DIGGING DEEPER: Transfer college struggling financially

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) –Less than one week after Harrison College abruptly turned off the lights, ABC21’s Digging Deeper team uncovered new details about the school Harrison is now directing its former students to, National American University.

On Harrison College’s website, the now defunct for-profit school says NAU, also a for-profit institution, is “Harrison College’s preferred transfer institution with Indiana”.

As it turns out, NAU is struggling financially, but still paying its upper brass plenty.

As a publicly traded company, NAU reported plummeting revenues over the past four years from nearly $128 million dollars in 2014, to less than 48 million this year. Steep paychecks to its corner offices aren’t helping the bottom line.

Records filed with the SEC show National American University paid its CEO, Ronald Shape, nearly $930,000 dollars in 2014.

Shape’s salary has steadily gone down since then, to a reported $469,000 last year. The decrease, mostly due to the tumbling value of his stock awards, which topped $500,000 in 2014, but crashed to just $151,000 last year.

Even at $469,000, Shape’s salary is significantly more than double the average salary for the CEO of a community college, which comes in at $185,000.

NAU doesn’t just pay its current CEO’s well, former CEO Jerry Gallentine, now on the board of directors, earned $146,000 last year.

The compensation includes over $5,000 for use of a company plane and nearly $4,000 in country club dues.

Other board members earn less than half that amount.

Earlier this week our Digging Deeper team reported that NAU is named in a federal lawsuit.

A former university official says NAU unlawfully gave workers bonuses for recruiting students, lied to the government about the source of its profits, and bilked american taxpayers out of millions of dollars in student aid, deceiving accrediting agencies.

If a judge finds the for-profit school is guilty of committing fraud, the Department of Education can shut the school down.

The case remains in its early stages.

Daniel Beals

Daniel Beals

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