Social Performance, Part 2 This a continuation assignment. Imagine company ethics program effective program. The Federal Sentencing Guidelines Organizations encourages firm set ethics programs.
Company: Pinnacle Professional College
Pinnacle Professional College is a for-profit institution that offers technologically-related continuing education courses, professional certification, and degrees primarily in technical fields such as dental hygiene, diagnostic sonography, and radiology. For-profit institutions have come under increasing scrutiny by the federal government for taking student's money, causing them to go into debt, and giving them with degrees of little value. To set the school apart from such unethical institutions, Pinnacle must show that that students move on to gainful employment that they would not otherwise have been able to obtain without attending Pinnacle. Pinnacle also has an ethical responsibility to ensure that students to not accrue more debt than they can conceivably pay off in a reasonable period of time. According to one NYU professor critiquing the current system of education: "while I was visiting a community college in the Southwest, a son of immigrants told me he had taken out a series of loans…only to discover, on graduation, that the institution was not properly accredited…For first-generation families like his, access to information is scarce. Priced out of increasingly costly public colleges, he and his peers are falling into the for-profit system, where they are easy prey for shady officials with ties to venal lenders who target high-risk borrowers" (Ross 2012).
It is incumbent upon Pinnacle to stand apart from such chicanery and establish itself as an ethical and trustworthy institution. Trade-specific learning can have value, particularly given the influx of college graduates who are currently unemployed with unmarketable degrees, while other areas of the job market remain underserved because of a lack of qualified personnel to fill them. Pinnacle University strives to fill that gap: it can provide affordable education for students which prepares future workers for a specific field.
Accusations of collusion between schools and student loan agencies to encourage students with little hope of graduating from taking out such loans have caused many for-profit institutions to issue ethical codes of conduct. For example, New York Career Institute (NYCI) pledges "NYCI does not create, maintain, or distribute any listing of 'preferred' or 'recommended' education loan lenders/servicers, nor will NYCI staff endorse any particular education loan lender/servicer" Code of Ethics for Student Loans, 2012, NYCI). NYCI employees may not accept gifts from student loan agents, nor receive advice from student loan representatives. "Financial Aid advisors neither favor nor discriminate against any particular student loan lender, servicer, or provider in giving counsel to student and parent borrowers" (Code of Ethics for Student Loans, 2012, NYCI).
Bellarmine University similarly states that university employees can receive a "personal benefit" from providing advice about student loans and it also vows not to have any preferred lender lists in its ethical code of conduct. (Student loan code of conduct, 2012, Bellarmine University). It notes "University employees shall not serve on lender advisory board for remuneration" and the "University shall not provide any advantage to a Lending Institution" (Student loan code of conduct, 2012, Bellarmine University). Auburn University likewise affirms that it complies with the 2008 Higher Education Opportunity Act and does not enter into revenue-sharing agreements or contracts with lenders. Like NYCI and Bellarmine, it states that it does not grant preferred lender status to any institution and prohibits employees from accepting gifts from lenders or from lenders to serve in an advisory capacity for students. "Auburn University will not request or accept from any lender any offer of funds to be used for private education loans (defined in section 140 of the Truth in Lending Act) including funds for an opportunity pool loan in exchange for Auburn University providing concessions or promises regarding providing the lender with a specified number of loans made, insured or guaranteed; a specified loan volume of such loans; or a preferred lender arrangement for such loans" (Auburn University Student Loan Code of Conduct, 2012, Auburn University).
The similar nature of all of these ethical statements suggests the degree to which all of them were created with the specific intention of complying with federal law, which was designed to reign in the excesses of other for-profit colleges. Many colleges were accused of conspiring with lenders -- even allowing lenders to give advice to students -- to increase enrollment and tuition dollars. Many of these institutions were also not accredited, meaning that students were going into debt for no discernable reason. Even for students at accredited institutions, given the difficult job market, jobs are scarce and it can be difficult to pay off student loans. "Ten percent of recent graduates of four-year colleges have monthly student loan payments that exceed 25% of their income" (Briody 2012). Even highly-respected four-year colleges have been criticized for allowing student to accumulate more debt than they could conceivably pay off in a lifetime (Ross 2012)
Pinnacle must honor its ethical obligations under the law. But it must go above and beyond these obligations to gain respect in the educational community. It must release honest and accurate figures about student placement in jobs that were gained as a direct result of taking classes at Pinnacle. Pinnacle must also make, as part of its Ethical Code of Conduct, a statement that it will do all that it can to help students graduate with a minimum amount of debt. This will include increasing its work study options, offering scholarships, and offering low-interest loans. This ethical statement will be good for business as well as good for students: people will flock to Pinnacle if it has a reputation of finding graduates good jobs within their field, with minimal amounts of accrued debt.
Some challenges that this ethical code might face include the idea that it is necessary to charge high tuition rates for Pinnacle to provide the education it does, and that hiring high-quality professors is too costly. However, as a technologically-driven school primarily geared to people seeking professionally-related degrees, Pinnacle has substantial resources to decrease its overhead costs. It can offer a substantial percentage of lecture-based courses online. Even hands-on courses, such as classes in radiology and dental hygiene, can be offered as lab components, while most of the purely academic part of the course is still administered online, in the form of online quizzes and tests. Professors can teach larger classes by posting class notes online and engaging with students through video conferencing. Without having to maintain substantial facilities and being able to slim down its teaching staff, Pinnacle can afford to charge less tuition.
Pinnacle can also make more of its classes have a 'real world' component. By offering for-credit internships and externships it can reduce its costs, as students learn their trade through on-the-job teaching by professionals in the field. This would also counteract criticism regarding for-profit colleges that they do not provide students with a real world education. And it would provide valuable networking opportunities, as the students worked in their desired spheres before entering the job market. Students would be prepared to work on 'day one' of entering their new employment, whatever that might be. These types of mutually advantageous agreements would generate positive relationships between Pinnacle and the rest of the community and employers. Employers would gain additional help; students would gain experience.
Shifting more of its coursework online or into 'real world' settings would show that Pinnacle is part of a revolution that is occurring in education. Given the student unemployment and debt crisis, more and more people are critical of the lack of professional and practical preparedness fostered by traditional college settings. Pinnacle offers a non-traditional 'trade school' format that is practical and thorough in nature. It will answer questions that have arisen about for-profit schools encouraging students to go into…