Why Students Choose For-Profits

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Kizmet, Jun 23, 2016.

  1. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    While it is true that I did misread your post that does not make what I have said irrelevant. My point was that having college educated parents does not really position a student to make an informed decision. I talked about accreditation but that carries over just as easily into price comparison and financial aid as well.

    I once filled out a FAFSA. That has given me no keen insight into financial aid. If the FAFSA is still the norm when my kids go to college I expect they will fill it out. It's a form. It tells you what information is required and every school, B&M or online or for or non-profit, all have financial aid representatives who guide you through the process. Unless a parent works in higher ed they have no guidance to give on the matter.

    Parents typically either refer to the FAFSA generically as "financial aid forms" or think of it as a part of the application process. I've had at least a handful of coworkers and colleagues say things like "I need to hurry up and do my taxes because (kid name) is filling out his/her college application." Part of it may be ignorance. Part of it may be a desire to not publicly admit that you are seeking financial aid.

    Both of my parents attended college. Neither utilized government aid. When I applied to Scranton I checked a little box on the application that said "I intend to apply for financial aid." I didn't need guidance to do this. I knew that my family didn't have the capacity to pay cash for tuition. After I checked the box I was contacted by a rep who had me fill out the FAFSA and walked me through the process.

    My point, whether we are talking about accreditation or financial aid, is that the things you are stating that for-profits "do" are also in the playbook of non-profit and public universities.

    You stated that students ignorantly go to for-profits out of "convenience." I simply stated that traditional students often choose a school based upon having a parent who is an alumnus/ae or because a school is geographically convenient.

    You stated that the for-profits rely on marketing. I pointed out that non-profits and publics also market and have marketed for many many years.

    And you see no possible connection between the two?
  2. Abner

    Abner Well-Known Member

    I guess I got lucky

    I attended to one community college, and two NA for profits. Neither of the for profits I attended were pushy in the least. I was even able to negotiate more credits with Cal Coast. Good schools. I am grateful to this board.
  3. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    Between employer reimbursement and scholarships, here are my costs (all are RA):
    *MA (taxpayer supported public university): My cost was 65% off the aggregate price.
    *DBA (for-profit university): My cost was 11k.
    *MPA (for-profit university): My cost was 41% off the aggregate price.
    *MA (private non-profit): In-progress: If I finish the program, my cost will be 66% off the aggregate price.
  4. Abner

    Abner Well-Known Member

    Following up on meagain, here are my costs:

    RA - AA - not sure - so long ago. - I think the fees were $8-10 a credit way back in 1984 - When I stopped going they were are $13.00 - $14.00 a credit. I went to CC for about ten years, so not sure of the total cost. - I paid as I went. No financial assistance.

    NA - BS - around $4,800.00 - I paid as I went - no financial assistance.

    NA - MBA - around $5,000.00 - I paid as I went - no financial assistance.

    Best damn money I ever spent.
  5. Graves

    Graves Member

    A.A. (Pensacola State College) - Public junior college. A scholarship covered around 16,500 in tuition.

    A.A.S. degrees – These are vocational certifications through the military. No cost due to transfer credit.

    B.S. (Excelsior) - Excelsior is technically a non-profit college. I only took a few courses due to transfer credit/CBEs, and paid around 2500.

    M.A. (AMU) - AMU is for-profit. Tuition assistance paid for 75 percent of the first four courses. I paid 12 grand with added deployment stipends. The program is only about 16,000 with fees included, but definitely leans more towards humanities than clinical science.

    Walden - 22,950
    NCU – 27,000
    Capella – 24,000, but also has a 2400 per 12-week option.
    Kaplan – Between 23 and 27 grand.
    GCU – Around 20000

    Some of the other programs prep individuals better for clinical practice and research. There are also programs attached to APA-accredited colleges (Pacifica, CSPP), but they are pricey. I despise debt, so I don’t want to take major financial risks until I’m firm in my plans. Divinity, clinical/counseling psychology, clinical social work, and psychiatric mental health nursing all intrigue me.

    Most of my education is non-traditional, but thankfully I don't have any debt. Some people take student debt too lightly.
  6. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    This is why qualitative research has its place. A survey with mostly close-ended questions may not find the root of an issue if the researcher does not know what to ask. But, this is the way I see it having been an economically disadvantaged student and an instructor of economically disadvantaged students at a for-profit.

    You choose not to go to college because you don't have the money to go to college or you don't know how to get the money to attend college. You see a commercial from some career school advertising that "financial aid is available to those who qualify." This doesn't tell you that this is government financial aid that is available at almost every accredited school. All you know is that this school can get you financial aid. Then, you call them up or fill out some online form. You talk to an admissions representative who will likely keep calling you until you either enroll or tell him or her to leave you the hell alone. If you decide to apply, they will walk you through the process of applying for financial aid. This is when you find out what FAFSA and federal grants and loans are, but you've already invested a lot of time in enrolling in this school and continue with the process.

    Now, I did have some students who attended a community college before they went to the for-profit I taught at. Their reason for switching was because they couldn't get past the remedial courses, English Comp, or College Algebra at the community colleges. Community colleges are typically pretty easy, but our school would put pressure on instructors to pass students who didn't deserve to pass. The only way you could fail was by never turning in your work. Not all for-profits operate this way, but this is often how for-profit, career schools operate based on what I heard from coworkers who worked at other career schools. Some career schools also offer onsite day cares.

    Actually, they don't. Non-profits rarely assign you an admissions counselor who walks you through each step of the enrollment process. Normally, you can call and wait on the line for a random representative or go up to the school and wait in line. You might be able to make an appointment to meet with a counselor. It's common for for-profits to assign you an admissions representative who will tell you, step-by-step, what to do. Some non-traditional non-profits, such as COSC and Excelsior, somewhat follow this model, but most non-profits do not.

    Non-profits mostly rely on word-of-mouth and proximity. They do not advertise on TV or online as much as for-profits. This is a fact. The difference between how much money is spent on marketing is huge. On average, non-profits spend about 2% of their budgets on recruitment. In comparison, for-profits spend nearly 20% of their budgets on recruitment. It's only recently that non-profits have decided to increase their marketing budgets.


    One would have to do a study. It's not like these no-name, liberal arts colleges are spending massive amounts of money on advertising. From what I hear from students who attend low-ranked, expensive, private schools is that they chose them because they have small class sizes, and they believe they can receive a better education at a private school. I also hear some other reasons such as regional reputation and religious affiliation.

    If only half of the 20+ million college students had access to these types of tuition reimbursement programs...
  7. Abner

    Abner Well-Known Member

    [QUOTE) Sanantone

    If only half of the 20+ million college students had access to these types of tuition reimbursement programs...[/QUOTE]

    Yeah, that would have been nice. I didn't get reimbursed for anything. But if you qualify for it, go for it!
  8. apriltrainer

    apriltrainer New Member

    My sister ended up going to a for profit. Not going to lie, she isn't the smartest tool in the toolbox. I don't think she would have done well at a regular brick and mortar. I don't think she'd do well at a school like Excelsior, TESU or Charter Oak either.

    The for profit school accepted her though. Personally I don't think she is college material. Many of these for profits target people that just are not ready for college level work. She wanted to study medical assisting. I told her there was a glut of medical assistants and the pay was paltry. But she didn't want to be like me, a lowly LPN who at the time didn't possess a degree. Why listen to me? She ended up going to the for-profit and graduated with a useless medical assisting associates that cost her $35,000.

    I had many of my Lpn courses transfer such as my a&p when I decided to get my bachelors. When my sister decided to get her bachelors? None of her credits transferred.

    My cousin who received his electrical engineering associates at the local tech school? No debt and makes BANK!
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 29, 2016
  9. Abner

    Abner Well-Known Member

    "But she didn't want to be like me, a lowly LPN who at the time didn't possess a degree. Why listen to me? She ended up going to the for-profit and graduated with a useless medical assisting associates that cost her $35,000."

    Just keep doing what you are doing, it sounds like you have a good head on your shoulders. I think you said you may be a union worker, or you were a union worker. I will use myself as an example. Many, many years ago in my twenties, I decided to get a union job so I could get great stuff like a pension and life long health care benefits. Now, in my bargaining unit, we get lifelong medical and dental not only for ourselves, but our spouses! Just like cops, teachers, firefighters, etc. He he. So, at the ripe old age of 50 (I feel and act young, and my body is my temple), I retired. I am working a fancy contract job. Good money, I get to stay in fancy hotels and dine in fancy restaurants and such. But, I plan on quitting that job and working with a dog rescue, and get paid for it! Can you imagine that? get paid for doing something you love! Geez! I won't make much, but I don't have to. The house will be paid of in ten years. Life is good. Now, many of my friends who made a lot more money than me over the years, they are stuck. They spend according to what they make. They cannot take a low paying job because all hell will bust loose. And many job nowadays don't have guaranteed pensions and lifelong benefits like mine did. Many jobs make you pay out of this world health premiums.

    So for those that complain that the union doesn't do anything for you, quit! Just quit and throw your hat in the free market arena and see how you fare. I have made that offer to former conservative coworkers in the past, and they never seemed to take me up on my offer for the to quit. I wonder why?

    Work union, live better. It's that simple.
  10. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    I never said that they assign you an admissions counselor who walks you through each step. What I said was that many non-profits do have a financial aid person walk you through all of the steps for financial aid. That's their job. Admissions is a pretty straightforward process beyond financial aid.

    Even at for-profits this function is typically split apart. The person who is enrolling you is not the same person who is handling your financial aid. Admissions people enroll people. Their performance is evaluated based upon the number of enrollments. Those numbers would be miserable if they then had to hold a student's hand through the FAFSA. At every school I've attended this has been a separate person. And the people at non-profit and public schools have been just as helpful and hand holdy as those at for-profits.

    This is especially the case when it comes to veterans. Within two days of my acceptance to Chadron State I had a voicemail from the veterans benefit counselor who walked me through using my post-9/11 GI Bill (up to that point I had only used my Montgomery GI Bill).

    No, this is incorrect. Non-profits do not rely on "word of mouth" as a soul recruitment source. Most schools, even very small schools, hire full time admissions representatives to market at high schools and in the international community.

    My favorite example is Marywood University. A tiny little campus. An obscure Catholic university. And a very large international student body. How? Because they have someone whose full time job is to fly overseas and market Marywood to international students.

    A typical college fair at a high school draws college representatives from up to a five hour radius around the high school. That's marketing.

    But, as I have said previously, an unskilled low income worker earning a certificate or associate's degree is in a very different position than a Registered Nurse earning his/her MSN for career advancement purposes. Both might enroll in a program at the University of Phoenix. Both might leave with roughly the same amount of debt. But one is in a much stronger financial position because the MSN isn't earning a credential hoping to break into a field like the other person.

    Career advancement is a very different ball game than career entry and transition.

    I don't dispute that for-profits spend more on recruitment. My curiosity why you think that matters. It is more expensive to advertise on television than to just send out throngs of admissions reps all over the globe to recruit. But schools like SNHU and NAU are buying the same television ad space. So their numbers are likely just as high as their for-profit counterparts.

    Many non-profits don't need to market because their reputation carries them. Is there a high school senior somewhere in Massachusetts picking up a pamphlet and saying "Wow, this Harvard place looks great. It's probably the best kept secret in higher ed?"

    But many more need to spend money to recruit. They need to send legions of admissions (sales) people to high schools, job fairs and overseas to lure eager young folk into enrolling. That's still marketing. Universities have done it for many years and so it carries a certain nobility in its perception. But it's sales. And schools like Phoenix came on the scene and blew up our televisions with ads.

    And now we're seeing more non-profit and public universities adopting that model. SNHU is a prominent example. NAU borrows heavily from the Phoenix playbook. The Touro University system has, for many years, inundated radio and television with ads for their law school throughout the Greater NYC area.

    Right. It's a choice based largely on perception. My point is that the perception of a quality education based solely on class size or number of frisbee games being held on the quad is no different than a for-profit school's perception of convenience which you derided in your first post.

    Unless they suffer from some sort of disability I'd say that every single one of them potentially has access to the GI Bill. Employer tuition assistance is on the rise. Even a part-time job at McDonalds can help defer the cost of tuition.

    But that isn't as fun as rolling your living expenses into student loans and worrying about it later.
  11. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    This was not the case at any of the three U.S. non-profit universities where I've worked, and none of them was particularly non-traditional.

    Similarly, all three of those schools did much more for marketing than just word of mouth, although I would agree that they didn't have the same budget for it that Keiser University did (which was still a for-profit when I worked there).
  12. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    I have experience with UoP, WIU, APUS, Patten, and the for-profit I worked at. None of the multiple non-profits I've applied to provide the amount of hand holding of the for-profits I listed.

    Not once did I say that non-profits solely rely on word of mouth.

    There are many more undergraduate students than graduate students.

    I don't dispute that for-profits spend more on recruitment. My curiosity why you think that matters. It is more expensive to advertise on television than to just send out throngs of admissions reps all over the globe to recruit. But schools like SNHU and NAU are buying the same television ad space. So their numbers are likely just as high as their for-profit counterparts.

    How are NAU and SNHU typical non-profits? Besides, the conclusion of this study is that non-profits need to market more.

    Wanting small class sizes and a more intimate campus is a preference. Believing that a for-profit is the only place you can earn a degree online or in the evening is factually incorrect. Do I think it's smart to pay for an overpriced, private school? No. But, many people choose not to attend state schools simply because they don't like them. In the end, the loan default rates at private, non-profits ate low. IIRC, they might even be the lowest, on average.

    The military is not looking to recruit that many people. I've worked for two government agencies, two non-profits, and multiple for-profits. None of them provided more than $1k or $2k per year in tuition reimbursement. Most of the for-profits I worked for, and most were large companies, provided no assistance or reimbursement.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 29, 2016
  13. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    Well, with respect, others have differing experiences. Also it sounds like you didn't have "experience" with UoP because you applied to them fresh out of high school at a time when they didn't enroll people of your age and educational level. Their response was to forward you to another school that would enroll you. That's not really an experience from which you could have possibly extrapolated any meaningful information about how much hand holding UPhoenix offered.

    You said that they rely "mostly" on it. This is still inaccurate. If you are paying people full time to spread that word of mouth that is active marketing.

    I never said that they were typical. Only that they are part of what could be an emerging trend for non-profits to adopt behaviors until now exclusively associated with for-profit schools.

    It is an erroneous conclusion. My point was that students enter into non-profit universities with equally erroneous conclusions based upon their preconceived notions. Small class size isn't just a preference based upon how many people a student wants to be in a room with at any given time. It is a well published ratio from which many infer that the quality of education is higher because the student ostensibly receives more direct contact with their professor. This may be true in certain circumstances. But if it held true in every situation then no rational person would ever choose MIT over Hartwick College.

    Considering you live in a state where in-state tuition for undergrads ranges from around $5k - $10k I'd say that's very generous.

    My company pays up to $60k for all education. My former manager earned her B.A. and M.B.A. through company TA without any out of pocket. Granted, in-state tuition is much higher here so that $60k doesn't go as far but with the bulk of our workforce in New York it was a reasonable step to take. My prior employer offered $25k for undergrad and $15k for graduate tuition. Both are large multinational companies. Both are publicly traded and neither are truly exceptional in the corporate world for the benefits they offered. I have no idea what your concept of a "large" corporation is, what industry they were in or what your role was.

    Here are 33 companies you might have considered instead. This list, naturally, doesn't include the many regional and locally based companies that offer tuition assistance. Nor does it include those companies that formed corporate partnerships with for-profit schools to deliver education at a heavily discounted rate.
  14. Abner

    Abner Well-Known Member

    I worked for government a very long time. I never received a dime in tuition reimbursement.
  15. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    University of Phoenix and Western International University are owned by the same company. At that time, the format of their courses and the roles of their admissions reps were basically the same. Regardless, it was a UoP rep who handled the bulk of my admissions process.

    I said word of mouth and proximity, not just word of mouth. Honestly, there is no telling if either one of us is inaccurate. Do you have numbers to show how many students are typically enrolled at non-profits through direct recruitment?

    MIT's student to faculty ratio is 8:1. Two-thirds of their classes have less than 20 students.
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology | MIT | Best College | US News

    It is a preference if someone prefers smaller classes. Some people believe they need more interaction with their professors. Some of them actually do need more interaction with their professors. Different things work for different people.

    Most of the 4-year universities in Texas are over $7k or $8k. $1,000-2,000 is not going to cover 65% or 66% (figures Me Again gave) of your tuition unless you're attending a community college, Penn Foster, or Ashworth. Actually, $1,000 is only enough to cover 33-40% of the tuition at a Texas community college.

    I did look up how much McDonald's offers in assistance. They offer up to $700 per year after 9 months of employment. Managers get a little over $1,000 per year. It would make more sense to just get a job that pays more. By the way, some of the companies on that list you linked to offer as little as $500.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 30, 2016
  16. scaredrain

    scaredrain Member

    I think that many choose online for profit colleges because the onboarding process is pretty quick. Rarely does a student have to wait too long to have their admissions and financial aid paperwork processed. At a traditional college or university, a student may have to wait a few weeks to get things processed. Also the for profits usually have monthly start dates so one does not have to wait long to begin classes.
  17. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    sorta like higher ed impulse buying?:yeah:

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