Sunday, June 19, 2011

New PajamasMedia Article

The Department of Education Cracks Down on For-Profit Colleges


  1. I've heard a lot of horror stories regarding for-profit colleges. It basically comes down to:

    1.) Enrolling anyone. State colleges may have open admissions, but they'll usually kick out a student if he/she seems absolutely incapable of performing the required work. For-profits have no such compunction.

    2.) Lack of accreditation standards. Some for-profits are regionally accredited, but still may lack individual program accreditation (e.g. a business association accredits business programs, nursing assoc. oversees nursing programs, etc.). For those students who do graduate for-profits, they are usually unable to attend state schools for graduate degrees (and transfers are usually out of the question as well).

    3.) Deceptive advertising. Most for-profits advertise degrees to be Nurse Assistants, not Registered Nurses. There's a huge difference between these two programs. Nurse Assistants won't make much money and the for-profits charge huge amounts for the program. Community colleges offer the same program for far less.

    Bear in mind that all these problems are probably greatest in the less well-known for-profit colleges. A lot of them are little better than fly-by-night operations.

  2. When I read the sentence "These rules require that before students can receive federal grants or student loans at for-profit colleges, graduates of those schools have to be employable in the fields for which they have trained." I didn't quite laugh out loud, but I snorted. Just how are non-profits different from for-profits in this regard?

    Before I graduated with my Bachelor's, I heard a statistical rumor that "90% of students don't work in the major field they graduate with". That's an astounding number! And, of course, the English and History majors would be more than happy to tell you that you might not be able to do anything with those degrees, but they nonetheless prepare you for other things, by honing your writing and thinking skills.

    On the other hand, _alcibiades may be right, that for-profits misrepresent their credentials and their programs. To some degree, this makes me question the entire Credential system...but I don't want to write a long comment about the evils of Credentialism, and what can be done in its place!

  3. Clayton, your point about high school being the place for liberal education is very true. I had to take a literature course in college and took ancient literature in my junior year. I had taken it in high school in ninth grade. I didn't read a single word in the college course, got an A, and the professor thought I was a genius because I simply remembered what I had been taught in high school. Complete waste of time and money...but it was required to graduate.

    @ alcibiades: At least nurse assistant programs only range from 6 weeks to 6 months. Even LPN only lasts a year...assuming you don't fail any courses. (Many high schools now offer both.)

    The number one problem, as just about everyone who is not a Republicrat points out, is government subsidization of education. Unfortunately, almost no one wants to take the best medicine which is the complete decoupling of education and certification, no accreditation, no grants, no oversight, no board of education, and for God's sake, no taxation, and no lottery, and no GI bill (aka delayed compensation that you may not live to collect and no one can inherit).

    And anyone who even suggests a tiny decrease in the rate of increase in funding is demonized as anti-education.