Home Articles Job Search The Case Against For-Profit Colleges

For-profit education schools, also known as career or vocational schools, have become increasingly popular in recent years as an alternative to traditional colleges and universities. However, for-profit education schools have come under scrutiny for their high costs, low graduation rates, and questionable business practices. In this article, we will explore the downsides of for-profit education schools.

High Costs

For-profit education schools are often significantly more expensive than traditional colleges and universities. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average annual tuition at a for-profit education school in 2017-2018 was $16,000, compared to $6,800 at a public four  year college and $34,000 at a private four-year college. These high costs can lead to significant student loan debt for students who attend for-profit education schools.

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Low Graduation Rates

For-profit education schools have significantly lower graduation rates than traditional colleges and universities. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the six-year graduation rate at for-profit education schools in 2017 was 23%, compared to 58% at public four year colleges and 66% at private nonprofit four-year colleges. These low graduation rates can leave students without a degree and with significant student loan debt.

Questionable Business Practices

For-profit education schools have been criticized for their business practices, including aggressive marketing tactics and questionable recruitment practices. Some for-profit education schools have been
accused of targeting vulnerable populations, such as low-income and minority students, and pressuring them into enrolling in programs they may not be able to afford or that may not lead to meaningful

Lack of Accreditation

For-profit education schools may not have the same level of accreditation as traditional colleges and universities. Accreditation is a process in which an external organization evaluates a school's curriculum, faculty, and facilities to ensure that they meet certain standards. Accreditation is important because it can affect a student's ability to transfer credits to another school, pursue certain careers, or obtain financial aid. For-profit education schools may have national accreditation, which is less rigorous than regional accreditation, or may not be accredited at all.

Limited Career Opportunities

For-profit education schools may not provide students with the same level of career opportunities as traditional colleges and universities. According to a report by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, students who earned a certificate or degree from a for-profit education school in 2010-2011 were less likely to be employed in their field of study than those who earned a certificate or degree from a public or private nonprofit institution. This can leave students with limited career prospects and can make it difficult for them to repay their student loans.

For-profit education schools have several downsides, including high costs, low graduation rates, questionable business practices, lack of accreditation, and limited career opportunities. While for-profit education schools may be an option for some students, it is important to carefully consider these downsides and compare them to the advantages of traditional colleges and universities before making a decision. Students should also research their options and choose a school that has a strong reputation, high graduation rates, and a proven track record of success.

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