In an effort to stem the tide of students graduating from for-profit vocational programs with excessive debt burdens and little to show in the way of technical skills and training, the Department of Education has developed regulations that require all for-profit institutions as well as all other institutions offering vocational non-degree programs to demonstrate that students are “gainfully employed” once they graduate from their programs.
According to Inside Higher Ed, for-profit institutions and vocational programs would only be eligible for Title IV funds if their graduates’ median annual payments on a 10-year loan were no more than 8 percent of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 25th percentile of annual earnings for people in occupations for which a given program prepared students. The Career College Association, the trade group that represents the interests of for-profits, has called on the department to withdraw this proposal, citing that it could make thousands of programs ineligible for federal financial aid. Head on over to Inside Higher Ed to read more:
Robert Shireman from the Department of Ed had choice words for for-profit institutions last week, comparing their business practices to those of firms on Wall Street, whose behavior led to the financial crisis we’re in. In his speech to the National Association of State Administrators and Supervisors of Private Schools, Shireman didn’t spare accreditation either, noting that they are ill-equipped to handle the quickly evolving and complex for-profit higher education industry and that they are saddled with serious conflict of interest issues. Read more about Shireman’s speech in the article Comparing Higher Ed to Wall Street over at IHE.
Last week came to a close with a report out of Business Week that the University of Phoenix is now recruiting at homeless shelters. Last fall, two recruiters made it into a shelter in Cleveland to pitch their offerings to 70 destitute men. At Drake College of Business, more than 5% of their student population is homeless–and now they could lose their accreditation because of that fact.
So tell us–what are your thoughts and experiences on these issues? Have you ever taken a course at a for-profit institution? What was your experience? Do you think they are serving a population that is often left behind by higher education, or are they preying upon vulnerable populations just to secure mounds of federal aid that pump up their bottom line?
Let us know in the comments section below!