Effectively Managed Higher Education Case 4 – The U.S. Department of Education Led Debt Collection, Higher Education Financing and Delivery Problems and Solution Alternatives

Anti-Extortion Combined with Pro-Higher Education Improvement

Effectively Managed Higher Education Case 4 focuses on exploring the U.S. Department of Education led debt collection, higher education financing and delivery problems and solution alternatives.

The Effectively Managed Higher Education Case 4 grew out from Anti-Extortion Case 1, but the Effectively Managed Higher Education Case 4 differs from the three anti-extortion cases presented on this website so far.

The Anti-Extortion Cases featured on this website focus on describing problematic circumstances and some of their handling options. The Effectively Managed Higher Education Case 4 will focus on exploring and identifying problem areas and their corresponding solution alternatives.

Thus, the Effectively Managed Higher Education Case 4 scope is broader, and this case is both against continuation of problem causing practices, and for implementation of improved solutions.


Case Summary

The Department of Education led higher education delivery, financing and debt collection are inter-related. In the U.S., each of these areas experiences significant problems.

In order to examine the Department of Education led debt collection related problems and solution alternatives constructively, we have to identify and explore higher education delivery and financing problems and solution alternatives as well.

Accordingly, the Effectively Managed Higher Education Case 4 (“EffectiveHigherED Case 4”) addresses a broad range of very complex areas that do not have easy answers.

In each of these areas the initial focus is going to be relatively narrow. As more people join EffectiveHigherED Case 4, the scope of this Case may be broadened as well.

In order to find solutions to the problems, we have to identify the problems and groups of people who are affected by them, and examine solution options, so that we can contribute to finding realistic solution alternatives. Denying the problems or trying to cover them up will not help in this context.

Further, in order to make this work meaningful, the objective is to work toward finding realistic solutions that actually can be implemented.

Similarly, in order to make the relevant efforts meaningful, the objective is to identify and to support these companies, organizations and political candidates who most likely can be expected to make constructive changes in the areas that EffectiveHigherED Case 4 addresses. Good intentions and rhetoric alone are insufficient agents of change that can be expected to improve people’s lives. Ability and willingness to explore different alternatives, in combination with setting and achieving objectives and goals constructively is needed for implementing improvements in reality. That is easier said than done.

EffectiveHigherED Case 4 objectives and scope are further defined below.

EffectiveHigherED Case 4 Objectives and Scope

In addition to addressing selected debt collection related areas, EffectiveHigherED Case 4 initial intended focus is higher education delivery related solutions exploring. In this area, the initial objective is to identify the most effective combinations of e-learning and traditional, instructor led learning environments.

From there, the focus is expected to expand to higher education financing related solutions exploring.

From there, the focus is expected to move again to debt collection related areas.

Effective is a goal-oriented word that means having the power to produce, and being successful in producing, the desired effect or results.

In general terms, EffectiveHigherED Case 4 underlying basic principle is that different aspects of higher education should produce more value to the stakeholders than they consume resources. Accordingly, EffectiveHigherED Case 4 primary objective is to identify solutions that allow producing such value.

  • In higher education delivery related areas the initial objective is to evaluate self-managed, computer managed, and instructor managed learning environments features and benefits.
  • In higher education financing related areas the objective is to evaluate requirements and options, and identify resources that are likely to yield benefits to both lenders and borrowers.
  • In higher education debt collection related areas the objective is to evaluate infrastructure components and alternatives that reasonably can be expected to function cost-effectively and fairly both from lenders and borrowers perspective.
  • Further, the objective is to evaluate options for producing conditions where the Department of Education, for as long as it remains in actual or alleged debt owner’s position:
  • operates both cost-effectively and by collecting only on the debt for which it has complete legally binding ownership documentation,
  • operates by following consumer protection laws, and
  • operates by resolving debt validation requests within a pre-determined period of time by following publicly available criteria and by using its own labor resources without demanding that a former student loan applicant must work on the debt validation case,
  • operates with integrity and without issuing misleading statements for the sake of monetary gain, and
  • operates by following common law and commercial law (Uniform Commercial Code) regarding its responsibilities and promissory note and contract requirements.
  • Based on my personal experience I can say that such U.S. Department of Education does not exist at this point in time.

The above entails rather different higher education delivery, financing and debt collection infrastructures than this country has now. Perfection, where everybody is happy with everything, is not an objective. In accordance with what is stated above, the overall objective is to produce concepts and models that realistically can be expected to produce more value to the stakeholders than they consume resources.

EffectiveHigherED Case 4 Supporters and Members

Any individual can indicate that he or she supports EffectiveHigherED Case 4. EffectiveHigherED Case 4 supporters can remain anonymous and do not have to fulfill the membership requirements listed below.

EffectiveHigherED Case 4 membership is subject to approval by existing members. Each EffectiveHigherED Case 4 member candidate must use his or her real name and has to identify himself or herself personally and professionally. Identification involves creating a profile page on StopExtortion.org that includes information that helps website visitors to identify the member candidate personally and professionally. From the profile page links must be created to other personal websites, such as Facebook, and professional websites, such as LinkedIn. All of the relevant web pages must contain sufficient and verifiable information about the EffectiveHigherED Case 4 member candidate. Pages that contain only default data do not fulfill these requirements.

Each EffectiveHigherED Case 4 member’s identity will be verified.

EffectiveHigherED Case 4 members are expected to work actively toward achieving EffectiveHigherED Case 4 objectives.

Next Steps

EffectiveHigherED Case 4 combines enormously broad areas. However, even projects that contain seemingly overwhelming amounts of content and work can be managed. In addition, such projects can be managed and developed further even by one person. The relevant project management processes involve identification of the objectives and goals, and the ways to reach the objectives and goals by also considering resource needs and availabilities, and by breaking down the necessary milestones into individual smaller steps, while also building into the processes enough room for flexibility. A big project can take a lot of time and work, but a lot is also doable.

The Anti-Extortion Cases published on this website so far have been for the most part single person’s undertakings. I did put up StopExtortion.org website, but from interaction perspective that was a passive act. So far I haven’t even tried to reach out to other people in an active manner.

With EffectiveHigherED Case 4 I will first build a foundation for a solid project. Thereafter, I will reach out to other people, companies and organizations.

As is stated above, in order to find solutions to the problems, we have to identify the problems and groups of people who are affected by them, and examine solution options, so that we can contribute to finding realistic solution alternatives.

From there, we can identify the necessary individual areas of research and corresponding projects.

At that point onward, different people can work in a coordinated manner on separate projects that will be combined into coherent outcomes. Further, individual participants can use the outcomes of the projects for their personal and professional benefit as they see fit.

Personal Aspects

On a personal note I must add that my battle continues against the unvalidated and unreasonable monetary demands made by the U.S. Department of Education. However, instead of focusing only on the negative, with the development of EffectiveHigherED Case 4 project I choose to spend my time and energy on both exploring the problems and on developing constructive and effective solutions that can form realistic alternatives to the higher education delivery, financing and debt collection infrastructures that are currently dominantly used.

This project may go on for many years. In the process, EffectiveHigherED will provide the vehicle for moving forward, and the unvalidated and unreasonable monetary demands made by the Department of Education will fuel my energy.

From my personal perspective, the following basic principles are applicable to EffectiveHigherED case: develop better solutions, never give up just because of difficulties, and name and shame when appropriate.

  • I am a project developer by nature and, accordingly, I will explore both problems and their solutions.
  • I expect that there will be many obstacles on the road over the years. As long as I am subject to extortion, I will not give up working on exposing the extortionists.
  • In addition, I will name and shame the people and institutions that are responsible for creating misery by either lack of leadership and ability to implement constructive solutions, or by having introduced measures that create problems.

I have previous experience with a project that seemingly exceeds one person’s abilities. Putting together CreativityModel Method creativity management method was another long-term project that took years of independent work, and exploration of large volume of materials and new areas and territories.

Further, based on my experience I can consider CreativityModel Method to be programmable, and that can benefit EffectiveHigherED Case 4 project as well. CreativityModel Method’s principles allow to build into computer applications functionality that help the users to make decisions and to put together coherent output (for example, study plans, career development plans and other kinds of projects). This is one aspect that is missing from the generations of MOOCs invented so far.

EffectiveHigherED Case 4 project combines several of my personal and professional interests. I am mentioning this here, because my background can benefit this project.

It is very likely, that I will be a lifelong learner. Most of the learning that I have done so far has taken place in self-managed education environment. So, I have lots of experience and a genuine interest in the relevant areas.

I attended college couple of decades ago. After graduating from college, I was in (international) business for a few years. Thereafter I became interested in IT and learned relevant skills on my own. Every job that I have had from that time on, I have had because of the skills that I learned on my own after graduating from college.

As database application developer I am very good at what I do, because my experience combines on expert level skills from diverse areas like project management, business analysis, business requirements documentation writing, application architecture development, programming, usability engineering and user interface development, back end and front end objects development and user training. Most IT people do not have such diverse expertise and hands-on experience.

Thus, I have learned the value of having a broad and complementary skill sets and areas of knowledge.

I have never taken any IT classes or courses, though. None so far.

On a self-taught MBA level I am familiar with different business management areas and concepts and I continue to learn more. In combination with my web design experience and interest in information design, this helps me to produce good quality management reporting results.

I value professional growth opportunities and am also studying for CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) Level 1 exam.

The premium study package that I bought from Schweser contains both DVD based and online classes and exams, in addition to more traditional books and study materials. This experience helps me to evaluate on a personal level the effectiveness of on-demand and e-learning options.

As I develop further the EffectiveHigherED Case 4 project, I expect to examine variety of other e-learning resources as well. Of course, I will also examine other people’s opinions on the relevant subject matters.

I have to mention here that learning for me does not come easily. I have to put lots of continuous efforts into the process, for it to be successful. However, I consider these efforts to be worthwhile.

So, I can emphasize with people who struggle to learn new material. Further, over the years I have learned techniques that help to succeed despite of the difficulties.

I intend to use these different interests and aspects of my background for the benefit of EffectiveHigherED Case 4 project.

Thomas Eklund


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