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 "colleges" ...

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Degree of Deception

    A lawsuit filed by a former Queens University accusing her alma mater of mishandling her reported sexual assault prompted us to dig deeper and find out how other area universities were handling sexual assault on campus. Our questions prompted four schools to amend their Clery reports,a report required by federal law outlining the number of certain types of crimes that happen on campus, to add additional reported sexual assaults. Following our first story into Queens University, the school settled its lawsuit and amended its Clery report. Ultimately, our investigation prompted four colleges and universities to amend their Clery reports to add sexual assaults. https://youtu.be/fJoKjUmt3DU
  • Corruption at Houston Community College

    Higher Education Reporter Ben Wermund dug into a variety of public records from multiple agencies and from a legal battle to track how the leaders one of the nation’s largest community colleges had wasted millions of a nearly half-billion-dollar bond package. He fought hard for records that the college repeatedly attempted to hide and found ingenious ways to document misspending, secret meetings and illegal or unethical decisions that resulted in immediate response, reforms in open meeting procedures and ongoing investigations.
  • Higher-Ed Hustle

    Miami Herald reporter Michael Vasquez took a deep look at the private for-profit college industry in Florida to determine why it has flourished while similar schools have struggled in other states. What he found: Florida politicians -- especially those in the state legislature -- have enabled the industry, passing more than a dozen laws that fueled its growth while hindering community colleges. In exchange, lawmakers have received hundreds of thousands in campaign contributions.
  • Telemundo 39 Diploma Mills

    Diploma mills have become prominent in North Texas. These businesses open shop as alleged private schools in small offices and offer home-school programs. They promised people a high school diploma in exchange of a flat fee. They take advantage of a loophole in Texas Law that protects home-school students from being discriminated by colleges or universities. People running these diploma mills are making thousands of dollars selling bogus diplomas, and the students are finding out the hard way. Some of them realize that the diplomas are useless when applying for work or for financial aid. After their broadcast, the group of students showcased in the first part received a money order with a refund for their diploma fee.
  • Data show that poorer families are bearing the brunt of college price hikes

    In an 11-month project, The Hechinger Report empirically tested the oft-repeated claim of universities and colleges that they are helping low-income students afford the cost of higher education. The Report analyzed federal data to determine the net price -- what students are actually charged, after discounts and financial aid are taken into account -- at thousands of colleges and universities. The Report found many schools increased the net price much faster for their lowest-income students than for wealthier ones. Sidebars also showed that federal financial aid, including tax credits and the work-study program, disproportionately benefit the rich. And in a followup, using a successive year of data later made available during 2014, The Hechinger Report reported that 100 colleges and universities that promised at a White House summit to make higher education more affordable for the lowest-income students had actually raised their prices faster for the poorest students than for wealthier ones. The project included a unique, first-of-its-kind, easy-to-use, searchable website called Tuition Tracker (tuitiontracker.org) through which readers could find any college and university and see how its net price has changed, by any of five income groupings.