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school daze

Bill Clinton Is the Face of a Massive For-profit College Company

Bill Clinton attends "Laureate Summit On Youth And Jobs" at Universidad Europea on May 21, 2013 in Madrid, Spain.

While it doesn't have the name recognition of say, the University of Phoenix, Laureate Education Inc. is America's largest for-profit college company by enrollment, though most of its 800,000 students attend one of the 70 schools it runs overseas. Bloomberg has published a profile of the organization, which boasts $4 billion in annual revenue and backers who include George Soros, Steve Cohen's SAC Capital, and Henry Kravis's KKR & Co. In 2010, Bill Clinton became Laureate's honorary chancellor, and has since traveled to its locations "in countries such as Malaysia, Peru and Spain, making more than a dozen appearances on its behalf." (Portraits of him are posted around some of the campuses.)

While some of the company's schools are highly ranked, others have been accused of low admissions and academic standards, "turbocharging enrollment" to boost revenues, and deceptiveness about tuition costs — the same troubling practices that caused the Obama administration to try to stanch the flow of federal-student-loan dollars to for-profit schools in the United States. Clinton is, of course, compensated for his role at Laureate, though the company would not comment on what they are paying him. It must be a lot, because it otherwise certainly wouldn't seem worth it to be aligned with a widely criticized, often predatory industry when your wife is almost definitely about to run for president.

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Photo: Juan Naharro Gimenez/Getty Images