If you’re considering applying to a degree program at a for-profit college, or you’re currently enrolled in one, there are key factors to consider and important steps to take to ensure you get the most out of your education.
Possible Benefits of a For-Profit College
1. Flexible Scheduling
For-profit colleges often offer flexible class schedules, including evening, weekend, and online classes, giving students the ability to work around job or family commitments.
Many degree program curriculums are designed to prepare students for specific careers, with a focus on practical and industry-specific skills.
3. Fast Progress
Some schools grant accelerated degree programs that allow students to complete their education quickly, potentially saving time and money.
Many for-profit schools operate across multiple campus locations with diverse online programs, making education accessible for students who don't live near other colleges or urban areas.
1. Student Debt
Students at for-profit schools have reported high levels of student loan debt and repayment issues. The Brookings Institution found that in 2021, for-profit schools enrolled 10% of all college students and accounted for half of all student loan defaults.
2. Quality of Education
Assessments of learning outcomes have led to questions about educational value and how for-profit colleges invest in their students. A Century Foundation study found that for every tuition dollar it collects, the average for-profit school spends just 29 cents on student instruction compared with 84 cents at private colleges and $1.42 at public universities.
3. Recruitment and Marketing
Critics argue that marketing and recruitment practices and low admissions criteria have led to inflated expectations for applicants and students feeling uninformed about educational challenges and job prospects. A The Best Schools report found that for-profit schools spend roughly $400 per student on ads, while public school spend $14 per student.
4. Regulatory Scrutiny
Some for-profit schools been investigated by regulatory agencies and faced legal challenges over issues related to accreditation, marketing, and limited career opportunities for graduates. The Department of Education has taken steps in recent years to address these issues.
5. Transferring Credits
Students have reported difficulties transferring course credits earned from for-profit schools to other institutions, potentially limiting their educational and career options.
6. Tuition Costs
For-profit college tuition costs have been criticized for being excessively high, leading to high levels of student debt.
Find the Right School for You
Whether you’re considering pursuing a degree at a for-profit, non-profit, or state university, getting all the information is essential to making the most of your education and ensuring you graduate with the most professional opportunities possible. Do your research and gather all the facts. Visit the admissions office and speak to an admissions counselor. Ask about student support, curriculum, dropout rates, educational approach, costs, and graduation rates, and compare what you learn to other education and professional options.
Know Before You Go
Studying at a for-profit college may be an effective way to meet your educational goals. However, with any school, it’s important to be aware of potential opportunities, challenges, benefits, and risks, with an eye toward your educational outlook. With the enormous financial, professional, and personal investment you’re looking at, getting all the facts is critical. Visit the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard to find information on for-profit and non-profit colleges’ graduation rates, cost, and average salaries of graduates.
Get the Most from Your Education
If you’re currently pursuing a degree, don’t settle for anything less than the best possible academic and professional support. See what tutoring and mentorship resources are available. If your school has a career office, speak with a career counselor. Find professors and/or administrators who will encourage your academic growth and be reliable advocates for you. Take full advantage of all the resources available and request personal attention in preparing yourself for your post-graduate career.