For-profit colleges are a foreign and confusing concept for many people. They are private institutions, as are many non-profit colleges, but they are run by companies with at least some focus on making money for investors and stockholders. There is a lot of concern about the for-profit system, particularly regarding the quality of the education these school offer, the debts their students rack up, and their funding sources.
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According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, in the last 20 years, enrollment at for-profit institutions has increased 225 percent. As of the 2010-11 school year, for-profits now held around 12 percent of postsecondary students. These colleges have attractive perks, many of which are especially alluring for people who can only go to school part-time. These can include flexible scheduling and enrollment, online courses, and small class sizes.
Critics of for-profit colleges say students who attend them often get saddled with extreme debt and have few employable skills to show for it. This may add to the severe student debt crisis with which our nation is struggling. It also brings into question whether these institutions deserve the sizeable subsidies and grants they receive from the government. Several states and the federal government have some taken action against for-profit colleges, increasing their accountability for the education they offer and the money they take.
Read more about for-profit colleges:
National Conference of State Legislatures: For-profit Colleges and Universities
National Association for College Admission Counseling: The Low-Down on For-Profit Colleges