California cracks down on computer boot camps

Jan 30 2014, 11:16pm CST | by

California consumer watchdog tells popular computer coding boot camps to close pending review

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California consumer protection officials are threatening to close a number of fast-paced, fast-growing computer coding boot camps that train people to work in the technology industry, saying they failed to get licensed as private schools before they started accepting students.

The Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education issued citation letters this month to at least six computer-programming academies in the San Francisco Bay Area, according to Dev Bootcamp co-founder Shereef Bishay, whose 2-year-old, nine-week program is the oldest of the group. The letters order the schools to immediately stop enrolling students and to issue refunds to past students until they receive approval to operate.

The schools could be fined $50,000 if they fail to comply, according to the orders, which first were reported by the online news site Venture Beat.

Bishay said his company is eager to satisfy the state and already has submitted a lengthy application outlining the $12,000-a-session boot camp's curriculum, completion rate, testing methods and other details. But with 60 people now taking classes and hundreds more signed up through mid-summer, suspending the program while awaiting word from the postsecondary education bureau is unfeasible, he said.

"A big problem for us is it's such a huge life commitment. Our students, they quit jobs, they rearrange their lives around this, so shutting down would be catastrophic," he said. "Our businesses might survive it, but it would definitely be catastrophic for the students."

California Department of Consumer Affairs spokesman Russ Heimerich said that as educational institutions that charge "a fairly hefty chunk of money" and are not operated by religious organizations or accredited by another agency, the coding boot camps clearly fall under the regulatory authority of the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education, which oversees about 1,400 career schools and for-profit colleges.

"We did discover that these organizations existed, we looked into it, we found that, yeah, based on what they are doing and how they are doing it, they are not exempt from the law," Heimerich said.

He added, however, that the stern language in the cease-and-desist letters was designed primarily to get the operators' attention and that it was unlikely the bureau would be moving to shut them down as long as they made a good-faith effort to come into compliance.

"We are trying to get them to become licensed," Heimerich said, adding that the agency has not received any complaints about the boot camps and learned about them from a staff investigator who saw them mentioned on a technology blog. "So if they are doing that, they fall to the bottom or close to the bottom of our enforcement priorities because there are many more serious threats to student consumers."

The bureau assesses schools it regulates $1 per student, money that goes into a fund that helps reimburse students who paid to attend a school that is shuttered by the state or goes out of business. If their operating applications are approved, the boot camps would not have to immediately pay the assessment because the fund currently has the $2.5 million balance authorized under California law, he said.

Bishay said he and his competitors met Wednesday to talk about how to deal with the state's threat and agreed to welcome state oversight. When Dev Bootcamp was launched, he thought of it as an apprenticeship program, not an educational enterprise, and there are aspects of his business, which receives no government funding or student financial aid, that do not fit neatly within state regulations.

For example, the state also requires schools to seek approval for every change in their curricula, a potential problem in an industry where change happens quickly. The bureau also requires instructors at private academies to hold bachelor's degrees and three years' teaching experience. One of his best instructors, an experienced engineer, has neither, Bishay said.

"If you are getting a 95 percent job placement rate, do you really care if the teacher has a diploma?" he said. "It hurts us to even have the question be out there unresolved."

Source: AP Business

 
 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/31" rel="author">Associated Press</a>
The Associated Press (AP) is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Ebola virus detected in semen three months after symptoms end
Geneva, Nov 28 (IANS/EFE) The World Health Organisation (WHO) warned Friday that the semen of men recovering from Ebola can contain the deadly virus up to three months after the symptoms disappear.
 
 
Hitachi evinces interest in developing Andhra ports
Hyderabad, Nov 28 (IANS) Japanese multinational conglomerate Hitachi has shown interest in developing ports in Andhra Pradesh.
 
 
Ebola test results now in 15 minutes!
London, Nov 28 (IANS) A 15-minute blood and saliva test for Ebola is to be tried in Guinea.
 
 
Japanese scientists develop hybrid silk using spider genes
Tokyo, Nov 28 (IANS/EFE) Japanese scientists have developed through genetic engineering using genes from spiders and silkworms a super resistant silk which could be used for textiles as well as in the surgical field, media reported Friday.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Indian Aces win inaugural IPTL tie
Manila, Nov 28 (IANS) The much-awaited inaugural International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) got off to a flying start with the Indian Aces notching an impressive 26-16 first victory against the Singapore Slammers at...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Australian navy's largest ship commissioned
Canberra, Nov 28 (IANS) HMAS Canberra, a 27,000-tonne landing helicopter dock (LHD), was commissioned Friday, providing the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) with one of the world's most capable and sophisticated amphibious...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Sindhu, Prannoy enter Macau Open semis
Macau, Nov 28 (IANS) Indian shuttlers P.V. Sindhu and H.S. Prannoy came out with contrasting wins to enter their respective semi-finals at the $120,000 Macau Open Grand Prix Gold here Friday. While defending champion...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Ebola virus detected in semen three months after symptoms end
Geneva, Nov 28 (IANS/EFE) The World Health Organisation (WHO) warned Friday that the semen of men recovering from Ebola can contain the deadly virus up to three months after the symptoms disappear. Four studies on the...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Syria coordinating with Russia for talks with opposition
Damascus, Nov 28 (IANS) Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said Friday that the Syrian government is coordinating with Russia for launching a dialogue with the Syrian opposition. In an interview with the pan-...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Two killed in Egypt clashes
Cairo, Nov 28 (IANS) Two people were killed Friday in clashes between Egyptian police and Islamist protestors in the capital Cairo. Two protestors were shot dead during the demonstrations in Matariya district and a...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Ferguson protests expose human rights abuse in US: North Korea
Pyong Yang, Nov 28 (IANS) North Korea Friday lashed out at the US human rights record, saying the ongoing mass protests against racial discrimination exposed severe human rights abuse in the US. Protests have taken...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
US plans to release more detainees from Guantanamo Bay
Washington, Nov 28 (IANS) The Pentagon is preparing to release more prisoners from the Guantanamo Bay detention centre in Cuba, in the coming weeks, official sources in the US have revealed. According to officials,...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Bhullar, Lahiri in fray for Indonesia Open title
Jakarta, Nov 28 (IANS) Indian golfer Gaganjeet Bhullar will be looking to defend the $750,000 Indonesia Open title against compatriot Anirban Lahiri and several others in the annual Asian Tour event at the Damai Indah...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
British court awards woman 337 mn pounds in divorce case
London, Nov 28 (IANS) Following a bitter battle, the American wife of a London financier has been awarded 337 million pounds ($529 million) by a high court judge in the largest settlement a woman has received so far in...
Read more on Politics Balla