TOE THE LINE: David Halperin at The Huffington Post reports that Quad Partners, a New York private equity firm that invests in for-profit colleges and higher-ed tech companies, has purchased a majority interest in Inside Higher Ed (IHE). The deal happened in November 2014 and terms have not been disclosed. A Quad Partner joined the board.
The deal raises inevitable questions over potential conflicts of interest: IHE has been a dogged watchdog of for-profit colleges. Will the publication be able to continue its objective reporting with a for-profit college investor owning a controlling share? IHE editor, Doug Lederman told HuffPo that “at the insistence of IHE, the purchase agreement includes a clause that precludes Quad Partners from any involvement in editorial operations.”
Halperin also quotes Lederman pointing out the proof will be in the coverage: "Our credibility is hugely important to us, and ultimately it will rise or fall on the nature and tenor of our coverage," Lederman said.
So far, so good. Since the deal, the publication has continued coverage on highly-criticized, for-profit higher-ed institutions like Corinthian Colleges. Halperin has also raised questions about conflicts of interest over for-profit college coverage at the Washington Post.