My Story, Part 2
How For Profit Schools Hurt Students, Part 1
How For Profit Schools Hurt Students, Part 2
How For Profit Schools Hurt Their Own Employees, Part 1
How For Profit Schools Hurt Their Own Employees, Part 2
How For Profit Schools Hurt Communities
As you can see above, I've written quite a bit in the past month or so about the problems I experienced in working in the for profit education sector. I want to stress again that most employees on the campus level, at least at my school, were doing the best they could with what they were given. Employees' hands and feet are tied by corporate policies and the threat of job loss is constantly held over them by superiors. The problem is the corporate mindset and the commodification of education.
The fact remains that there are some people for whom a traditional four-year college is not a possibility. There are those who can't meet entrance requirements, can't function socially, or who are older and looking for a career change or a trade education. There are some for whom higher education is just not feasible because they can't handle the material.
For many of these students, I think community college could be an answer. The fact remains, however, that there are still admission requirements for most community colleges. I honestly can't say that I have an answer for those students who are just not cut out for post-secondary education, but who want to better themselves. I think there are many independently owned trade schools that could be an option, but any educational venture that is run as a corporation (particularly those that are publicly traded ventures) runs the risk of taking advantage of the poor and uneducated, those who don't have other options available to them and don't know the right questions to ask when looking at furthering their education.
Many of you have expressed how shocked you are that these schools are allowed to exist. It's currently a major issue in post-secondary education that the government is finally starting to take seriously. I'm going to include a few links at the end to articles that describe how the government is addressing the predatory practices of these schools.
The most important things you can do are to support Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa, who has introduced the Proprietary Education Oversight Coordination Act, which would require these schools to be subject to a government oversight committee. You can also support President Obama and the Department of Education as they push the "Gainful Employment Rule". This would prevent colleges whose students graduate with such enormous debts that they cannot hope to pay them off from receiving federal funding and financial aid. Finally, you can support the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which has recently filed a lawsuit against a prominent for profit corporation.
A few additional resources/articles that you may find helpful:
- This article in The Consumerist provides a great overview of current legislation that would monitor and regulate the for profit education sector, as well as current lawsuits against for profit schools.
- Article from my local paper about the CFPB lawsuit against ITT Tech.
- Video from Bloomberg on the real cost of for-profit education.
- Article in The Atlantic with statistics on for-profit college graduates and employment
- This episode of Frontline (College, Inc.) provides an in-depth examination of for-profit education