College profits

This story answers a question that’s puzzled me for years: Why does anyone pay hefty tuition at a for-profit college when there are much cheaper public colleges and universities? Time is money. From the Los Angeles Daily News.

Marcos Valdivia, 34, of Burbank, considered going to California State University, Northridge, for his accounting degree, but instead chose DeVry University.

“I knew students who went (to Cal State Northridge) and it was taking them seven years to graduate and the classes were very big,” Valdivia said. He added that it only took him a year and a half to complete his bachelor’s degree at DeVry after getting his associate’s degree at another school.

Even though tuition at for-profit schools is more expensive than at Cal State schools — about $11,000 a year versus $2,000 — many students said they were prepared to pay more or take out loans to attend the for-profits so they could graduate more quickly and join the work force earlier.

Employers no longer look down on graduates of for-profits, says the Daily News.

About Joanne


  1. My father runs a for-profit technical school. It competes against (essentially) free government run technical schools, and costs 18k.

    The difference between his school and the others? Smaller classes, lower dropout rate, much better placement rate (97%, overall), help finding a job in the field for the rest of your life, a one year program instead of 2, no classes outside the program to take.

    People who’ve graduated from there all seem to be very pleased with the choice they’ve made.

    This doesn’t translate well into a non-technical field, though.

  2. I got my MBA from a for-profit school. The main reasons were:

    -The state school had all sorts of hoops they wanted me to jump through. When I took a summer class there I had to travel all over a large campus and was hassled by a bunch of different offices by people who seemed to resent that the students were bothering them by signing up for classes. At the for-profit school I wrote a check and I got a packet with everything in it, parking, library card, student fees paid. The for-profit school was very helpful and freindly.

    -The for-profit school had successful industry people teaching the courses. I learned telecommunications from the VP of a Fortune 500 telecommunications company. I had a Strategic Marketing course taught by a Senior Partner of a major marketing firm. My statistics class was taught by a professional statistician. The state school offered classes taught by Ph.D.’s who had little or no industry experience.

    -The company I was working for offered tuition reimbursement for a large portion of the tuition so the cost difference out of my pocket was not as extreme as it otherwise would have been.

  3. Employers no longer look down on graduates of non-profits

    You mean that graduates of state schools now look better to employers than they did in the past? That would seem to be a strike against the for-profits.

  4. “Employers no longer look down on graduates of non-profits”

    Don’t you mean for-profits?

  5. Yes, I mean for profits. I’ll fix it.

  6. I’ve been researching a policy paper on college athletics, and one statement that amused me greatly was the NCAA president’s definition of the “collegiate model”–he said that the collegiate model was based on education, not profit. This should strike people as odd. There’s no axiomatic dichotomy between education and profit. Yet many people think this way. In this respect, government schooling has accomplished one of its main objectives.

  7. PJ/Maryland says:

    Along the lines of Ross’ comments, a friend of mine wanted to get his graduate degree at UCLA but couldn’t get the classes he needed in the evenings. He needed to keep working, so UCLA ended up not being an option he could afford, for all that the tuition was cheaper.

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