Under investigation for falsifying job placement rates, for-profit Corinthian Colleges will sell 85 campuses and close 12 others. The national company runs Everest, WyoTech and Heald career colleges.
For-profit colleges charge $35,000 on average for an associate degree, on average, more than four times the cost at the average community college. Why does anyone choose a for-profit college? Students cite flexibility and convenience. Most use federal student aid to pay the bills.
Graduation rates vary by type of college, because different colleges recruit different types of students. Pew Research looks at how students are doing six years after enrolling in college.
The for-profit colleges enroll older, less-capable students who are much less likely to complete an academic degree, but much more likely to complete a two-year-or-less vocational credential. Community colleges, which also enroll many high-risk students, offer low-success academic programs and higher-success job training.
For now, proposed “gainful employment” regulations are aimed at for-profit colleges and career programs at nonprofits. If too many students in a program default on loans or pile up too much debt relative to income, the feds will cut off student aid. Once the bills start coming in for income-based repayment of student loans, “the government is just going to have to shut down the free money fountain” for all of higher ed, predicts EduBubble.
Community colleges can compete for students with for-profit colleges by studying their strengths, writes a dean who’s worked in both sectors.
Seventy-two percent of for-profit colleges’ career programs “produce graduates who on average earned less than high school dropouts,” said Education Secretary Arne Duncan at a White House news conference. That earned
two “Pinocchios” for lying from the Washington Post’s fact-checker. Essentially, Duncan compares apples to oranges — with a few lemons thrown in — to make for-profit colleges look bad.
Here’s why career-minded students choose for-profit colleges over much cheaper community colleges.
New “gainful employment” rules for student loans are “awful,” ”unfair and discriminatory,” writes Richard Vedder, director of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity. The regulations apply to vocational programs at career colleges (primarily for-profit) and community colleges. If the goal is to stop wasting government money,”why not scrutinize students majoring in, for example, sociology, from Wayne State University?” he asks.
The cost of not going to college is rising, according to a Pew Research Center analysis. Four-year college graduates ages 25 to 32 who are working full time earn about $45,500, while high school-only young adults average $28,000. The $17,500 gap is a record. College graduates aren’t earning much more than they did in 1986, but wages are sliding for workers with only a high school diploma.
For-profit career colleges have much higher graduation rates than community colleges, writes a community college dean who’s worked in both sectors. That’s because for-profit career colleges put job training first.
College completion rates are higher for former “dual enrollment” students who took college-level courses in high school, according to a new report. But that could reflect selection bias.
Overall, six-year completion rates ranged from 40 percent for those who started at community colleges, 63 percent who started at public universities and 73 percent for students who started at four-year private nonprofit institutions. At two-year for-profit colleges, which focus on job training, 62 percent completed a credential.