The Freshman Class: For-Profit Colleges

Thursday, September 02, 2010

In our first installment of a new series about becoming a college student today, New York Times reporter Tamar Lewin addresses for-profit higher education.


Tamar Lewin

Comments [19]


CL from New York said, "And no sane hirer is going to regard a degree from Phoenix "University" as comparable to one from, say, NYU or Columbia." As a certified HR professional, I have to let you know that the name of the school is not a predictor of performance on the job. So we don't really take much notice of where someone went to school. And to say that it does matter really discounts all the 'non-profit' community colleges or other schools who are not at the same name-level of NYU or Columbia, but yet prepare many students for worthwhile careers.

Sep. 26 2010 07:12 PM

I am just flabbergasted. Is it criminal for hard working people to be given the opportunity to get a college education? What Jennifer proposes harkens back to a 'separate but equal' philosophy.

Sep. 26 2010 01:15 AM

For profit colleges are ridiculous. The only way we can justify these types of institutions and ensure that they're actually delivering a product worth paying for is to insist that the students attending them pay for them outright. No student loans! That way the students will rightfully demand to learn the skills and have the employment prospects as advertised and the schools will have to deliver. It's just criminal that these schools receive student loan money!

Sep. 05 2010 09:22 AM
Jane Parker from Northeast United States

As someone who benefited from a 'non-traditional' college education, I can testify that my education was stellar. I was privileged to work with some of the smartest faculty in the United States today. And I worked very hard for every credit I earned. Are there 'diploma mills' operating who are just in it for the money, of course. However, not everyone can get into Princeton or Harvard and much of the education in those schools is stale and does not have much to do with real life. Prospective students need to use their common sense and investigate the institutions they are seeking to attend. We all benefit from an open dialogue about how to provide a good education to those individuals who want to improve their lives, but cannot attend a traditional college. Schools like University of Phoenix, Capella and Kaplin have very dedicated educators and students who do not deserve the derision espoused here. I work with doctoral students at a 'for-profit' school and my students are doing 'cutting-edge' research while serving in the military, teaching your children and nursing the sick in your hospitals. I am very proud of the work I do and I do not appreciate the condescension being expressed by those who are obviously ignorant of the reality of getting a college education in today's world.

Sep. 02 2010 02:47 PM
CL from New York

Come on-- this is a silly discussion. "For-profit colleges" are different in kind from traditional colleges and universities. The quality of the students, the in-class experience, and the higher goals (decidedly not "job-training') at established, respected institutions of higher learning have nothing to do with "profit." And no sane hirer is going to regard a degree from Phoenix "University" as comparable to one from, say, NYU or Columbia. And as far as high tuition costs go, listeners should know that at the majority of the most elite schools-- Harvard, for example-- those costs are drastically reduced in accordance with financial need. And some might be surprised to learn how reasonably that need is defined (a student from a middle class family typically qualifies for a large tuition reduction). The majority of the students at Harvard do not pay the advertised full tuition.

Profit-driven educational institutions are almost universally a scam and simply a waste of money. The "degrees" are laughable.

Sep. 02 2010 11:10 AM
Joe from

When looking for a degree program regional accreditation is not enough as they do not specifically look at the quality of the specific degree program's curriculum. The use of professional accreditation for a specific degree specialization is the key as some programs deceptively advertise that we "model our curriculum after...". The only way to guarantee quality is to go to the specialization accreditations such as the NCATE (for colleges of education teacher training), APA (for psychology programs), CACREP (for counseling programs), ACPE (pharmacy). Even not-for-profit programs could suffer quality unless they submit to the highest standards of that professional training - specific program accreditation. Students and parents are advised to do their homework ahead of time!

Sep. 02 2010 11:06 AM
Norman from NYC

Roy said:
>The schools say that unlike a traditional university, they can create a course in days. Whereas at traditional colleges, it takes years to get a class up an running.

When I went to college, one of my best classes was Freshman humanities. It took 2,500 years to get that class up and running.

Sep. 02 2010 11:01 AM
esquared from NYC

How about the Continuing Education that are being offered at universities such as NYU and Columbia? Are they acting like a for-profit college, or are they just an extension of the universities offering that program?

Sep. 02 2010 11:00 AM

Also a lot of these people can't get into the equivalent traditional schools like community colleges because there is no room. And, if we are making more demands on young people that they need a college degree, these for profit schools will continue to flourish.

Sep. 02 2010 10:58 AM

Here is the WSJ article

Jack's college is called: Chancellor University System LLC.

Sep. 02 2010 10:57 AM
Norman from NYC

It's not a credential, it's vocational training that's supposed to be useful. Do they get jobs?

Germany trains its workers all the time, especially when they're unemployed. It works well in Germany.

Sep. 02 2010 10:54 AM
PETE from bk

Can your guest talk about Jack Welch's current involvement in for profit colleges.

Sep. 02 2010 10:53 AM

Actually this topic was covered extensively by Frontline back in May. And Lenord a few weeks ago.

They say that they are saving many small town colleges from going out of business and closing their doors permanently.

Also they claim that they can respond to the demands of the marketplace faster. The schools say that unlike a traditional university, they can create a course in days. Whereas at traditional colleges, it takes years to get a class up an running.

Sep. 02 2010 10:52 AM
Norman from NYC

These are vocational schools.

What job did they prepare you for, and did you get a job in that field?

Sep. 02 2010 10:52 AM
nj jakers

many of the smartest, and most admirable parents i know in this small, working class take online vocational programs once their kids hit kindergarten. (they either work part time or as substitute teachers and are seeking to expand their marketable skills. many were in real estate at one time).

Sep. 02 2010 10:51 AM
Norman from NYC

These are vocational schools.

What job did they prepare you for, and did you get a job in that field?

Sep. 02 2010 10:50 AM
Siouxie from Bronx

I didn't realize I went to a for-profit institution for one year for a medical administration certificate. Got a federally subsidized loan, and now owe over $5,000.

I am still unemployed, and I now realized I was totally duped.

Sep. 02 2010 10:50 AM
Norman from NYC

Some proprietary vocational schools are required to disclose their placement rate.

Are these schools required to do that?

Sep. 02 2010 10:48 AM
Mike from P

Shorter answer: NO

They are a ruse to trick non-college educated people into paying money that they don't have for empty promises. Anyone who says otherwise is hypocritical and would easily pick a resume that had Univ. of Wisconsin, Princeton, UCLA over a resume that had Philosophy Institute or Kaplin hands down no contest.

Sep. 02 2010 10:45 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.