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 "higher education" ...

  • 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.
  • In Donors We Trust

    This entry features the Detroit Free Press' innovative and exhaustive look into irregularities in the management of the University of Michigan’s $11 billion endowment. The years-long investigation detailed how executives at some of the nation's top investment firms donated hundreds of millions of dollars to the University of Michigan while the university in turn invested as much as $4 billion in those companies' funds. More than $400 million of that amount was sent into funds managed by three alumni who advise the university on the investments of its endowment. Critics who reviewed the newspaper’s computational and statistical analysis said Michigan’s approach of investing with some of its top donors, who also help guide the university's endowment, creates a conflict. After the publication of more than a dozen stories throughout 2018, the university reformed its conflict-of-interest rules; its president apologized for a lack in oversight; a member of its board of regents returned more than $20,000 in campaign contributions from an investment fund leader; and voters ousted both board incumbents running for re-election.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • New Jersey’s Student Loan Program is ‘State-Sanctioned Loan-Sharking’

    New Jersey’s student loan agency, the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority, has some of the most aggressive collection tactics in the industry with few reprieves, even for borrowers who’ve died. ProPublica’s series lays out how HESAA’s loans have unraveled lives – sending many families into financial ruin – to the point they’ve been described as “state-sanctioned loan-sharking.”
  • Who’s getting rich off your student debt?

    The student loan program was supposed to help open the door to higher education, but it’s become something else: a profit center for Wall Street and the government. Now the program is making things worse for some of the people it was designed to help. This episode of Reveal explores how this happened and who’s winning and losing as a result.
  • Who’s getting rich off your student debt?

    America’s student loan system was created in the 1960s as part of an effort to alleviate poverty and inequality. But by 2016, some 42 million Americans owed an astonishing $1.3 trillion on their student loans, and the debt load had doubled in eight years. How did a program intended to help deserving students go to college become a profit center for Wall Street, private investors, even the government? We sought to document how the nation’s student loan crisis unfolded – and who has profited from it.
  • Sports At Any Cost

    We teamed up with The Chronicle of Higher Education to tell how in an era of soaring college costs and mounting student debt, universities are spending billions of dollars to prop up their sports departments. Our overview feature showcases deep reporting from Georgia State, which has invested millions into a football program that hasn't attracted much support.
  • 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.
  • A Collaborative Investigative Reporting Initiative

    The Georgia News Lab is an award-wining investigative reporting collaborative. Its mission is to train a new generation of investigative journalists and help increase diversity in newsrooms. The project is a partnership between four of the top college journalism programs in Georgia (the University of Georgia, Georgia State University, Morehouse College, and Clark Atlanta University) and two of the dominant news outlets in the Southeast (the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and WSB-TV, an ABC affiliate). Through this unique collaboration, students learn advanced reporting techniques, work side by side with professional reporters, produce major investigative stories, and prepare for careers in investigative journalism. http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/student-project-leads-ethics-investigation-subpoen/nm8r6/