But a scathing report (summary) released yesterday by the office of Iowa Senator Tom Harkin reveals how unscrupulous practices and lax oversight have resulted in a for-profit education industry that seems more concerned with turning a profit than educating students.
Harkin’s report is the result of a 2-year Senate inquiry into the operation of the for-profit education industry, with plenty of eyebrow-raising findings. Here are the highlights lowlights:
• Large numbers of students fail to earn degrees from for-profit colleges – with associate degree programs averaging a 64% dropout rate.
• For-profit colleges spent an average of 23% of their total budget on marketing, 19% on profit, and 17% on instruction.
• Most for-profit colleges charge higher tuition than comparable public colleges, with associate and certificate programs averaging about four times the cost of such programs at community colleges.
Kent Jenkins, a spokesman for Corinthian Colleges, which has 28 campuses and about 26,000 students in California, said it was troublesome that both federal and state regulations targeted for-profit colleges.
We understand that all of higher education has to be accountable to students and the public," he said. "But, if you're going to have a standard of accountability, it ought to apply to everybody across the board," not just for-profit career training schools.
Not that I support most for profit colleges, but non profits and publics should be held to some standard as well.