What Brown College said about its gainful-employment data

In my short radio report yesterday, I mentioned that the only Minnesota programs that did not meet the federal Gainful Employment test — meaning they failed to meet all three benchmarks — were three from Brown College in Mendota Heights.

That’s what the data showed, and just to make sure, I ran that by the Minnesota Career College Association, which confirmed it.

The flagged programs: two in criminal justice / safety studies, and one in radio and television.

I wanted to give Brown a chance to talk about it, so I called President Michele Ernst. She sent me an answer by e-mail.

I mentioned a line in the short radio spot I did, but wanted to run it in full here:


We’ve received data from the Department of Education and are working to check it for accuracy.  The data is from 2008, so it doesn’t represent changes we’ve made to our programs since then to better meet job market demands, including altering our Radio and Television associate degree program to only focus on Radio broadcasting.  We regularly evaluate our programs and make adjustments to the curriculum to meet the needs of our graduates and the employers that hire them. While we disagree with the Department of Education’s methodology of trying to equate earnings early in one’s career to the quality of education provided and its benefits over a lifetime, we agree that positive student outcomes are something all schools must strive for.  We will continue showing our commitment to addressing program results, which will benefit our students.

Dr. Michele F. Ernst


Brown College

Minnesota Office of Higher Education policy analyst Tricia Grimes said her office got word that Brown’s two criminal justice programs are no longer taking new students.