Fail State Documentary News

Latest news and updates on Fail State, an investigative documentary on for-profit colleges, student loan debt, and American higher education. Executive produced by news legend and journalist Dan Rather.

12/4/17 - Alex sits down with The Chronicle of Higher Education


"‘Fail State’ Confronts For-Profits and Laments the Disinvestment in Publics" by Lee Gardner

Fail State's director Alex Shebanow recently sat down with The Chronicle Senior Reporter Lee Gardner to discuss Fail State, Alex's personal attachment to community colleges, and higher-education financial aid 2.0.

Here's the opening: 

"Alex Shebanow is an unlikely scourge of for-profit education. He’s not an academic or a professional policy wonk. He isn’t even 30 yet. But as director of the new documentary film Fail State, he goes after for-profit colleges with a ferocity that belies an otherwise gentle demeanor.

Mr. Shebanow’s directorial debut tells two stories that will be at least somewhat familiar to anyone who works in higher education: the rise of the for-profit sector and state disinvestment in public institutions. By combining those two narratives, the film illuminates a third: the ebb and flow of federal policy that has, at times, enabled both. The most memorable characters are the students he interviews, who have racked up tens of thousands of dollars in debt to go to for-profit colleges and say they paid for worthless credentials. Several tell stories of being manipulated and duped by recruiters. Mr. Shebanow didn’t intend to take on for-profit higher education, but the "unconscionable" practices of many institutions seized his interest."

Read the whole interview here (paywall):