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Capella University Official Under Investigation

The financial aid director of Minneapolis-based Capella University, an on-line university, came under investigation on Tuesday after the New York Office of the Attorney General discovered an apparent conflict of interest with his position as a college loan official.

The story reported in the Star Tribune was written by Norman Draper. The story reported that the director of financial aid, Timothy C. Lehmann, at Capella University was involved in a possible conflict of interest involving his work at Cappella and for the college loan agency Student Loan Xpress, Inc. The story reported that Lehmann was placed on administrative leave pending the investigation of his actions.

According to a letter sent to Capella by the New York Office of the Attorney General, financial aid director Timothy C. Lehmann is being investigated for doing consulting work for a student lending agency, Student Loan Xpress, Inc. at the same time he was working for Capella.

The story reported that this issue is extremely important when considering the sky-rocketing prices of tuition across the country and the rising number of students across the country going into debt. The story also reported the extent of Lehmann’s involvement with Student Loan Xpress.

According to the letter from the New York Attorney General's office and Capella officials, Lehmann also works on the advisory board of Student Loan Xpress. That, Capella officials say, is an unpaid position.

I think that the biggest issue with this story is getting quotes and making the news seem interesting. In some cases the Capella University officals would not like to comment on an issue such as this. In another case the writer has to get the reader to read the story despite the fact that no court documents have been filed.

A second story ran in the Pioneer Press and was written by Paul Tosto. This story relied on much of the same information as the Draper version. The story reported a much more national view of the event and decided not to spend much time addressing the issue of Lehmann’s involvement.

Nationally, the student loan industry has criticized New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's investigation into lending companies for smearing all schools and lenders because of the problems of a few "bad apples."
On Monday, the company that owns Student Loan Xpress, announced that three top Student Loan Xpress executives had been placed on administrative leave in response to Cuomo's investigation.

Both of these stories were interesting, in a way. They both seemed a little odd but were informative enough to make me feel like I learned something from the article. I thought that the way that Tosto addressed the national concern for the financial difficulty students face was interesting but out of place. The story was supposed to be about what happened at Capella and by focusing so broadly on the national aspect I felt like the story seemed very weird. The Draper version was interesting but really lacked major substance. It felt like Draper was trying to get the story out so quickly that he neglected to do any additional reporting. In consideration of these feelings about these articles I would have to say that I preferred reading the Draper version even though it was a little weird.