For-profit schools and the harm they cause

Recently, for-profits schools have been in the media for the amount of debt and low job opportunities their graduates receive.

For-profit schools tend to be expensive, with the average for-profit school costing almost five times the amount of an average community college and sometimes double the amount of a state university.

Some individuals’ reason that the cost of a for-profit school is so high is because of the supposedly high quality of the education received at the schools, however recent graduates of such schools believe otherwise.

Of students that have graduated from ITT Technical School Sylmar campus in December of 2013, only one third of the 115 class graduated. Of the one third that graduated, less than half of the students have become employed in their respective fields.

The poor quality of education received at for-profit schools is a scandal that was caused by the nursing program run by Corinthian Colleges. The graduates of the nursing program were having trouble finding jobs since Corinthian Colleges never had programs or internships for their nursing students in any hospitals.

Another problem with Corinthian Colleges’ nursing program is that for the class about psychiatric psychology, the students were brought to a scientology museum about psychiatry. The issue was that scientologists are famous for their belief that psychiatry is made up. Corinthian Colleges are now selling or closing all of their colleges, but they are leaving behind a massive amount of debt that their graduates are required to pay.

A main reason these schools are so expensive is largely because the average for-profit college spends about 25 percent of its revenue on sales and marketing. Meanwhile the colleges are spending about 10 to 20 percent of its revenue on teachers.

So what is the reasoning behind someone choosing an expensive school with low graduation and employment after college rates? Mostly because for-profit schools tend to not care about GPAs or test scores.

Steve Kivisto used to work as a recruiter for for-profit schools. Kivisto, a 1997 graduate from the University of Minnesota, worked as a recruiter after graduation before finding a better job. He left after working there for a short while because “working at a for-profit school made [his] skin crawl.”

“It’s easy for young adults who want to better their lives to get sucked into a for-profit school. Some of them may have messed up their grades in high school or dropped out and received their G.E.D. Either way they want a better job with higher pay, and recruits for for-profit schools will guilt trip them into attending the schools,” said Kivisto. “The quality of education the students receive isn’t very high, and in reality they’re basically just buying a diploma.”

The students who do graduate from for-profit schools may end up with a high amount of loans that need to be paid back. The debt the average for-profit graduate has is almost $40,000 and with low employment rates for these graduates, that debt is harder to pay off.

St. Catherine University is not a for-profit school, but it is a private university, making it more expensive to attend than a state school or community college. Undergraduate students who graduated in 2013 had an average of $39,000 in debt, almost as much as a graduate from a for-profit school.

A student at St. Kate’s receives a higher quality of education than a student at a for-profit school, as well as adequate training for its nursing students and other fields where training is required. Students at St. Kate’s also pay for food and housing, whereas students at a for-profit school do not. While the high amount of debt makes sense for a private university, it does not for a for-profit school that lacks a high quality of education, adequate training in the field, or food and housing.

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