For-profit colleges are making headlines lately. Some are suddenly closing their doors leaving vulnerable students high and dry. What is going on with for-profit colleges and are they a bad choice for students?
One thing is clear. For-profit colleges cater to a student population that is unable to attend non-profit mainstream colleges for many reasons. Some have dropped out of high schools and picked up college education later. Some have personal and family issues that can be addressed with a program offered by for-profit colleges. Many may have careers that do not allow them to attend a traditional college and for-profits can easily accommodate many of them with flexible scheduling. Some students attend them because they offer career oriented programs.
In order to attract students, many for-profit colleges help students with Federal education funding. Some estimate more than 90 percent of for-profit colleges students rely on Federal aid including Pell Grants and low interest student loans. This is where many get into trouble. Many for-profit colleges are accused of falsifying documents and others are promising students with careers after college that they can’t deliver. They usually charge high fees and graduation rates may be lower than those traditional non-profit colleges.