Mark J. Brenner

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Template:BLP primary sources Template:Essay-like Template:Unbalanced oooh, orphan Mark J. Brenner is an American executive businessman in the higher education industry. He is best known in the media for defending the for-profit education industry and suing Sallie Mae in 2002 over the issue of student loan consolidation.

Brenner is currently the senior vice president at the Apollo Education Group, the company that owns the University of Phoenix.[1] He directs and manages external communications, government affairs, public relations and community investment.[2]

Defending the for-profit education industry

In the media, Brenner is best known as the public face of the University of Phoenix and an assertive defender of the university and for-profit education institutions.

In June 2015, The Center for Investigative Reporting requested an on-camera interview with University of Phoenix officials. In an email that became public, Brenner criticized the center for its earlier reporting about the enrollment of military veterans at the university. Brenner wrote:[3]

"After risking life and limb defending the very freedom your storytellers enjoy in weaving their false narrative, military students earned the benefits afforded them under the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill., and have chosen to pursue their education at University of Phoenix. They do not deserve the slights, the belittled commentary and demeaning polemic inherent in your Center’s stories. Against steep odds, their hard work, resilience, and educational accomplishments should be celebrated, not questioned."

In response to criticism in a local Illinois publication, Brenner wrote an opinion article in the publication:[4]

I invite readers and letter writers to consider our work at Apollo before engaging in a misinformed, ad hominem debate about the role of for-profit higher education in this country and the ways in which it is regulated by federal and state governmental bodies.

On July 30, 2012, The Hill newspaper published an opinion article written by Brenner. In the article, he wrote that the University of Phoenix and for-profit colleges provide higher education for the 70 percent of America's students that the U.S. Department of Education classifies as "non-traditional." Non-traditional students are those for whom a traditional four year-university does not work. Brenner wrote that the University of Phoenix provides a path to a college degree for those non-traditional students. Examples he wrote include working parents, men and women returning from the military, and people who are the first to go to college in their family.[5]

Sallie Mae lawsuit over student loan consolidation

Before working for the University of Phoenix, Brenner worked as the executive vice president, chief legal officer and chief spokesman at the College Loan Corporation (CLC), a private sector education lender with $10 billion in student loan assets.[6] He was responsible for oversight over the company's government relations, compliance and regulatory programs.[2]

In 2002, CLC filed a federal lawsuit against Sallie Mae. Brenner led the lawsuit. Brenner and CLC charged Sallie Mae with trying to force student loan holders with staying with Sallie Mae instead of having the choice to consolidate their loans with another lender.[7] Additionally, CLC alleged that Sallie Mae broke the law by enticing colleges with free software in exchange for colleges steering students to lenders that sell loans back to Sallie Mae. CLC sought an injunction and $200 million in damages.[8]

At trial, Sallie Mae won the lawsuit in a jury verdict in June 2003 in the Eastern District of Virginia. However, Brenner and CLC appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth District. Brenner filed a brief in the appeals case, where the appeals court judges vacated and remanded the ruling of the trial court.[9]


After high school, Brenner attended Siena College where he earned a B.A. in political science. He earned his law degree from Albany Law School.[1]

Brenner's career has been focused in the education industry. He has held positions at:[1]

  • College Loan Corporation
  • Fernwood Capital Management
  • Marshall Morgan LLC
  • William R. Hough & Co.
  • Education Finance Committee
  • U.S. House of Representatives, Education and Workforce Committee
  • U.S. Senate, Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs
  • New York state senator and majority leader Ralph Mariano (R-NY)

Brenner also serves on the board of trustees for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America[1] and the board of directors of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry.[10]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Management Team". Retrieved 5 January 2016. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Mark Brenner: Executive Profile & Biography". Bloomberg L.P.. Retrieved 5 January 2016. 
  3. Email from Mark Brenner to The Center for Investigative Reporting. 10 June 2015. Archived at Retrieved 5 January 2016.
  4. Brenner, Mark (2 December 2014). "Criticism of Cappelli and Apollo was uninformed". Wednesday Journal of Oak Park and River Forest. 
  5. Brenner, Mark (30 July 2012). "Misleading the public about University of Phoenix". The Hill. 
  6. "Company Information". Retrieved 5 January 2016. 
  7. "Sallie Mae Rival to Sue Over Loan Consolidation" (in en-US). Los Angeles Times. 16 September 2002. ISSN 0458-3035. 
  8. "Competitor sues Sallie Mae on college loans". The Sunday Gazette. 17 September 2002. 
  9. College Loan Corporation v. SLM Corporation. Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, at Alexandria. James C. Cacheris, Senior District Judge. (CA-02-1377-A). Argued: September 28, 2004. Decided: January 31, 2005. UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT.
  10. "Board of Directors". Retrieved 6 January 2016. 

External links