Teacher ed goes online (and mostly for-profit)

Online teacher education is booming,reports USA Today, which has been crunching U.S. Education Department data.

Virtually unknown a decade ago, big online teacher education programs now dwarf their traditional competitors, outstripping even the largest state university teachers’ colleges.

. . .  four big universities, operating mostly online, have quickly become the largest education schools in the USA. Last year the four — three of which are for-profit — awarded one in 16 bachelor’s degrees and post-graduate awards and nearly one in 11 advanced education awards, including master’s degrees and doctorates.

A decade ago, in 2001, the for-profit University of Phoenix awarded 72 education degrees to teachers, administrators and other school personnel through its online program, according to federal data. Last year, it awarded nearly 6,000 degrees, more than any other university.

Most new teachers earn bachelor’s degrees in education at traditional colleges, such as Arizona State, the nation’s leader. “But online schools such as Phoenix and Walden University awarded thousands more master’s degrees than even the top traditional schools, all of which are pushing to offer online coursework.”

Of course, if districts stopped paying teachers more for master’s degrees, the master’s market would collapse.

For-profit colleges, hit hard by the Harkin report for high tuition and low graduation rates, do no worse than public colleges and universities that admit all applicants, a defender argues.

Harkin report hits for-profit colleges

For-profit colleges turn out students with “debt but no degree”, charges a report by Sen. Tom Harkin’s committee. Federal student aid and loans has fueled the rapid growth of the for-profit sector, which enrolls many low-income, minority and older students.

Judge strikes ‘gainful employment’ rule

Parts of the Education Department’s “gainful employment” rule are invalid, a federal judge has ruled. The for-profit colleges’ trade association had challenged the rule, which could cut off student loan eligibility to vocational programs whose graduates don’t earn enough to pay off their loans.

Also on Community College Spotlight: High school graduates and their parents are increasingly wary of high college costs, guidance counselors say. More students are starting at community college or living at home to save money.

College for some?

Do too many young people go to college? If so, who shouldn’t go?

Also on Community College Spotlight:  Five percent of job-training programs, all at for-profit colleges, have failed the Education Department’s new “gainful employment” rules. Eventually, students won’t be able to use federal grants or loans to attend career colleges whose graduates have high default rates and low earnings.

What for-profit colleges do right

Two-year for-profit colleges do a good job graduating disadvantaged students with vocational certificates and associate degrees.

Community colleges are going online to provide job training.

California considers two-tier tuition

A California Democrat wants to authorize community colleges to charge more for technical and job training classes that cost more to provide. If the public colleges don’t expand capacity, he argues, students will turn to even more expensive for-profit colleges.

What’s the community colleges’ niche?

Community colleges’ should focus on general education and let for-profit colleges handle vocational training, writes a dean.

An advocacy group for community colleges is honest — brutally honest — about their failings, but can community colleges improve?

The high cost of low tuition

Community college students pay a high cost for low tuition. Some are going to for-profit colleges which charge much more but don’t put would-be students on wait lists.

Can public colleges learn from for-profits?

Community colleges should learn from two-year for-profit career colleges, which have nearly triple the graduation rate, argue analysts. No way, responds a community college chancellor.

Board: 2-tier tuition is ‘Robin Hood’ plan

Robin Hood was the model for Santa Monica College‘s plan to charge higher tuition for added classes, say members of the very liberal college board. Those who could afford it would pay more, opening up space in budget-priced classes for low-income students.

Low tuition is no bargain if colleges can’t meet student demand, an analyst argues. If community colleges charged enough to fund sufficient classes, students wouldn’t be turning to high-cost for-profit colleges that don’t put students on a wait list.