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.

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 Open Campaign Checkbooks

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

House members who signed letters asking for an end to new financial aid regulations covering for-profit schools also received nearly $94,000 from the for-profit college sector in the first seven months of this year.

Bogus 'Obama Mom' Grants Lure Students

With the availability of billions in new federal grants for financially needy students, some marketers are targeting "Obama moms" with ads that education officials call misleading.

Investment Funds Stir Controversy Over Recruiting by For-Profit Colleges

Investment funds have been supporting opposition to for-profit schools, and even aiding it, possibly in hopes of profiting if those colleges’ stock prices suffer.

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. Default rates at nonprofit schools are far lower.

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

The GOP’s former finance chairman admitted bribing state pension officials with $1 million in trips, cash and gifts in return for $250 million for his investment fund.

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