For-profit college risk: Huge debt, questionable degree

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by AV8R, Sep 2, 2010.

  1. PatsGirl1

    PatsGirl1 New Member

    This is what I'd like to know. Also it really IS all about geographic area. Sometimes locals and their perceptions are VASTLY different than what you see in other areas. Just as an example (and please no one get mad at me!), around here in MI, U of P is considered a joke as is ITT Tech, Devry, and to a much smaller extent, Baker. Degrees from those places are NOT even close to worth what they charge per credit, however in plenty of parts in the US those are considered ok schools. It may be worth it in those areas. As far as state schools, Eastern Mich used to be a joke (like, seriously anyone with a pulse could get in there!) and they were cheap. Now it's expensive, harder to get into than Michigan State, and considered a GOOD school. Although, all this could be because of our extremely strange and messed up state economy. Competition for any job is very fierce and people here with PhDs are trying to fight for adjunct jobs and work corporate to pay bills.
  2. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator Staff Member

    Makes sense completely. The problem I have is the ROI of a degree in a corporate job. Did you get the promotion based on my degree, drive, or the knowledge earned from the degree that gave you an advantage over others? I have a peer (actually he is one level higher then me) and he does not have a degree. Who can say when promotions are based on a holistic view. With education and government jobs it is a bit more clean cut. To get from point A to point B, you must have a masters degree or a graduate degree + 30 credits will have you fall into this pay scale.

    The only direct ROI I can use for myself is the adjunct work. I must have a masters to teach where I teach. I have made a significant amount of money in some semesters and have easily paid for my degrees. Of course I work from the time I wake up to the time I go to sleep and have no life but that is another story. As far as a number, I would guess something like this: what does the local state school charge? That is a good baseline usually. Add 30-40% to add a level of flexibility. That is what I would think or at least start with. If USF charges $300 per graduate credit, I would not want to pay more then $400 per credit as a rule for a similar program.
  3. Cyber

    Cyber New Member

    PatsGirl1, you've made very good points regarding geographical perceptions of schools, the present state of the economy, and cost-based ROI of the institutions that you mentioned. Other factors worth adding would be the individuals or degree holders from these institutions, their area of study as well as real-life work experience in their areas of specialty.

    A few things that I disagree with, and will continue to do so, is for folks to automatically dismiss institutions with long history, and with thousands of working graduates as being "degree mills," which seem to be a recurring theme in this thread as well as many post withing this forum. I have never attended UoP, nor have I attended ITT Tech. I do not think this these schools with many campus locations sell degrees to all the thousands of students in the many locations that they serve. As in schools with huge numbers of students, there are certainly those who did not put in their personal effort in studying and becoming experts in their field. There are also many students who have graduated and now hold very good paying jobs.

    In my humble opinion, I think that the overarching questions is really the cost-benefit factor of these institutions and the value of the degrees that they award. Personally, any school with high tuition rate is not worth it, be it B & M, or online. While traditional institutions do not suffer "perception issues," certainly online-only schools, which may or may not be as rigorous academically, depending on who is making what argument, suffers a huge perception problem hence, a low ROI and limited value, becomes very "degree=millish" with super high tuition rates.

    DeVry University is one schools with high tuition rates, with many locations across North America, and a history of educating technical folks that dates back to 1931. Could an institution with such a long standing history pass for a degree mill? I graduated with an Associates of Applied Science Degree in Electronics from DeVry Institute of Technology (now DeVry University) in 2000. A week after graduation, I secured a Telecommunications Specialist position with SBC Ameritech (now ATT) that paid 55k/year (I was recently laid off in 2009 at which point my salary had gone up to (77K/yr). Although that degree came at a cost of $25k back then, I refuse to say the ROI was bad. Would I have made that much with lets say, a high schools diploma? With ATT, yes, I would have (FYI: Many of those technicians that drive ATT vans with ladders on top make in the areas of 100k/yr or more, depending on their years with ATT and the market or business region which they work e.g Chicago vs. North Carolina or Alabama). Additionally, could we say that all DeVry University graduates earn good salaries or secure jobs upon their graduation? probably not.

    The point I'm making (its long I know), which adds to the points you elucidated regarding the value of for-profit RA schools with massive online program offerings, the ROI and public perceptions of such programs and schools respectively, is that dismissing these schools as "degree mills" is factually incorrect and hateful. While these institutions do not model traditional research-focused schools, it is also true that some students are more interested in hands-on, less-theory, practical-based programs and learning, which is what many of these schools are. It also seems true that many traditional B & M schools are slow to adapt, or blatantly refuse to provide learning opportunities to all using technology tools available, and this is why many of us opt for schools that would.

    Here is my question to the "online schools are degree mills" Jihadists:
    Does it mean if one applies to a traditional school and they get rejected for whatever reason (or because they have a degree from one of these for-profit schools, and seek to pursue an advanced degree), that they should cease to continue their education at an online school that is willing to accept them? I'm afraid if this "online RA online schools are degree mills, or degrees from internet schools are worthless" argument is to hold, then that equates to limiting the ability for many to get their degrees for whatever reason that only matters to them. Folks go to school for many reasons. If they are willing to pay what a school charges using whatever means they see fit, and if that degree is acceptable to them based on their specific situation, regardless of the perception that many from traditional schools continue to perpetuate (because of threats to their jobs), then this argument will continue to be baseless, and this is evident by the upsurge in attendance at these supposedly "degree millish" schools.
  4. rmm0484

    rmm0484 Member

    Degree Millish?

    The Online Universities being metioned are not degree mills because they charge a great deal for tuition; it is the value proposition of some of these schools that are coming into question, and the makeup of the student body. These online schools create a negative ROI when they charge students a high tuition for programs that do not lead to employment that can lead to repayment of a student loan. Sort of like an upside down mortgage, if you will. Senator Tom Harkin wrote in the referenced Washington Post article:

    "According to statistics for the 2008-2009 school year, for-profit colleges account for almost 10 percent of students enrolled in higher education nationwide, but those students receive 23 percent of federal student loans and grants, yet accounted for a staggering 44 percent of defaults in recent years. For many students, defaulting on student loans is not the end of their struggles. Student loan debts are not dischargeable in bankruptcy, and defaults disqualify them from further aid. Instead of a degree, then, many students end up with debt burdens that may preclude a real chance at earning a college degree or certificate......The Education Department has proposed rules to reduce abuses in career and for-profit programs. The rules could eliminate student aid eligibility for programs whose students have a dangerous combination of high debt levels, low incomes after graduation and low rates of student loan repayment. The proposed rules would also strengthen protections against school officials who are paid based on the number of bodies they recruit or who make deceptive statements to prospective students."

    There are other for profit universities that do not follow the above model. I teach for an online university that has moderate tuition and a student body that is composed of military and government workers; these students already have decent employment for the most part. The school seems to be able to offer a decent ROI for investors and students alike.
  5. cravenco

    cravenco New Member


    I work for myself as a tutor! The heck with working for others.

    Sorry about the rant. That comment from the post disturbed me!
  6. cjzande

    cjzande New Member

    Yeah, that one struck me as funny. Basically the person who posted is not hiring people he thinks "aren't willing to do hard work," because *he* isn't even willing to do the relatively easy work of a few hours of research to learn the difference between certain degrees and schools. Probably, most people are better off not working for a guy like that, anyway, IMHO.
  7. TCord1964

    TCord1964 New Member

    Agreed. Who would want to work for a d-bag like that anyway?
  8. TCord1964

    TCord1964 New Member

    I'm sorry, but I have a very difficult time feeling sympathy for these students. It seems like they didn't bother to do the most basic homework: how much the degree costs, how long it will take to repay the loans, what is the job market like for the type of job they are studying for, what is the starting pay, what kind of accreditation the school has, and the differences in accreditation. Some simple Googling would give them all the answers they need. If they can't be bothered to shop around before making what could possibly be one of the most important investments in their lives, then they got the education they deserve.
  9. b4cz28

    b4cz28 New Member

    Sweet Lord it's TCord! How's it going man? I just about done wit my AS from AJU!
  10. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator Staff Member

    I agree, that's a good general formula.
  11. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator Staff Member

    Thanks - my general rule is not so bad since I just made it up...Did you realize you are only 10 posts away from 2,000? Respond to this and it will be 9! ;)
  12. b4cz28

    b4cz28 New Member

    You're pushing 5 grand!
  13. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator Staff Member

    I know but don't think I will make it. I will have a nervous breakdown soon, I am just waiting until I have the know, after my dissertation is approved. ;)
  14. b4cz28

    b4cz28 New Member

    Would it ease the pain of waiting if I started calling you Dr.Randell now?
  15. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator Staff Member

    Are you accusing me of posting just to bring up my post count? I am insulted that you would even bring that up!
  16. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator Staff Member

    How dare you say that I might do that.
  17. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator Staff Member

    Because I would never stoop so low as to do that! (Only 4 more to go) :)
  18. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator Staff Member

    Are you sure? Prove it!
  19. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator Staff Member

    No, don't jinx me! :eek:
  20. jackrussell

    jackrussell Member

    Our moderators are of the highest integrity. I am sure they won't be doing that right? Mr MicahelOliver? (Another post to go? :) )


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