Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "college" ...

  • How America’s College-Closure Crisis Leaves Families Devastated

    After a chain of for-profit colleges abruptly closed, The Chronicle of Higher Education conducted an in-depth analysis of federal data related to closures. The analysis, which required extensive data work, showed that more than 1,200 college campuses closed in the last five years – an average of 20 closures per month. These closures displaced roughly 500,000 students, most of whom were working adults. The data showed that most of these displaced students were at least 25 years old, and about 57 percent are racial minorities. The vast majority of displaced students – nearly 85 percent – attended a for-profit college. The for-profit industry has received scant oversight from the Trump administration, despite the industry’s long history of problems. The Chronicle’s investigation highlighted the need for greater oversight of this troubled sector of higher education.
  • A Dangerous Delay

    In November 2018, Olivia Paregol’s father frantically called the University of Maryland from the intensive care unit at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The 18-year-old freshman, who had lived in a mold-infested dorm, was fighting for her life and doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Was there anything else on campus making students sick? The director of the student health center knew of severe cases of adenovirus on campus but the public had no clue. Less than a week later, Olivia was dead from the virus and the outbreak would sicken dozens of students. It was only after her death that school officials informed the campus about the virus. Ian Paregol had more questions than answers: How long had the university known? Why didn’t they tell Olivia or other students when they showed up sick at the student health center? Washington Post reporters Jenn Abelson, Amy Brittain and Sarah Larimer interviewed more than 100 people and obtained thousands of pages of medical records, hundreds of emails, text messages, voicemails and other documents to reconstruct the events that led to Olivia’s death and threatened the health and safety of thousands of students at the University of Maryland campus. College officials said it would cost $63,000 to disclose internal emails about the outbreak, so reporters obtained many of those records from state and county agencies. In May, the Washington Post published “A Dangerous Delay,” a detailed investigation examining the outbreak of mold and adenovirus at the University of Maryland. The reporters revealed that the school waited 18 days to inform students about the virus and officials discussed — but decided against — notifying students with compromised immune systems, like Olivia, and those living in mold-infested dorms.
  • You, Too - The Public Cost of Sex Harassment

    In a three-month investigation, NBC5 Investigates, Telemundo Chicago, and the Better Government Association tracked down case after case of government employees in the Chicago area, accused of sexual misconduct, harassment, abuse, assault, or even rape. We filed nearly 2,000 public records requests for documents from local governmental agencies, and – so far – found it cost taxpayers $55 million over more than 400 cases. Tracking hundreds of lawsuits, complaints, and internal investigations filed over the past ten years, we found scores of complaints with local police departments, city halls, public schools, community colleges, park districts, townships and more.
  • University of Idaho botches sexual assault case

    A former University of Idaho athlete posted an account online of ways the athletic department mishandled her accusation of sexual assault against a football player. We conducted interviews and acquired extensive documentation to show what went wrong -- and that the university had known almost immediately about its mistakes but never told her. The athletic direction was placed on leave and eventually fired after an independent investigation commissioned by the university.
  • Twice Abandoned: How schools and child-welfare systems fail kids in foster care

    Foster kids graduate high school and go to college at a much lower rate than other groups of children. The federal government is trying to help these young people from falling behind, but many states aren’t doing their part. We look at how schools and child-welfare systems are each failing the foster youth in their care.
  • STARZ's Fail State

    Executive produced by news legend Dan Rather, FAIL STATE investigates the dark side of American higher education, chronicling the decades of policy decisions in Washington, D.C. that have given rise to a powerful and highly-predatory for-profit college industry. With echoes of the subprime mortgage crisis, the film lays bare how for-profit colleges exploit millions of low-income and minority students, leaving them with worthless degrees and drowning in student loan debt. Combining five years of research and interviews from over 60 experts, policymakers, whistleblowers, and students defrauded by their colleges, director Alexander Shebanow presents a searing exposé on the for-profit college industry and the lawmakers enabling widespread fraud and abuse in American higher education. FAIL STATE debuted on STARZ on December 17th, 2018.
  • ProPublica: Civil Wrongs

    Nowhere has the Trump administration's pullback on civil rights been more pronounced or damaging than in education. Under Secretary Betsy DeVos, the Education Department has deep-sixed thousands of civil rights complaints — especially those alleging systemic discrimination by school districts and colleges. In their series, "Civil Wrongs," reporters Annie Waldman of ProPublica and Erica L. Green of The New York Times exposed the department's indifference, and the toll on African-American, Latino, and Native American students from Virginia to Montana. Their work has already had significant impact, and is likely to be even more influential in 2019 as Democrats who now control the U.S. House of Representatives tackle DeVos’ civil rights record. Alongside their reporting, the team, which included news app developers Lena Groeger and David Eads, created two interactive databases: one allowing readers to look up civil rights investigations into their school districts and colleges and another illustrating racial disparities in educational opportunities and discipline.
  • In Donors We Trust

    Everyone knows that college is more and more expensive to attend. So why are college and university endowments skyrocketing and now worth more than $567 billion? We started with the University of Michigan, lauded as one of the world’s best public universities which had stockpiled an endowment worth more than $11 billion. We found that university officials invested a good chunk of that endowment – one of the country’s largest among public institutions - in hundreds of private funds across the world. More importantly, our months-long investigation identified a select group who had secretly benefited: top university donors and alumni investment advisers who run private equity, hedge and venture capital funds and real estate investment firms. After our stories published throughout 2018, the university changed its investment policies; rerouted nearly $2 million into more student aid; made new investments based in the state; publicly released university executive compensation information after losing a FOIA lawsuit brought by the Free Press; and saw two university regents (i.e., trustees) lose their elections in November to those who promised more financial transparency and accountability based on our reporting.
  • Daily Iowegian: Indian Hills Community College

    The Indian Hills Community College baseball team in Iowa ousted two of its coaches — one of them a hall of fame coach — in May. After a more than four-month investigation, the Daily Iowegian found the coaches were removed after an internal investigation that coaches forced players to work for security companies at NFL and Big 10 games in Minneapolis and Iowa City, all while assigning fake names to foreign-born students so they could work around federal immigration law. The money went to the baseball program, not the players.
  • CALmatters: California’s for-profit college watchdog fails to police as feds back down

    The California agency responsible for overseeing the state’s 1,000-plus for-profit colleges and vocational schools has repeatedly failed or been slow to enforce laws meant to prevent fraud and abuse, leaving a serious gap in accountability as federal regulators back away from the job.