For-Profit Colleges Continue to Harm Poor Students

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by sanantone, Jul 12, 2021.

  1. LearningAddict

    LearningAddict Well-Known Member

    Yes, I get what would be defined as "standards", it's just that you said "without any standards" with regard to for-profit admissions which is a different thing. Even the normal for-profit is usually going to require you have a high school diploma or something equivalent, and that is a standard, a low standard, but a standard. That brings me right into my next point...

    Yep, and that community college is a non-profit regionally accredited school. So here they are in some instances accepting students without a high school diploma or something equivalent, while the general for-profit is going to require one or something equivalent. Let's take a look at what the "great one" requires for admission:

    "To enter an associate or bachelor's degree program, you must: Have earned an acceptable high school diploma, GED equivalent, California High School Proficiency Examination certificate or foreign secondary school equivalent. If you currently don't meet this requirement, you can arrange to take the GED through your state's GED administrator's office or search for the nearest GED testing center."

  2. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    The gender studies argument. So few people graduate with gender studies degrees, it's not even worth discussing. Security studies is a sub-field of international relations. If the students are landing jobs, it's because of their military experience, and they could have had the same outcome with a foreign language or history degree. I actually have a master's degree in security studies; it's not as marketable as you think it is. My BA in Social Science has broader utility than my master's in security studies.

    I talked about low graduation rates in particular programs on the other forum. If a vocational program has a very low graduation rate, then changes should be made, or the program should close. Academic programs are a bit trickier to assess at the 2-year level. Graduation rates only include degree-seeking students. You need to select degree-seeking to receive financial aid. Is the student simply taking lower level courses to transfer elsewhere? Did I take community college courses at $54 per credit hour as a degree-seeking student so I could transfer elsewhere? Yes, I did, and I chose not to graduate with an associate's degree at those community colleges. Did I take lower level courses for over $350 per credit hour at a for-profit college with the intention of transferring them to a cheaper public university? No, I did not. That wouldn't make financial sense.

    A school can be largely open-entry and put in the effort to prepare students for college-level courses. If you're knowingly enrolling ill-prepared students into courses that require college-level reading, writing, and math skills, then it's obvious that education is not a priority, and you don't care about the ethics of taking advantage of vulnerable individuals.
  3. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    Does Penn Foster still offer bachelor's degrees? I believe they offered two. The rest of their programs are about six months to two years long. The government and research organizations started looking at 6-year and 8-year graduation rates years ago for baccalaureate programs. How long should they track students for 6-month, 1-year, and 2-year vo-tech programs? 10 years? 15 years? 20 years?
  4. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    When I speak of the average graduation rate for a sector, I am speaking of the average graduation rate for the sector. I am not speaking to the graduation rate of every single institution within that sector.

    With that said, how many 4-year for-profit colleges have graduation rates above 50%.
  5. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    Good point. I would say the most innovative colleges for adult learners have been public colleges and WGU. Excelsior was a public college, and there's also TESU, COSC, SUNY Empire, etc. The difference between them and the for-profit colleges that ended up dominating in the 2000s is marketing expenditures. Even when there were quite a few traditional alternatives offering online programs, people were going to Kaplan, Devry, and University of Phoenix because they thought those schools were the only options.
  6. Futuredegree

    Futuredegree Active Member

    When I was in high school about 11 years ago as a senior I had many for-profit schools come to my small public high school located in a poor area of the Bronx, NY attempting to persuade students to attend their schools. Some of these schools included Wood Tobe-Coburn, ITT Tech, Lincoln Technical Institute, Full Sail University, Institute Audio Research (IAR), Sae Institute, DeVry College of New York, ASA College, and School of Visual Arts.
    The tactics they used back in 2011 were ridiculous as they targeted young adults getting ready to go to college. They would offer campus tours and free campus stays for students to come to visit and see the college or institution for a weekend. They would make up a ton of lies just to get students to sign up and enroll in their program making empty promises to students. Recruiters would oftentimes give free items out like notebooks, reusable water bottles, book vouchers, etc. These items often were branded with the college's logo and they would ask students to fill out a contact information card which would start the process of unwanted phone calls and emails to solicit students, oftentimes putting pressure on students who did not know any better. I myself almost fell into the category I went to check out Lincoln Technical Institution - Automotive Technology program ( 56 week - certificate program) after receiving a few phone calls. Lincoln Tech threw a video game tournament and gave out many prizes on the campus visit which also included a car show in the parking lot to amaze potential students. The students there were even brainwashed into thinking they would have such an amazing life after they would speak just like the recruiters to try and convince you to come to the school. Lincoln Tech even told students that they will receive all the tools from their partnership company SNAP-ON but did not tell students it would be charged towards their tuition further exhausting their financial aid. They sell you a dream that you will be working for all the big-time car companies and you will be making so much money when you graduate. Most of the graduates are unemployed, work in Autozone, or work as a low-level mechanic doing oil changes and small jobs for local car dealerships. I found it so much cheaper to go to my local community college and study associates in automotive technology for a fraction of the cost but ultimately changed my mind and went down another career path which I do not regret.

    When looking at the Lincoln Tech website, it states they have partnerships but a few friends I know haven't gotten into any of the partnership jobs they claim to have...

    Our campus has partnered with the Greater New York Auto Dealers Association (GNYADA) since 2006.

    "New York is one of the country’s leading states for auto technician opportunities* More than 40,000 openings are projected in the state over the next 10 years, trailing only California, Texas and Florida. It’s time to put your potential to work and turn what you love to do into what you’re paid to do. Lincoln Tech’s auto mechanic school in Queens, NY features the facilities, equipment and training programs that can help you begin a career that doesn’t feel like “work”.

    Our campus in Whitestone, Queens shares a facility with the Greater New York Auto Dealers Association: the offices, including hiring departments, for hundreds of Empire State auto dealers are right next door, and hiring managers are directly connected to our Career Services team. After graduation, you may also choose to continue your training by applying for BMW MINI COOPER STEP (Service Technician Education program)*"

    There are some legitimate for-profit colleges in New York such as Plaza College, Monroe College, Five Town College, LIM College, and The College of Westchester which all offer great education programs. They are indeed more pricey and admissions at set to lower standards but the quality of the education is not bad and most graduates continue on to get graduate degrees or jobs in their field although they have student loan debt. I personally attended Monroe College for a semester in their King Graduate School and my quality of education was high but I did not like the amount I had to pay so I transferred out to a public city-owned college.
  7. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    I apologize for the inability to multi-quote on my phone.

    Community colleges are designed to make education available to everyone at a low cost. However, there is usually placement testing and required remediation. When I was having trouble getting transcripts from a college to prove that I had taken English Comp, and my SAT scores were too old, I was limited to taking criminal justice courses. Don't get me started on how colleges often have lower standards for criminal justice students. Anyway, I couldn't enroll in psychology courses until I got that transcript over or took one of the placement tests.

    Goodness! I will tell you that those criminal justice courses really needed an English Comp prerequisite or a minimum score on a placement test. My classmates had high school diplomas and struggled to write coherent sentences.
  8. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

  9. Vonnegut

    Vonnegut Well-Known Member

  10. Vonnegut

    Vonnegut Well-Known Member

    The longer I spend in education, the more cautious and concerned I am with for-profit schools. There are certainly some that are successfully filling niche needs and at reasonable costs, but I grow increasingly apprehensive with time.
  11. JoshD

    JoshD Well-Known Member

    I fell there are legitimate for-profit universities that feel a niche that other universities are not. I am curious though, as your typical non-profit state schools begin to offer more and more distance learning degrees, how will the for-profits be impacted? Why pursue an MBA at Walden if you can pursue an AACSB MBA from UT Permian Basin for a cheaper price tag? Genuinely curious..
  12. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    One of the ways to look at this is through the eyes of Capital Theory brought by Pierre Bourdieu. In it, Bourdieu suggests sociological structures can be examined as an exchange of capital. After all, we give and we take, right?

    When a student goes to a university, there is an exchange of capital. In fact, there are two forms of capital a student gives, and two the student receives in return. The two the student gives are academic effort/achievement and money. The two the student receives are an education and a degree.

    When it comes to complaints about for-profit schools, all four of these exchanges are attacked. But are the attacks really fair? The attacks on for-profit schools' capital exchanges are:
    • They charge too much and are predatory
    • They are not academically demanding
    • Students receive a lousy education
    • The degrees aren't worth it
    Again, all four forms of exchange are routinely assaulted. But it true? Is it fair? My answer: sometimes. But it is not accurate to lump all for-profit schools together. (I'm talking about degree-granting institutions since that is the purpose of this discussion board.) Taking those four exchanges again and applying selected examples:
    • The University of Phoenix can be expensive and predatory
    • The UoP is an open-admission institution
    • UoP students sometimes slide by the team-based portion of each course by letting others do the work
    • Everyone laughs at a UoP degree.
    Now, let's say something nice about the McDonald's of higher ed:
    • UoP students get a lot of support coming into their programs and throughout them
    • UoP degrees are actually very hard to earn; students do a lot of work to earn them
    • UoP uses andragogical principles, expecting adults to manage their (and their team's) education
    • Millions of UoP graduates have had great successes with their degrees
    Now, if both sides of the coin can be argued for one school, imagine how complex it is to draw generalities about the entire sector. You just can't. And if you can find a bad school, well, you've already found a bad school--and those examples certainly exists. But to dump Walden and Capella in with those for-profit schools that have blown up all over their students isn't really fair. Because despite their common factors, they're really quite different.

    I'll stay with Walden and Capella for a moment. Both have been operating successfully and with full accreditation for decades. (Walden longer than Capella.) Anyone who looks upon a graduate of either of those schools and decides to heap scorn on them simply because the school is for-profit is missing the point.

    Sweeping generalities about this sector are inevitably inaccurate and are definitely lazy.
    SteveFoerster likes this.
  13. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    I think this is an important point. Many students will not pursue a Walden MBA with other options out there.

    However, American Public University (AMU/APU) is one of the few schools that allows one to do a Bachelor's in Intelligence Studies online.
    Walden is one of the few schools that have an online Master of Social Work.
    Northcentral is one of the few schools that offer an online PhD in Data Science.

    (Edit: I forgot there are some extremely expensive MSWs online like USC's @ $70K but you get the idea.)

    Not saying any of those schools or programs are right for me in particular (and none of them are unique, the HLC-accredited Henley-Putnam offers a BS in Intelligence online, Mizzou has an online MSW and Dakota State offers a PhD in Information Systems with a specialization in Analytics and Decision Support), but that it makes sense that for-profits can continue attracting students as long as they continue to offer programs hard[er] to do elsewhere.
    JoshD likes this.
  14. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Which, oddly, rarely if ever get called "predatory".
    JoshD and Dustin like this.
  15. not4profit

    not4profit Active Member

    The gender studies argument was a generic example that can be replaced with almost any humanities, history, or other similar degree. The point is that a low marketability degree from an amazing school is often less useful than a high marketability degree from a for-profit. This pokes a hole in your arguments about how terrible for-profits are. For example, a management degree from Phoenix would likely garner more opportunities and greater ability to pay back student loans for graduates than say an art history degree or humanities degree from Rice University. It is not worth discussing because the argument holds.

    Security is not simply a sub field of international relations. That may be your experience, but homeland security, security management, and what you are talking about as security are three different things. I also have degrees in security areas. They are indeed marketable if you use them correctly for the correct purpose. I also noticed that you mentioned your social science BA as marketable without considering your own other experience that added to your attractiveness as a job candidate. However, you used previous experience as the reason for security students getting jobs. You really feel comfortable asserting that any student with a security degree is only landing a job because of their past experience? Super broad generalization there. I am sensing a theme that your logic is not applied consistently in your arguments.

    You mentioned the ethics of taking advantage of vulnerable individuals. That comes from the lens that the schools are intentionally taking advantage of people. Like I said before, if you come from the lens that for-profits are trying to help a historically underrepresented group by increasing access to education, then suddenly for-profits have the moral high ground and public universities can be viewed as perpetuating the cycle of the disadvantaged by limiting their access to education. Your lens matters in this.

    I also noticed nowhere in your argument did you discuss Colorado State Global Campus, U of Arizona Global Campus, or Purdue Global. All of these are essentially for profits that are affiliated with the bigger universities. Some of them were literally for profits that were re-branded with the more reputable name brand of the bigger school. So, how does that muddy the waters in your argument? I won’t even get into the ethics of that business decision by your beloved larger public schools. Add to the mix the for-profit in name only schools (which I disagree with a few of the examples given). Now the waters are becoming so muddied that you almost can’t make any generalizations, much less the ones you are making.

    At the end of the day there are many problems with for-profit schools but they serve a purpose and the arguments for or against their existence is nuanced. The same could be said of any less marketable degree from even the best university. That argument is also nuanced and to cast broad generalizations the way you have in this thread is really throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I will say to you what I say to my students. Ratchet back the absoluteness of your statements and use some of those writing conventions that leave you some wiggle room to actually back up some of your arguments. As it stands you are basically saying "yay public universities... booo for profits!" But both have pros and cons that you are glossing over in your generalizations.
  16. sideman

    sideman Active Member

    Penn Foster offers three: Business Management (BS), Criminal Justice (BS), and Veterinary Technology (BAS). It took me approximately seven years to complete the Bachelors in CJ. If not for the self-paced nature of the program, I wouldn't have been able to finish the degree due to a number of factors (i.e. running a business, caregiver for ill spouse, etc.). So certainly if the government and research organizations are tracking 8 year grad rates, then I'll be amongst the completions at PFC. And at $79 per credit hour with the last semester free (if you've paid for at least 60 hours prior), I can't really complain about the overall cost. I'm sure others can point out other schools where I might've gotten a better deal, but overall I'm satisfied and have no qualms about them still making a profit off my attendance. It's not like non-profits or not for profits, or however you want to spin it, don't make money. Like I've always said, "Non-profit doesn't mean nobody profits".
  17. Vonnegut

    Vonnegut Well-Known Member

    He provided a great interview and came across as a passionate educator/administrator, although I certainly have some fundamental disagreements with his/heir assertions. While I didn’t know much about him or his school, I did remember them being in the higher ed news several times over recent years and tend to remember news details. From his interview, he made their transition and changes come across as very intentional and proactive. Which seemed somewhat questionable considering the timelines and how they correspond with their whistle blower lawsuit, class action lawsuit, healthcare struggle, and campus closures. For some wild reason on a break today I pulled up some of their 8k/10Ks, and... I don’t know...
    SteveFoerster likes this.
  18. Vonnegut

    Vonnegut Well-Known Member

    Certainly don’t rule out all for-profit schools or cast them all in the same view. There are many that I respect, particularly those excelling in certain niches. Walden, Capella, Columbia Southern, and Full Sail all fill niche areas with many satisfied individuals. While one could certainly argue that their are better schools or more affordable options, they still fill needs and have obtained market validation.

    I’m a big fan of Edgar Morin’s ideas on complex thought. We rarely have true black and white options, one best answer, etc. I don’t rule out for-profits, I’m just increasingly reserved and hesitant with them. A non-profit, regionally accredited, traditional university isn’t a guarantee of academic quality, rigor, and beneficial outcomes... but from what I see, there’s often a significantly greater propensity for it. Granted, organizations are complex, all those factors can vary even within the same university.
    Rich Douglas and SteveFoerster like this.
  19. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    You're confusing security studies, homeland security, and security management. Security studies, national security studies, and international security studies are sub-fields of international relations. Homeland security is focused on protecting the homeland and has a mix of criminal justice and emergency management thrown in. While security studies programs might have a homeland security course, they're more focused on foreign policy, diplomacy, weapons proliferation, the history of foreign terrorist groups, the history of foreign conflicts, etc. It's more theory and policy than law enforcement, emergency response, and physical security.

    When I say that my BA in Social Science was more marketable, I mean that it met the minimum requirements for a wide variety of jobs in social services and human services-oriented criminal justice jobs. Security studies is mostly applicable to certain federal government agencies that mostly hire people who already have experience in foreign intelligence. The easiest place to get that experience is in the military.

    How do you know the intentions of for-profit colleges or any college? Go behind the scenes. There are many employee accounts on strategy meetings. I can only speak for the one for-profit I worked at, but I can tell you that providing a quality education was not a priority.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2021
  20. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    Capella and Walden are some of the worst offenders among the large for-profits. I think APUS is an okay school with competitive tuition rates, but Capella and Walden are atrocious.

    The vast majority of UoP students never graduated. Of course, when you're maintaining enrollment of nearly a half a million at one point, you're going to have a lot of graduates despite the high dropout rate.

    I'd like to add that a school can be easy and have a high failure rate. I worked at a school that was teaching at the high school level, but since many of the students could barely read or write, they struggled.

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