The award-winning documentary “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.

Join us for an excerpt of this chilling film and then sit down for a discussion with TCF experts who are leading the way on holding for-profit colleges and policymakers accountable for the future of students across the country.

Event Details

Wednesday, July 24, 2019
6:00pm – Screening and panel discussion
7:15pm – Wine and cheese reception
8:00pm – Program end

1 Whitehall Street, 15th Floor
New York, NY 10004


Yan Cao
Fellow, The Century Foundation

Yan Cao is a fellow at The Century Foundation where she works on higher education policy with a focus on expanding opportunity, reducing inequality, and ensuring fair outcomes for students.

Yan Cao worked previously as a Skadden Fellow at the Project on Predatory Student Lending at the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School, representing students defrauded by for-profit colleges, and as an attorney at South Brooklyn Legal Services, representing low-income families with predatory student loan debt. In addition to serving thousands of students in individual and collective actions, Yan has co-chaired the Student Loan Working Group at New Yorkers for Responsible Lending (NYRL), and led trainings on the legal rights of student loan borrowers. Yan has researched issues at the intersection of racial justice, economic mobility, and fair lending in work with diverse organizations, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the ACLU and NYCLU, and the New York City Commission on Human Rights.

A former law clerk to Judge J. Paul Oetken of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and Judge Raymond J. Lohier Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, Yan received her J.D. from NYU Law School, where she was a Root-Tilden-Kern Public Interest Law Scholar and Editor-in-Chief of the NYU Law Review. Yan is also a graduate of Stanford University and Simon’s Rock College of Bard. She is a product of public education systems in Arizona, Ohio, and Florida, and a beneficiary of many programs providing financial aid in higher education.

Taela Dudley
Policy Associate, The Century Foundation

Taela is a policy associate, who is working to reduce disparities in opportunities and outcomes through advancing solutions in higher education policy. Taela graduated from Duke University in 2017, where she studied Linguistics, French, and Neuroscience. Before coming to TCF, Taela taught English in Dakar, Senegal through a Fulbright scholarship.

Stephanie Hall
Fellow, The Century Foundation

Stephanie Hall is a fellow at The Century Foundation where she works on higher education policy with a focus on accountability and quality. She is an expert on international higher education policy, teacher policy, and trends in the privatization of public education.

Stephanie previously worked at the University System of Maryland Office of Academic and Student Affairs on issues including teacher education and workforce development. For the Maryland system, Stephanie coordinated a workgroup on civic education and civic engagement. She also managed statewide projects focused on improving undergraduate student outcomes and equity in STEM education.

Stephanie earned her PhD in International Education Policy at the University of Maryland College Park. Her dissertation analyzed the network of public and private sector organizations involved in teacher education policy in Brazil. Stephanie’s work has been published in Teachers College Record as well as in Portuguese-language academic journals.

Stephanie also holds an MA in Educational Leadership and Administration from the George Washington University and a BS in Middle Grades Education from Reinhardt College. She grew up in the public schools of metro-Atlanta, Georgia. Prior to earning her PhD, Stephanie taught middle and high school for 13 years, first in the Atlanta area and then in the Brazilian cities of Porto Alegre and Belo Horizonte.