Battle over academic standards weighs on for-profit colleges

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by jimnagrom, Sep 30, 2005.

  1. jimnagrom

    jimnagrom New Member

    Battle over academic standards weighs on for-profit colleges

    Traditional colleges are increasingly questioning the academic rigor of for-profit degrees.

    Local law schools would not accept degree from Florida Metropolitan University - WSJ online
  2. Vincey37

    Vincey37 New Member

    I'm interested in reading this article, but don't have an account. Anyone want to cut and paste?
  3. DesElms

    DesElms New Member

    Just the high points, please. We don't want copyright problems.
  4. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    I thought it was interesting that there was a Google cache page for a recent Chronicle article even though CHE charges for logins. If that's the case for WSJ as well, and someone could find a Google cache page for this article, that would be supercool.

  5. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    Try this link.
  6. Fortunato

    Fortunato Member

    The article's disappeared off Google News, but this (admittedly heavily editorialized) article references it and has some discussion of the issue:
  7. qvatlanta

    qvatlanta New Member

    There is one quoted statement in that article that says

    "They [for-profits] 'focus more on schools’ job placement records than on academic credentials.'"

    In fact, this is my major problem with for-profits. They simply do not make this information readily available to students. They will never, ever improve their academic standards until they start truly competing in a free market, and right now, how is it possible for a student to know which has better job placement... UoP, AIU or a State University?

    For-profits definitely sell themselves to students as being more focused on job placement. Yet, they fail to collect this data, or if they do, they guard it like a nuclear secret.

    The best college website I have found that talks extensively about job prospects is this one: Medical College of Georgia at I'm pretty sure it's non-profit.

    For-profit education is a good idea in general, but its current standards are just not very high, and they will never increase because I don't think they have a true incentive to improve their standards or provide higher than the required minimum. It's like if I went to the supermarket and had to buy a very expensive sack of potatoes. In fact they are so expensive I have to take out a loan to buy them. They're in a black bag so I can't see what they look like, and I can't return them. What incentive do the potato-sellers have to improve their quality, other than passing USDA standards, since I the consumer am not really informed enough to be able to judge between them?
  8. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    UoP does not collect this data, to my knowledge. Also, UoP doesn't provide any kind of placement services or support. I was very surprised at this, since building good corporate relations by providing highly qualified graduates would seem central to their business model. (A model which includes business development specialists at each campus.) But, no. They don't do anything for students and graduates regarding job placement.
  9. Papa Georgia

    Papa Georgia New Member

    When my wife first entered the nursing profession, the same type debate was going on between for profit and non profit hospitals.Non profit means that you don't pay taxes on your profits. The last "non profit" hospital she worked for paid her a bonus based on how much money the hospital earned.
    Thirty some years later there are some good hospitals of both types and I suspect the same with be true with the colleges.
  10. airtorn

    airtorn Moderator

    It is not about for-profit -vs- not-for profit.

    I think that this article misses the point on the academic acceptablility issue. It talks about the problems with for-profit schools and cites a few examples--primarily FMU. The problem is not that FMU, Crown College, or Lincoln Technical Insitute are for-profit schools. The problem is that they are not regional accredited. This is really an issue of NA acceptibility at RA schools, an issue which is buried in the middle of the article.
  11. Jeff Walker

    Jeff Walker New Member

    Re: It is not about for-profit -vs- not-for profit.

    Agreed. The problems students had came from two sources:
    1) Lack of utility of the degree to get into grad school of their choice due to the school being NA.
    2) FMU allegedly lying to the students about utility of degree.

    Now #2 may be influenced by a for-profit motive. And #1 is indirectly tied to a lack of academic standards (the article mentions a failed bid to gain RA). But fundamentelly, the article is more about the limitations of non-RA degrees more than academic standards or for-profit education.
  12. sulla

    sulla New Member

    I think that the term "for" and "not-for-profit" can be very misleading. There was a study, I think it was USNews, on for-profit and non-profit hospitals and the finding was that for-profit hospitals provided much better care to their patients and were less inclined to bill non-insured patients the maximum amount of medical fees. This is a well documented study so if you do a Google search you should be able to find it.

    As for academia, I find it hypocritical that the not-for profit colleges have the nerve to blame the for-profits when their own academic standards, particularly the 4th tiers, have been lacking since the early 90s. I remember from my own experience being a freshman at USF and found many of the Gordon rule classes to be a total joke. English 101 was basically a submission of four to five one-page essays and a journal. I don't remember anyone getting anything below a 'B' with the exception of foreign students. Then again, USF was and still is a large, rich, 4th tier and low quality university (unless you include some of the grad programs). But I find it disturbing is how they, like other low tier non-profits, they shift the blame elsewhere so they are seen in a better light and gain an edge to attract more students and increase tuition rates.

    The not-for-profit high school education system is also a joke. Again, private for-profit high schools have a reputation for being tougher and provide more individual attention to each student. I still haven't figured out why the the for-profit higher education industry doesn't excel the same way. I've found that that academic standards at for profits like UoP to be non-different than that found at local not-profit community colleges and large 4th tier universities, which isn't saying much. Unfortunately, the competition between both have made some decent for-profits like Argosy, Walden and others take much blame for the negativity of UoP, and barely get any recognition for the things that they do well. For example, you might get an APA accreditted PsyD from Argosy, but someone might come along and point out that Argosy is a for-profit, therefore the doctorate earned must be lacking in academic integrity, despite having the rigurous APA accreditation. How accurate is this? I mean, an APA accreditted degree is an APA accreditted degree, and that specific professional accreditation should alone speak volumes of the rigor that was required.

    The fact is, academic standards in public education have been suffering, period. In higher education, the market has shifted drastically in the late 80s where everyone wants a degree, otherwise you are not a human being. Pointing fingers isn't the answer. RA agencies and the US education system simply need to step up academic standards in public high schools and four year colleges. Only then will we get somewhere.

    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 4, 2005
  13. sulla

    sulla New Member

    Word of mouth, like in any other business. Although not all for-profits use the same formula. At UoP, you do the minimum, you pay, and you get your degree. FMU, despite having not so high academic standards, don't differ a whole lot from those at many local community colleges. After all, many of their staff teach at these community colleges the same way. However, FMU does has a decent reputation in placement and networking with local employers. Other for-profits, like ARgosy, target a nitch that wants higher quality education that is more applicable to the real world; they also target that nitch that were not accepted at top not-profit grad programs such as traditional APA accredited programs in psychology. For those that don't know, getting into an APA accreditted program at a regular university is fiercely competitive, and I've seen applicants with great GPAs and decent GRE scores not getting in.

    Yes, they are expensive, but actually their tuition is not that much different from not-profits. Its just that at not-profits, about two thirds of the tuition is subsidized by the state, so don't think they only get peanuts. Also, you have to factor in that for-profits are tax paying, and not-profits are not. A large university like USF might generate over 100 million a year (I don't know the actual figures, so don't take me to court over this), and because they don't pay taxes, they get to keep it all! And much of the donations that they receive are from, surprise, huge for-profit companies like Microsoft and Roche, among others.

    Anyways, the tax money from the for-profits is used for not-profit purposes or whatever you think the government and state does with your taxes. So some of the money they make is returned back to the community.

    Not all of them. Again, lumping all schools in only two categories doesn't tell the whole story. The fact is that many "not-profit" low-tiered schools generate huge bucks and act very similar to the for-profits, if not more so, and don't particularly excel in quality. The heat that they are placing on the for-profits is mostly, IMO, marketing to get more cashflow going their way.

    That being said, I don't think all 4th tier colleges are lacking in quality. I'm sure there are some 4rth tier colleges that are actually pretty good, but because of other factors not necessarily related to quality (ex: focus on non-traditional education), they get lower points than other schools.

    In sum, like I said before in other posts, IMO there really isn't such a thing as a "not-for-profit". As long as there is a large influx of cash coming in in any setting, there is a good chance that someone will profit from it.

    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 4, 2005
  14. DTechBA

    DTechBA New Member


    The terms for-profit and not-for-profit mostly for tax purposes. Harvard still makes a profit and it's endowment is growing by leaps and bounds because of it. Salaries still have to be paid, etc. so no school is out to lose money or even break even. To base a schools rep on its tax status is misleading at best.......
  15. sulla

    sulla New Member

    Re: Amen.....

    I agree. Speaking of Harvard and its 25 billion endow.....25 billion! thats enough money to buy a decent size country. Heck, with that kind of money, you would think that there would be cures for cancer, Alzheimer' name it.


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