Journalism in the Public Interest


Sharona Coutts

Sharona Coutts was a reporter at ProPublica. She graduated with honors from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in 2008. Prior to that, she worked at Australia’s leading investigative radio program, Background Briefing, at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Coutts worked as a producer and reporter at the ABC on and off from 2002 to 2007 while pursuing a law degree. She clerked for a justice of the High Court of Australia in 2005.


How You Can Use Our ‘Opportunity Gap’ Project in Your Reporting

Here’s our guide on how to use our project on educational opportunities, including instructions on how to share your findings from within the app.

Some States Still Leave Low-Income Students Behind; Others Make Surprising Gains

A ProPublica analysis shows Florida stands out where many other states, like Kansas, fall short.

Charter Schools Outsource Education to Management Firms, With Mixed Results

Relying on private companies has often created its own set of problems for charter schools. Some school boards have sued, citing subpar student results and a lack of transparency.

Help Our Ongoing Coverage of the For-Profit College Industry

House Passes Amendment to Block Funding of Oversight Measure for For-Profit Schools

Representatives who sponsored the amendment also received campaign contributions from the career college industry.

Recruiter’s Experience at one For-Profit University Suggests Reform Efforts Will Face Hurdles

In four months as an enrollment counselor at Grand Canyon University, Ryan Richardson says he was instructed to sign up prospective students using practices criticized by regulators and lawmakers.

For-Profit Colleges Rake in Millions From Post-9/11 G.I. Bill

The University of Phoenix Online tops the list of schools receiving money from the Post 9-/11 G.I. Bill in its first year. Overall, for-profit colleges collected $640 million from the bill. Public colleges and universities received $697 million but the money went to more than twice as many students.

For-Profit Schools Donate to Lawmakers Opposing New Financial Aid Rules

House members seeking to stop proposed regulations on financial aid to for-profit schools have gotten increased donations from the for-profit sector.

For-Profit Schools Open Campaign Checkbooks

Update: Researcher on For-Profit Schools Says She Disclosed Tie to Investment Firm

Bogus ‘Obama Mom’ Grants Lure Students

Ads promoting "Obama mom" grants are luring students to colleges and universities even though federal education officials say such grants don't exist.

Investment Funds Stir Controversy Over Recruiting by For-Profit Colleges

Investment funds have been seeking to increase opposition for some for-profit college practices, possibly to aid in the short-selling of those colleges’ stocks.

Working as a Recruiter at For-Profit University?

Setting the Record Straight on Our Student Default Rate Story

Important points were inaccurate in an article about loans for students at for-profit colleges.

University of Phoenix Settles Suit Over Recruitment Practices

Chart: Three-Year Default Rates on Student Loans

Real Student Default Rates Much Higher Than Previously Known

As much as half of the money lent to students attending for-profit colleges and universities will never be repaid, an Education Department projection says.

Share Your Experiences as a Student at For-Profit Colleges

Prominent Political Fundraiser Pleads Guilty in N.Y. Pension Scandal

Elliott Broidy admitted bribing pension staffers in return for investments in his fund.

AIG May Soon Lose Crown as Biggest Bailout Debtor

AIG shaves $25 billion off its bailout debt, leaving only $62 million to go.