In light of the recent closings of two for-profit universities (Jones International and Corinthian Colleges), many questions arise about stability and trust of this type of institution.
Once a cash cow industry, for-profit education companies have struggled to overcome criticism of their costs, placement rates, transferability of credit, and the quality of instruction. Because of these issues, the University of Phoenix and Jones International University have lost more than half of their students in the past five years1. Corinthian College’s network of for-profit schools once boasted over 110,000 students on 120 campuses across the country, but only served about 16,000 when it announced the abrupt closing Sunday, April 26, 20152.
Choosing a university can often be a very daunting task. There are schools of all types, for-profit, not-for-profit, regionally accredited, and nationally accredited. What do these designations mean to students?
For-profit schools are a business - that is they strive to make money for their shareholders They generally offer more associate’s degrees for entry level jobs than bachelor’s degrees that are designed for higher level or professional positions. They are often nationally accredited, far more expensive than not-for-profit universities, have exaggerated placement and graduation rates, and experience issues transferring credits to not-for-profit institutions3.
Non-profit institutions offer more diverse learning opportunities for students to help them grow personally and professionally, have higher academic standards, are more likely to be regionally accredited, offer more support for the student, and generally have a better reputation than for-profit schools. Many of the for-profit schools rent office space and do not have a traditional campus environment, while the non-profits are stable institutions with an actual campus and in many cases, an online presence4. Many non-profit institutions have been around for over 100 years.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, more than 85 percent of all colleges in the United State are regionally accredited. Why does the accreditation of the school matter? Educational credit earned at a regionally accredited institution is widely accepted and transferable between other regionally accredited schools, while a nationally accredited school might not offer the transferability of coursework.
The recent closings at Jones International and Corinthians College are leaving students stranded in the middle of the year with no academic program, no degree, and possibly without transcripts. Corinthians College has a lawsuit pending against them by the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for “falsely advertising job prospects”5 to recruit students and the Department of Education fined the college “$30million for exaggerating job prospects”6.
With the recent events in mind, it is important to really consider your options when choosing a university. Sometimes, it is better to look for a stable, traditional college degree program than look for an accelerated, job specific program.
Fort Hays State University has been here since 1902 and we will be here for you in the future. The Virtual College at Fort Hays State University offers over 40 online Associate’s, Bachelor’s, and Master’s programs, and is highly ranked for quality and affordability by many organizations. Visit www.fhsu.edu/virtualcollege/degrees/
for additional information.
1. edsurge.com 3/25/15 and educationnews.org 4/5/15
2. Huffington Post 4/26/15
3. Bankrate.com and moneycrashers.com