All master's programs should be treated as for-profit

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by sanantone, Jul 19, 2021.

  1. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    Kevin Carey argues that all master's programs should be treated as for-profit for regulatory purposes.

    1. Some nonprofit schools have hired online program managers, such as 2U, and those companies receive 70% of the tuition.

    2. Students can borrow an unlimited amount with Graduate Plus loans. The government removed limits because interest rates are higher, and graduates of master's programs pay their loans back at a higher rate than those who borrowed for undergraduate programs.

    3. Carey didn't only criticize arts programs; he criticized online, career-oriented master's programs that are 12 months long or shorter.

    4. Almost half of master's students are now online.

    * Interesting tidbit: Harvard's MFA program used to fall under the Obama administration's gainful employment rules.
    JoshD likes this.
  2. JoshD

    JoshD Well-Known Member

    I’d be curious to know how much of the tuition that Coursera and EdX get for the degree programs that are offered through their platform.
  3. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    I know Carey has regulations to promote, but he's tarring schools with far too broad a brush. I'm not going to defend a $300K MFA, but Master's degrees also include some of the best deals in higher education for students. He makes it sound like every Master's degree from every well-known institution is conducted by an OPM or is ruinously expensive, and that's simply untrue.

    On the contrary, there are plenty of opportunities where someone who earned a Bachelor's degree from a serviceable but unknown school can top it off with a Master's degree from a nationally-known school at very reasonable tuition rates. How do I know? Because that's exactly what I did.
    chrisjm18, JoshD, Vonnegut and 2 others like this.
  4. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    This never ending game of whack a mole will not really serve anyone in the end. The US already has one of the most complicated and convoluted accreditation schemes in the world. And that would be fine if we could all just accept it as it is. Instead, everything is an exception or a technicality. The goal posts move every few months to try to vanquish some educational boogeyman who is the "real" problem. First it was "online schools." Then it was RA vs NA. Then it was for profit vs non profit. Now we're going after non-profit but utilizing some service that is for-profit. Next it will be all non-license qualifying masters programs. Or all masters programs entirely. Then we'll move on and start attacking doctorates or whatever else pops up along the way.

    No one has ever taken meaningful action against college textbook publishers who were charging hundreds of dollars for a single book and then re-releasing it with slightly different pagination to undermine a secondary market. No, society complained but no one ever felt that required any intervention. No one, though individual schools increasingly now are, taken any significant action against the incredibly lucrative private exam companies that served as the gatekeepers for colleges, universities and graduate and professional programs with dubious outcomes. Not to mention the multi billion dollar test prep industry that popped up around it.

    Nope, none of that was a problem. We were perfectly content with Kaplan juicing students to prep them for the LSAT or the GRE but then the second they offered a degree program then -gasp- that's FOR PROFIT education!

    Here's the thing that people don't want to admit; colleges suck at career training.

    Universities in this country began as a finishing school for the rich to study literature and classics before they went into the family business or lived as men of leisure. Perhaps it serving as a place to find an equally cultured young woman that you might carry on your family name. Theodore Roosevelt struggled against the rigor of his Harvard education. He was required to learn Greek and it was hard. But he had to do it because there was no option for him to take pig latin as his foreign language. Now, you have liberal arts cheats to help you avoid the coursework that you don't like. But even with the full rigor of Harvard, an undergraduate degree from there was never considered to be vocational training. It was a well rounded education to prepare a gentleman for entering a professional class.

    Now we've decided that every profession should have a degree. We decided that auto mechanics should have degrees because, why not? Chefs? Here, bachelors required for no good reason.

    It wouldn't be such a big deal. In a slightly different world people would never sign up for these absurdly priced inflated degree programs. They do it because the government is subsidizing it. They do it because schools, for profit/nonprofit/public/religious alike, all get away with telling you what you COULD use your degree for. Sure, you COULD use your Harvard degree to become NYC Police Commissioner, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, a State Assemblyman for New York, Vice President and then President. However, that outcome is by no means assured. Nor does the degree actually provide you with a straight path to any one of those things. The competition for students is fierce and there are billions of government dollars waiting to be taken.

    So we come up with nonsense like this. Because we don't want the money to go away. We just want to make sure that "the right people" get it even if "the right people" behave in a manner identical to the problem children they are trying to regulate out.
    Rich Douglas likes this.
  5. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    He is correct in that almost all of the six figure debt comes from graduate programs, but you have to sift out the doctorate and first professional degrees. Once you take those out, there aren't many master's programs that lead to six figure debt.

    His criticism of the 12-month online programs seems a bit misplaced since those are typically less $30k. A lot of them are less than $20k. One can argue whether these programs are rigorous enough, but they're just accelerated versions of regular master's programs in most cases.
    SteveFoerster likes this.
  6. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    I think someone on the other forum found an ulterior motive. Kevin Carey works for a think tank that advocates for private loans over federally-backed loans. The organization receives funding from the loan industry. In this article, he calls for a cap on graduate loans and for students to seek lending from the private market if they need more money. It sounds like he wants the free market to decide the value of these programs to limit debt. In reality, he and his organization could just be helping the private lending market.
    SteveFoerster likes this.
  7. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Interesting. If so, then the other article you posted recently, about Courts of Appeal decisions making it easier to discharge such loans in bankruptcy, is rather timely!
    sanantone likes this.

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