Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Online Learning: the good, the bad, the ugly

Bloomberg has a great article about the problems in the for-profit education industry really nailing Kaplan to the wall.  There is also an informative blog on the Quick and the Ed by Ben Miller with a discussion at the bottom by Trace Urdan.

At least the Bloomberg article has some balance - pointing out some people who lover their online degree program along with those where aggressive sales tactics put them in a program that was not right for them.

I have started hearing some of the graduation rates of online universities and the US DOE is right to start asking this question.  It is much lower than the industry average for all universities and must improve.  Drop outs hurt everyone - the student incurs debt without any of the benefit of the degree, the Government pays for nothing in a big way between Pell Grants, college loan defaults and GI Bill and it is wrong.

If schools have to measure and improve their graduation rates, they have to reduce the aggression in recruiting and make sure the person is right for the program. 

As for the 90/10 rules and the rules regarding the ability to repay loans - well that really needs to apply to ALL schools - not just online for-profits.  There are way too many kids graduating from private universities with a ton of debt and a useless degree and no hope of every paying it off.