Monday, November 29, 2010

For Profit Colleges - Scathing Report from EdTrust

The Education Trusts released a scathing report on online colleges entitled Subprime Opportunity:  The Unfulfilled Promise of For-Profit Colleges and Universities. WARNING:  there is absolutely no attempt at providing any other view point in this report.  This report strictly serves to bash the entire industry without looking for any positives at all. 

First - they use percentages to show the dramatic growth in for-profits as an astronomical 236% over the last 10 years. This is not surprising since the industry barely existed 10 years ago and the reputation back then was awful.  Second - they don't even try to find schools that are doing right by students and are offering lower costs.

However there is some good data in the the report - mainly the graduation rate and average debt. 

Phoenix Online University has a graduation rate of 5% - this is HORRENDOUS and deserves their scorn. Since they have the greatest numbers of students and the lowest graduation rate, they are bringing down the for-profit graduation rate. 

Second - the median debt for bachelor's degrees is as follows:
  • Public:  $7,960
  • Private, Non-Profit:  $17,040
  • For Profit:  $31,190 
OK - that stinks and should not be that high.  For Profit Universities can, and should be doing things that help students reduce costs.  And there are programs that are - like American University System schools which provide degree programs at significantly less costs than most public schools.

So - a little balance would be nice.  But the balance can't hide the dismal track record so far - for-profits need to wake up and smell the metrics!