Greenberg: Department of Education Circles Back on Strayer


This follow-up on Strayer Education's disagreement with the way the Education Department calculates its student loan repayment rates.

As expected, the department has posted a further explanation about how it calculated student repayment rates on for-profit schools.

According to a FAQ document, the department said, "We have not identified any errors in the programming or the data that model the results for the proposed regulation."

It added that it "may" conduct additonal analyses" based upon questions it receives during a public comment process. Earlier, it told us it "will" conduct additional analysis. The department did not mention Strayer by name.

The department is telling us it intends to conduct some additional analysis into its recent report on student repayment rates on for-profit schools.

However, after seeing our original story this morning, the department called to say that it has yet to find reason to doubt the accuracy of the numbers it previously released. It offered no elaboration.

As we previously reported, a week ago the department released data that showed Strayer's students repaid their loans at a rate of 25 percent. Strayer's calculation at was 55.4 percent.

Strayer said at the time it didn't understand the discrepancy and that was filing a freedom of information request to get actual data used by the department. The department says its re-analysis is not Strayer-specific.

The repayment rate is one of several metrics the Education Department is expected to use as part of proposed "gainful employment" rules go into effect later this year in determining whether a school's students will qualify for federal loans and grants.

Federal loans are a significant contributor to revenue at many for-profit schools, including Strayer. At 25 percent, Strayer would not meet the loan repayment metric.

Strayer CEO Robert Silberman told me he believes any additional analysis would be good news.

This story has been updated to include new information from the Department of Education.