employment, while doing all we could to "persist" (pass) students with the highest possible grades, futilely hoping to preserve our ECE (student evaluation) scores. Students who lacked skill, who couldn't even submit work, their backs to the wall, often lashed out verbally and in the evaluation process. A student caught plagiarizing could get pay back at evaluation time, and they did….”

A former instructional designer who worked at DeVry more than five years added that "You will not have a voice...DeVry "used to be innovative and desired to push the edges of online education courses with creative solutions to interactivity...but leadership changed and bean counters began shaving copper at the downfall of the student learning experience...such a sad demise from the glory days."

DeVry Claims to be Military Friendly 

DeVry enrollment representatives claim that DeVry is military friendly, and the website states “[f]rom training Army Air Corps instructors on electronic devices in the 1940’s to being one of the first schools approved to accept the original G.I. Bill following WWII, we’ve been education and supporting America’s military personnel and the veteran community for decades.”

However, VA’s GI Bill Comparison Tool reveals more than 200 student complaints, as well as a caution warning related to the recent Federal Trade Commission settlement and how the school is operating under Heightened Cash Monitoring.

While DeVry campuses claim to offer various veterans programs, including VetSuccess on Campus, 8 Keys to Veteran Success, and a Student Veteran Group, one DeVry employee stated that "Students are tossed around by an organization that doesn't care nor have a clue of what it's doing. Disabled Veterans ADA Accommodations are not properly managed or enforced."

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

College Meltdown Shows Few Signs of Slowing in 2019

The US College Meltdown has been occurring for at least eight years, and there are few signs that it will slow down in 2019. 

Image below: Members of student debt group "I Am Ai" protesting fraud by the Art Institutes. (Credit: Ami Schneider)





Related articles:

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Ashford University Deceiving Consumers, Violating Department of Defense Regulations

dahneshaulis@gmail.com

Since its inception in 2005, Ashford University has been an overly priced, low value educational institution with questionable ethics and poor student outcomes.  As a result, servicemembers and veterans have filed a disproportionate number of complaints about the school through the Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, and the non-profit Veterans Education Success.[i][ii][iii]
Ashford and its parent company Bridgepoint Education (BPI) have also been the subjects of investigations,[iv] lawsuits, and legal and out-of-court settlements for a continuing series of unethical and illegal business practices: taking advantage of wounded service members[v], falsifying student retention data,[vi] robocalling prospective students,[vii] and deceiving students about private loans.[viii]  All of these practices violated elements of the Department of Defense’s Memoranda of Understanding (“DOD MOU”) signed by one or more Bridgepoint executives in 2011 and 2014.[ix]  

Recently, Ashford University and Bridgepoint have also been under scrutiny by VA for making false statements about the location of the school’s main business location.  While this may not be a violation of the DOD MOU, it does exemplify the company’s repeated unscrupulous behavior[x]

VA’s GI Bill Comparison Tool states that Ashford University has a 16 percent graduation rate and 23 percent student loan repayment rate.  The page carries a warning because of its problems with GI Bill certification in California, and its current lawsuit as a defendant against the State of California. [xi]
According to authors from the US Treasury and Stanford University, Ashford University also carries a 47 percent 5-year cohort default rate (CDR). [xii]

Despite its horrendous record, Ashford University has received hundreds of millions of dollars in DOD TA money and Department of Veterans Affairs GI Bill funds.  According to the Center for Investigative Reporting, almost all of Bridgepoint’s money comes from federal government programs, which also includes Pell Grants and federal student loans in addition to TA and GI Bill funds.[xiii]   

2017 State of California Lawsuit
In its recent 40-page civil complaint against Bridgepoint Education and Ashford University, the Attorney General of California stated that the company and its university systematically deceived consumers, including veterans, through:

(1) a high pressure sales culture,

(2) false or misleading statements concerning financial aid and costs of attendance,

(3) misrepresentations regarding transferability of credits, and

(4) misrepresentations regarding employment prospects.[xiv] [xv]

While all of these items are pertinent to service members and veterans, items 3 and 4 appear most applicable to stipulations in Ashford University’s DOD MOU.[xvi]
In Ashford University’s Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Defense, the school  agreed to provide specific consumer information to servicemembers, including information about financial aid and transferability of credits.  Judging from the State of California’s civil complaint, there is no indication that Ashford was providing this information. 

To the contrary, Bridgepoint and Ashford employees systematically deceived consumers about financial aid and transferability of credits:

False or Misleading Statements Concerning Financial Aid and Costs of Attendance (pp. 11-16 in the State of California’s Civil Complaint)
“In its efforts to lure in prospective students, Ashford systematically made false or misleading statements about students’ ability to obtain federal financial aid and the school’s costs of attendance.”  
“For example, Admissions Counselors commonly told consumers that federal financial aid would cover all their costs of attending Ashford University, or that they would receive certain kinds of federal financial aid, when the Counselors either had no basis, for making those promises.” 
“At the same time, Ashford misrepresented to consumers that it could not be determine final financial aid awards until after enrollment, and then it failed to issue the final awards until it was too late for students to withdraw without liability.  This led many to incur unexpected debts for tuition and fees they owed due to a shortfall in their final award.” 
“In another repeated tactic, Admissions Counselors enticed consumers by telling them that they could use federal financial aid for non-educational expenses, even though federal law prohibits this conduct.” 
“Admissions Counselors also made numerous other representations concerning various aspects of financial aid eligibility, a complex topic on which they were unprepared to provide guidance, as well as the costs of attending Ashford.” 
“Unlike other schools, Ashford does not send financial aid award letters until after a student enrolls, giving Admissions Counselors ample opportunity to make false forecasts about financial aid in their sales pitches to consumers.”
“In one common form of representation, Ashford told prospective students who had not yet filled out a FAFSA or received a financial aid award letter that they would not have to pay any “out of pocket costs.” 
“For many consumers, these kinds of misrepresentations made Ashford University seem more affordable than it actually was….Students ended up owing Ashford unanticipated out-of-pocket balances, or had to take out more loans than they expected.

“Ashford also told students and prospective students that final determinations about financial aid could not be made until after the student enrolled, and it required students to enroll without first receiving a financial aid award letter.  Ashford then waited until students were well into their coursework to send the financial aid award letters.  In reality, it was possible for Ashford to make final determinations prior to enrollment, just as many other colleges and universities do. Waiting to process financial aid until after an enrollment allowed Ashford to prevent prospective students’ financial concerns from getting in the way of Admissions Counselor’s quests to close their sales.”  

Elements of the MOU pertaining to financial aid (pp. 4-5):

f. Before enrolling a Service member, provide each prospective military student with specific information to locate, explain, and properly use the following ED and CFPB tools:

(1)  The College Scorecard which is a planning tool and resource to assist prospective students and their families as they evaluate options in selecting a school and is located at:  http://collegecost.ed.gov/scorecard/.

 (2)  The College Navigator which is a consumer tool that provides school information to include tuition and fees, retention and graduation rates, use of financial aid, student loan default rates and features a cost calculator and school comparison tool.  The College Navigator is located at: http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/.

 (3)  The Financial Aid Shopping Sheet which is a model aid award letter designed to simplify the information that prospective students receive about costs and financial aid so they can easily compare institutions and make informed decisions about where to attend school. The Shopping Sheet can be accessed at: http://www2.ed.gov/policy/highered/guid/aid-offer/index.html.

 (4)  The “Paying for College” webpage which can be used by prospective students to enter the names of up to three schools and receive detailed financial information on each one and to enter actual financial aid award information.  The tool can be accessed at: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/paying-for-college/.

g. Designate a point of contact or office for academic and financial advising, including access to disability counseling, to assist Service members with completion of studies and with job search activities.

(1)  The designated person or office will serve as a point of contact for Service members seeking information about available, appropriate academic counseling, financial aid counseling, and student support services at the educational institution;   (2) The point of contact will have a basic understanding of the military tuition assistance program, ED Title IV funding, education benefits offered by the VA, and familiarity with institutional services available to assist Service members. 

h.  Before offering, recommending, arranging, signing-up, dispersing, or enrolling Service members for private student loans, provide Service members access to an institutional financial aid advisor who will make available appropriate loan counseling, including, but not limited to: 
(1)  Providing a clear and complete explanation of available financial aid, including Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended. 
(2)  Describing the differences between private and federal student loans to include terms, conditions, repayment and forgiveness options. 
(3)  Disclosing the educational institution’s student loan Cohort Default Rate (CDR), the percentage of its students who borrow, and how its CDR compares to the national average.  If the educational institution’s CDR is greater than the national average CDR, it must disclose that information and provide the student with loan repayment data. 

Misrepresentations Regarding Transferability of Credits (pp. 16-23 in the State of California’s Civil Complaint)
“Ashford falsely told consumers that their prior credits would transfer into Ashford University.”
“Ashford also systematically misrepresented the extent to which Ashford University credits can transfer to other universities. Ashford’s Admissions Counselors routinely enticed prospective students with the promise that Ashford University offers them the flexibility to study online at a pace convenient to them, earning credits that they can later apply to other, less flexible, schools that the student was considering.”
“Ashford’s sales teams also told consumers that because Ashford University was regionally accredited, its credits were certain or likely to transfer to other schools….In other instances, Admissions Counselors have stated that Ashford University are accepted at specific schools, such as University of Southern California, UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC San Diego, and Harvard.” 
“Ashford also made misrepresentations regarding the transfer of credits from ongoing and future casework. Ashford University student and Army Reserve veteran P.M. was deceived by false promises that credits he earned at a community college while attending Ashford University would transfer to Ashford….As P.M. approached graduation at Ashford, he was alarmed to discover that Ashford had capped the amount of credits he could transfer….because Ashford broke its promise to accept all of the community college credits, P.M. had to spend additional time in school at Ashford University to make up for lost credits under the lower housing allowance. As a result he also fell behind in his rent, had to take another job to keep up with the bills, and his credit score suffered. Second, because GI Bill benefits are not unlimited, he wasted some of his veterans’ benefits by spending them on coursework he was unable to put toward a degree.”
This violates the following provision of the Ashford University’s DOD MOU:

“(1) Disclose its transfer credit policies and articulated credit transfer agreements before a Service member’s enrollment.  Disclosure will explain acceptance of credits in transfer is determined by the educational institution to which the student wishes to transfer and refrain from making unsubstantiated representations to students about acceptance of credits in transfer by another institution.” (p.7) 

Misleading and Deceptive Use of "Military Friendly" and "Best For Vets" Logos

Ashford University continues to use logos that are deceptive.  Promotional materials show that Ashford University claims to be "Military Friendly" and "Best For Vets."  But these designations are no longer valid.  


[iii] Veterans Education Success has reported 113 complaints from servicemembers and veterans regarding Ashford University.  https://static1.squarespace.com/static/556718b2e4b02e470eb1b186/t/5a302b5df9619a75ac81f0b7/1513106270402/Final+Ashford+Memo+%28Public%29.pdf

[iv] Ashford University was a major focus of the PBS/Frontline documentary, College Inc. http://www.pbs.org/video/frontline-college-inc/

In 2011, in Senate Hearings, Senator Harkin referred to Ashford University as “an absolute scam.” https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2011/03/11/senate_hearing_on_for_profit_colleges_singes_accreditors_as_well_as_bridgepoint

[xv] Bridgepoint Education is also presumably under investigation by the State Attorneys General in New York and North Carolina.  This is in addition to the company’s settlement with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

DOD, VA Get Low Grades for Helping Vets Make College Choices

dahneshaulis@gmail.com

The Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are tasked with helping servicemembers and their families make successful transitions to civilian life.

The Department of Defense offers college classes on base through their education centers. They also provide free education opportunities through DOD Tuition Assistance (TA). DOD offers a tool called TA Decide to help servicemembers choose schools and a short series of classes for outgoing servicemembers, called the Transition Assistance Program (TAP). The US Army also has Army University which puts all military education in one place.

VA claims to offer individual counseling for transitioning servicemembers and veterans seeking information about post-military careers and education. This includes a career tool called Career Scope and an online tool for selecting schools, called the GI Bill Comparison Tool.

How well are these education and career programs working? It would certainly appear from the available data that DOD and VA are failing many servicemembers, veterans, and their families.

I have reached out to DOD for information about the effectiveness of DOD TA, TA Decide, US Army University, and other programs but have not gotten any feedback. I have also tried to connect with VA but they also have not responded.

According to Student Veterans of America and their NVEST report, 46 percent of all people using the GI Bill do not finish school, and 25 percent use their hard earned GI Bill on for-profit colleges. In 2017, CBS News also reported that 40 percent of all GI Bill money goes to for-profit colleges. To make matters worse, some of the worst actors in the subprime college sector (like University of Phoenix, Ashford University, Colorado Tech, and Purdue University Global-Kaplan) get a large amount of TA and GI Bill money.

[Image below from GI Bill Comparison Tool shows the school with the most GI Bill students. Downloaded 11-8-2018. ]




In 2011, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that DOD had done some work on ensuring greater accountability from online schools, but that more needed to be done. Since 2017, DOD has made two review of schools receiving TA funds, but the information has not been released to the public. US Army University also continues to partner with subprime colleges such as University of Phoenix, DeVry, and Ashford University.


Related links:

8 tips to help vets pick the right college (Military Times)

Veteran Mentor Network on LinkedIn

Warrior Scholar Project

Service to School

Veterans Upward Bound

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Private College Revenues and the US College Meltdown

dahneshaulis@gmail.com

According to National Center for Education Statistics charts, public higher education institutions overall experienced increased revenues in recent years, but private colleges saw a $46 Billion loss in revenues from 2013 to 2015.

Bear in mind that the numbers are not up-to-date, so this pattern may have improved, stabilized, or worsened since 2016. But with student enrollment continuing to decrease, declining private college revenue numbers may be a harbinger of a larger meltdown.

In 2016, EY suggested that as many as 805 colleges faced significant challenges due to low enrollment numbers and unsustainable finances.

Some of private college revenue losses may due to a tuition discounting. In any case, drops in institutional revenues for a significant period require cost cutting, which frequently means cuts in teachers, staff, and financial aid. Conditions at individual private colleges may be vastly different, from thriving and growing to downsizing and closing.


Sunday, October 14, 2018

College Enrollments Continue Decline in Several States

dahneshaulis@gmail.com

[Updated 10-20-2018]

Although the National Student Clearinghouse numbers won't be out until December, a cursory look at news articles over the last month suggests that US higher education enrollment will be down again in 2018-19.

This is not surprising news, given that only a minority of colleges surveyed by Inside Higher Education/Gallup had met their enrollment goals by June.

Thousands of learning sites and campuses have closed over the last seven years, and the trend looks like it will continue. You can track the school closings here.

For-profit colleges continue to downsize, although they aren't reporting numbers. However, many University of Phoenix and Virginia College campuses will be closing. Harrison College campuses closed abruptly leaving thousands of students shunted to other questionable subprime schools, like National American University.
University of Phoenix campuses will be closing in Albuquerque, Atlanta, Chicago, Colorado Springs, Columbia SC, Detroit, El Paso, Honolulu, Philadelphia, Virginia Beach, and several locations in California and Florida.
Community colleges are also expected to lose students for the foreseeable future.
In Illinois, freshman enrollment was down 20% at Western Illinois University and Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. 

In New Mexico, enrollment is down 7% at University of New Mexico and 5% at Santa Fe Community College. New Mexico State's enrollment dropped by 1% but the school is facing a $3.3 million shortfall. 

In Montana, enrollment at the University of Montana declined 7.6%.

In Hawaii, enrollment as University of Hawaii campuses saw drops at University of Hawaii-Hilo (3.8%), Hawaii Community College (6.6%) and UH-Maui (6.4%).

In Pennsylvania, enrollment was down for the eight consecutive year, a drop of 4%Indiana University of Pennsylvania experienced a 9% enrollment drop this semester. Cheney University's numbers were down 37%.

In New Jersey, Cumberland County College is merging with Rowan College at Glouchester County after years of enrollment declines.

In Michigan, enrollment is down 1.5% at Western Michigan and Grand Valley State.

In Mississippi, enrollment at universities and community colleges decreased by 1%. The greatest decline was at Jackson State, which saw a 10% decline.

In Missouri, enrollment is down at Crowder College (8%), Missouri Southern State University (2.7%) and Pittsburg State University (4%). University of Missouri increased enrollment significantly after rebranding itself.

In Nebraska, enrollment increased at Creighton, but decreased at all University of Nebraska campuses.

In Arkansas, enrollment is down 1.3%. University of Arkansas at Little Rock had an enrollment drop of about 10%.

In Wisconsin, UW system-wide enrollment was down 2,598 students or 1.5%.

In Kansas, University of Kansas, Kansas State and Pittsburg State all recorded declining enrollment.

Community college numbers in Oregon continue to drop, particularly at Lane Community College, where enrollment is down 11%.

In West Virginia, WVU-Parkersburg reported a 3% drop.

In Ohio, University of Akron's enrollment fell 7%. Enrollment dropped about 3% at Kent State, also with a decline in foreign students.

In North Dakota, the University of North Dakota experienced a 4% loss in enrollment. North Dakota State also had a 4% loss, resulting in an estimated $5M less in revenues.

In Iowa, enrollments dropped at Northern Iowa (5.8%), Iowa (1.6%), and Iowa State (2.8%. Hawkeye Community College had a 6% loss.

In Arizona, enrollments at Maricopa Community Colleges have declined after it was ruled that Dreamers were not eligible for in-state tuition. 

Nationwide, enrollment may also be influenced by recent declines in the number of foreign students.
There are some notable rises in enrollment. North Carolina is seeing increases after making tuition affordable with its NC Promise program. Texas and Utah are also likely to see continued gains in college numbers as more people move to their states.

Related articles:
College Meltdown: State By State Changes
Subprime College Crash Continues Under the Radar
Private College Revenues and the US College Meltdown
US Department of Education Fails to Recognize College Meltdown
College Meltdown: NY, IL, MI, PA, VA hardest hit
Community Colleges at the Heart of College Meltdown
Charting the College Meltdown

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Visa Mill Promoters Drop $760K on Key Republicans and NY Governor Andrew Cuomo

According to Federal Election Commission (FEC) records, individual members of Thompson Education Center have spent at least $710,000 for the 2017-2018 election cycle, all on Republican efforts. 

[Image below from Open Secrets.]


Backers of Thompson Education Center, Lianbo Wang and Sherry Li, have already donated at least $600,00 to the Trump Victory fund. They also donated $55,000 to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2014. 

Thompson Education Center (TEC) is a project, backed by Chinese-American investors, to create a private college in Sullivan County, New York. The school would house up to 2500 students, presumably Chinese nationals seeking US visas.
Information about the school is sketchy. Press releases from 2016 and 2017 stated that TEC would build a nursing school, a culinary center, and a conservatory for film and tv.
[Image from NTD, suggesting that the Thompson Education Center could become a high-end visa mill for Chinese nationals.]

In 2013, the original $6 billion China City project was supposed to include a Chinese theme park, two hotels, a Chinese cultural museum, and a casino. But public opposition has resulted in a more modest plan that remains mostly on the drawing board.

Is the China City/Thompson Education Center project a threat to US security or a business scam? Possibly both.

Buying Political Influence

[FEC documents show that Sherry Li and Lianbo Wang have made major contributions to Donald Trump, the Republican National Committee, and key Republicans.]






[Image below shows political contributions that Sherry Li has made to state and local politicians, including Andrew Cuomo, as well as politicians in Sullivan County, where the China City/Thompson Education Center is planned.]


[Image below from Yahoo Finance shows that Sherry Li spent time in DC in 2017 to influence key Republicans, including Steve Stivers, head of the National Republican Congressional Committee.]

Trying to Follow the Money

Not much is known about Li or Wang, but a brief article revealing their political donations and activities appeared in the Daily Best last year. Apparently, their Oyster Bay Long Island residence has also been the headquarters for the United Nations Mao Zedong Foundation and several other businesses.

[Image below from Opencorpdata.com downloaded 10-2-2018 shows several business at the Li and Wang residence.]
 

[Image below: The New York State Department business entity database lists 15 companies under China City of America.]

Securities and Exchange Commission documents show transfer of ownership from Chinese corporations to the US and other business dealings, but the origins of Sherry Li's wealth are cloudy.

[Image below from Defeat China City of America on Facebook indicates relationships between Sherry Li and Chinese businesses.]

Press releases by the Thompson Education Center are located here.
[Image below: The Thompson Education Center twitter account has not shown any entries since June 2018.]


[Image below from Blacktiemagazine.com shows Sherry Li and her assistant at a black tie event in 2018. It appears that Thompson Education Center has few if any other employees.]
Preliminary research results in many more questions: about the citizenship status of Lianbo "Mike" Wang, capital flow from China through the 15 China City businesses and other enterprises, the tax status and detailed plans of the Thompson Education Center, and their possible ties to the Chinese Communist Party.