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For-Profit Education is a Scam

June 9, 2011

It appears that I have been in a funk with my blogging activities, so I thought I would turn to our good friend and contributor, Oliver. He submitted this entry to me a while ago, but I haven’t taken the time to post it until now. Perhaps his entry will light the fire in me to snap me out of my slump. As always, thanks to Oliver for his contribution!

Do you need a college degree these days? Well, it depends. If you plan on attending one of the online, for-profit schools, don’t bother with it. Your degree won’t be worth it, and you’ll most likely find yourself no better off and deeper in debt!

“Tuition is rising, the job market is weak, and everyone seems to be debating the value of a college degree…the bachelor’s degree in general doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, because its financial payoff is heavily affected by what college it is from.  And the differences are striking: For workers whose highest degree is a bachelor’s, median incomes ranged from $29,000  to $120,000. Among full-time, full-year workers, median income for those whose highest degree is a high-school diploma was about $32,000.” – Beckie Supiano

So here’s a question. If a high school degree can earn you $32,000, how can you be assured that your college degree will command you a higher salary? As stated earlier in Ms. Supiano’s article, a college diploma can leave you with a salary as low as $29,000. How can you make sure that you make more than the $32,000 plus enough extra to make the high cost of college worthwhile?

“A government inquiry of 15 for-profit colleges found four cases in which campus officials encouraged applicants to commit fraud and examples at every school of officials lying about or misrepresenting their programs.” (USA Today)

Avoid for-profit schools, with their questionable online programs and too-good-to-be-true payment plans and coursework requirements! They are fraudulent; they are lying to you; they are not accredited by the same respected bodies as other universities; they are more expensive than local community colleges; they offer fewer programs and fewer certified instructors; and they will not help you find a job. All they want is your money! Take a look at this NYT article, too.

The problem here may be a Catch-22. The reason people go to these “institutions of higher learning,” which are strictly on par with your payday loan sharks when it comes to student loans, is because they believe the for-profits will help them advance their careers. If the government won’t shut down the title/payday lenders, why would they shut down the for-profit school scams?

Here is the bottom line for the student. If you go, you’re going to pay a lot more by borrowing at some of the worst possible rates. More than likely, you won’t make it all the way through. And even if you do graduate, you’ll make as much as a high school student, or at least 40% less than someone who went to a real university.

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