The livestream below will begin at the time of the event.

Join The Century Foundation and New America on Wednesday, March 31 at 1:00 PM ET for a book release event for David Whitman’s sweeping history of federal regulation and abuses in the for-profit college sector, The Profits of Failure: For-Profit Colleges and the Closing of the Conservative Mind. 

The webinar, moderated by Danielle Douglas-Gabriel of the Washington Post, will explore what lessons the history of for-profits and attempts to regulate the sector hold for today and what the Biden administration may do to regulate the for-profit sector.

A limited number of copies of The Profits of Failure will be available for free for webinar attendees. Please register to obtain the Zoom link.


  • David Whitman, author, The Profits of Failure


  • Danielle Douglas-Gabriel, national higher education reporter, Washington Post


  • Arne Duncan, managing partner, Emerson Collective
  • Antoinette Flores, managing director, postsecondary education, Center for American Progress
  • Bob Shireman, director, higher education and excellence, The Century Foundation

About the Book

Whitman’s book, four years in the making, traces the saga of how for-profit colleges have saddled millions of students of color, veterans, single mothers, and displaced workers with worthless degrees and credentials dating back to the days of World War II and the G.I. Bill. Whitman will outline the surprising history of for-profit regulation—including Republican and Democrat political reversals on holding for-profit schools accountable for performance with taxpayer dollars; the unyielding cycle of scandal in the for-profit sector; and the stunning abandonment by conservatives today of honest assessment of career colleges’ strengths and shortcomings.

About the Author 

Whitman previously was chief speechwriter for Education Secretary Duncan and the author of the 2008 prize-winning book, Sweating the Small Stuff, an account of six high-performing urban school models that dramatically narrowed achievement gaps. Prior to that, he covered social policy for U.S. News for nearly two decades and freelanced widely for the Atlantic, Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal, among other publications.