In Senate Floor Speech, Durbin Calls Out Nefarious For-Profit Operator Dr. Arthur Keiser For His Conflict Of Interest As Chair Of NACIQI

Durbin and Senators Brown and Warren send letter urging the Department of Education to scrutinize Dr. Keiser’s conflict of interest

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) delivered a speech on the Senator floor calling out Dr. Arthur Keiser for his consistent underhanded dealings that include his questionable nonprofit conversion of Keiser University, his ownership of the for-profit Southeastern College, and his chairmanship of the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI). NACIQI serves as the Department of Education’s federal advisory board that approves the accreditors who act as gatekeepers of federal student dollars. During his long tenure of unethical leadership, Dr. Keiser has presented major conflicts of interest.


“Imagine that one of the leading architects of this fraudulent industry was chosen to be one of its watchdogs by the federal government. Well, that’s the situation we have today. Dr. Arthur Keiser, who embodies the worst of the for-profit industry, is the chairman of the board of for-profit Southeastern College. He’s also chancellor and CEO of Keiser University, a so-called ‘non-profit’ university that he converted from for-profit status in the year 2011. This so-called conversion to ‘non-profit’ is misleading. The overlap between Southeastern College and Keiser University is well-established… And IRS filings show that executives at Keiser University—a supposedly non-profit school—are paid hundreds of thousands of dollars each year,” Durbin said.


Durbin pointed out a direct correlation between removing Dr. Keiser from the NACIQI and better outcomes for students looking for quality education.


“Dr. Keiser has already demonstrated questionable conduct as the Chair of NACIQI – namely, protecting his own interests at the expense of students and taxpayers…just last year, Dr. Keiser was forced to recuse himself from the review of the Accrediting Commission of Schools and Colleges. Why exactly did he have to recuse himself? Because this organization accredited his college, so it was putting the pressure on him. And in Dr. Keiser’s absence, the other NACIQI members rightly considered student outcomes in determining whether they would continue as an accreditor. But when Dr. Keiser returned from recusal, he chastised those same members for having the gall to prioritize the needs of students,” Durbin explained. 


Durbin went on to discuss his letter with U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). In their letter, Durbin, Brown, and Warren requested the Department of Education to examine Dr. Keiser’s involvement with NACIQI and his conflicts of interest.


“This week, I’m going to lead a letter…requesting the Department of Education finally take a hard look at Arthur Keiser’s chairmanship and his obvious conflict of interests…Time and again, Arthur Keiser has put his own personal priorities over the needs of students and taxpayers he’s supposed to serve. His conflicts of interest have become abundantly clear. And now, it’s time for the Department of Education to put an end to this party,” Durbin said in his floor speech.


In their letter, the Senators wrote, “Considering longstanding concerns over Dr. Keiser’s conflict of interest, self-dealings, and predatory practices – all of which contradict the role and purpose of the NACIQI – we urge additional scrutiny of Dr. Keiser’s record and conduct as NACIQI chair by the Department [of Education] and NACIQI itself.”


A copy of the Senators’ letters is available here.


Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.


Audio of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.


Footage of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here for TV Stations.