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Social Mobility, the ability to get a leg up and leverage a foothold on the ladder into vertical motion, is the holy grail for anybody who works with or lives in poverty.  

For those that subsist on the ground floor, beneath the bottom rung of the American ladder, whether millionaires pay their fair share is less important than rent.  

Today, Arne Duncan explained that post-secondary education is still the key to social mobility in this country.  He told the American People that "Going to college, by far, is the best long-term investment any individual can make for their future."

Now, many of my students aren't even sure that they can (or even want to)finish high school.  My classroom is filled with second-chancers who have already lost the ability to graduate in the traditional fashion, so when one of them comes around and decides that they want to go to college, it's a moment of celebration and it becomes our job to breathe energy into whatever has kindled the small flame inside.

But that's hard to do when college often means Everest, Devry, AI, or UEI.  

A few days ago Laura, one of my students, came in to show me something.  She was excited.   She'd been researching colleges and had settled on one.  She pulled out a brochure and my heart sank.  She wants to go to UEI.

If you've not heard of it, you can use any one of the thousand other for-profit career-technical schools as a reference point.  UEI specializes -- as many of them do -- in low-end certificated employment programs like "Criminal Justice" (TSA Screening, Gaming Observer, Security Guard) and Business Office Administration (secretarial school).

"What do you think?" she asked.

What do I think?  I think that we need to be more specific when we talk about post-secondary education being the key to social mobility.

I think the same thing I think when any predator snags new prey.  I think the same thing I do when anybody falls for a cheap line.  I think the same thing I do when somebody I know tells me that they're reading Dianetics.

What do I think?

I think the for-profit post-secondary education industry is the single most horrible thing to happen to education and social mobility in this country in the last generation.

Education may be the key to social mobility, but education is not what the for-profit colleges offer.

Education cannot be done for a profit because education, the process of taking somebody who is knowledgeless and unskilled and transforming them into a skilled and knowledgeable contributor to society, is definitionally unprofitable.  The people that require education require it because they do not yet have the capacity to earn.   A For-Profit University cannot make money educating people, so therefore their mission is not fulfilled through education.

The for-profit nature of the institution's  mission  means that education is not an end product, but a means by which the institution can reap profit.   And since their students are low-yield on that front, the school's chief focus is not on them.   The institution's chief focus must be on the students'money-gathering properties.

Recently, the General Accounting Office investigated the for-profit university scams.  They focused on 15 colleges and found that all 15 engaged in deceptive and misleading practices.  Four of the fifteen engaged in outright fraud.  Even Wall Street is souring on the for-profits because the model is truly unsustainable without rampant dishonesty.

Laura, just like most all of their other students, will have to take out loans and the school will do whatever it can to ensure that she receives them, including fraud, deceit, and trickery.

And what she will receive in return for her ability to gather money for her corporate master is a debt load and a useless degree that will trap her permanently in the underclass.

$10,000 in debt in order to earn $15 per hour.  

$10,000 in debt to learn skills similar to the ones that we used to teach in public school vocational programs.

A poor girl will go $10,000 in debt in order to support corporate profit.

Fuck For-Profit Colleges.

That's what I think, but what do I say?

"I think it's good to be looking at college, Laura, but are you sure that this is the one you want?"

She is.  She wants to do Dental Assistant.

I nod and suggest we look at the website.  I pull it up and we begin to go through what she will need to do for her degree.  It's an 8-month program.

I ask her whether this is what she wants to do for the rest of her life.  She shrugs. "I can get a job with this.  I want money."

I open the link to the required regulatory information and show her the figures.  I point out that only 37% of the students finish the course in 8 months and that even then 1 in 5 are unable to find a job.  Another truth of the for-profit university world is that a graduate is more work and less money than a drop-out.  A person that completes the program is reflected in the job-placement statistics and, frankly, there aren't that many jobs out there for dental assistants and even fewer for other programs.  It's better for the university to have students go for an extended period of time, max out their loans, and drop out before completion.  The college gets the same amount of money either way.

Then I show her that the median loan debt for her program would be nearly $10,000.  

She looks at me, shocked.  She reaches over and goes to the "FAQ" section and tries to open the link to "How long will it take me to complete my training program."  The linkis broken (this is a fairly common trick in the for-profit university world.  None of the FAQ links for UEI work.  At the Everest College site, the link for articulation agreements from their regulatory pagefails to load, so there is nowhere on the site that explains that your credits cannot be transferred to any other institution should you decide to switch).

"What the fuck am I gonna do?" She asks, "I don't want to owe no $10,000"

So I opened the LA City College website and showed her that they offer an identical program, with actual college credit, for $2,772 plus books.

Our community colleges are overcrowded.  They are trimming programs left and right, their campuses aren't clean and shiny, but they are the socialized alternative to the privatized, for-profit,  trap and they do an amazing job for our young people.

We look at the program together, we look at the costs, the classes, the books (LACC's website doesn't require you to give contact information before you can review the programs, another way they are different from the for-profits.  LACC won't call students 180 times to try and convince them to attend.  They attract students by being good, they don't have to promote themselves through high-pressure sales tactics, glossy ads, and deceit.

By the time we're done, she's sold.

Socialism works when it comes to education.  And even though Republicans are hell-bent on destroying public education so that their corporatist backers can reap more profit, they haven't closed them all yet, so that's where Laura will go instead.

Reposted from my personal blog

Originally posted to Eminently Credulant Musings on Tue Nov 29, 2011 at 05:59 PM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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  •  Tip Jar (318+ / 0-)
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    Credulant (adj): Something that is not fully credible because it is unsourced but it sounds true so it is accepted without argument.

    by xajaxsingerx on Tue Nov 29, 2011 at 05:59:25 PM PST

    •  they feed at a public trough created by centrist (20+ / 0-)

      deregulation and "market" models of education similar to the charter school movement and home schooling. Add to that the cost of pseudo-public utilities and the imperfection of crony capitalism reveals the 1%'s motives to increase their share of the 99%'s wealth. We're on how many decades of this with no end in sight if we allow the Koch-ists to continue to operate.

      Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above"Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) refusing to have a battle of wits with unarmed people since 1980

      by annieli on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 07:15:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Do you mean online "schools" for homeschoolers? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        207wickedgood, LynneK

        'Cuz my experience with homeschooling doesn't involve paying anyone for anything, except for choosing to join with an ad-hoc collective of other homeschoolers offering their expertise in certain subject areas (such as Japanese language immersion with a native Japanese speaker for my daughter). The group comprises only other parents and some community members, and is not backed by any of the corporate predators seeking to drain our pockets.

        In addition, we still pay school tax to support the public schools (this year, our ed tax bill was double our property tax bill, so we make no small contribution to our public schools - which we support unequivocally, because not everyone is lucky enough to be able to do what we can do for our kids).

    •  For-profit college revenues (25+ / 0-)

      When you look at the balance sheets for for-profit colleges or career schools you see that almost all of them derive 80% or more of their revenue from Federal student loan programs. In other words, very few people think it’s worth it to put up much of their own cash to go to school there. In practice, the students are just vehicles for transferring money from the government to the schools.

      Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. - Groucho Marx

      by Joe Bob on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 08:26:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  In fairness, the people who go there tend to go (4+ / 0-)

        because they don't have a whole lot of their own cash to begin with.

      •  And what % of the public colleges (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joe Bob

        revenue comes from Federal student loan programs? That's what my kids have used for community college and state universities. There are probably more scholarships at the public schools.

        Some of the willingness to pay depends on what the options are. I taught LPN and RN (AD) students at a for-profit career college. The RN students especially were trying to get around the wait periods at the community and state college programs. One student had come from CA because the wait there was 5 years.

        That said. The cost was worse than a community college. Worse, the school teaches to the test. The State Board. They claimed to have a really high pass rate. There were no books, the students got a Palm thing with all their 'books' and references. It was horrible.

         I had a lot of differences in what the students were supposed to be putting in the patient care plans. The expectation for what they needed to know about pathophysiology was seriously inadequate. (Imagine trying to learn the anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology of the kidney functional units from a Palm screen.) Same for drugs.

        There has been a problem with 'reality shock' for graduate RNs starting their first job for 4 decades. The problem is even worse now - the numbers quitting in 1 - 5 years is really making the staffing situation more dangerous. Even the lousy economy is not a deterrent for many.

        "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

        by Ginny in CO on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 07:55:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  What percentage? A lot less. (0+ / 0-)

          It's hard to directly come up with a number but one can make a good inference. It varies quite a bit from state to state but on average a public university derives about 35% of its revenue from tuition and fees.

          Federal student loans and Pell Grants account for about 50% of the funding sources students use to pay for school. So, if 35% of revenue is from tuition and fees and half of that is Federal grants/loans, then the average public university derives 17.5% of its funding from Federal student aid programs.

          Then again, it's not really a good comparison because a public university also gets another 55% of its funding from direct state and federal appropriations.

          What the numbers do tell you though is that private for-profits are largely financed by via student loan debt and public schools are not.

          Meanwhile, what you describe is travesty of public policy. On the one hand you have a community college with a 5-year waiting list. On the other you have Federal education student aid being converted into profits for a private enterprise. I think those two things are somewhat related.

          Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. - Groucho Marx

          by Joe Bob on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 09:03:23 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Much cheaper to go to a community college (48+ / 0-)

    and get pretty much the same education.

    That news needs to get out you say, they are overcrowded as well.

    However, if someone does want to get a further education after coursework at a community college that is a cost effective alternative...and even necessity for some.

  •  Very good point (60+ / 0-)

    A quality education can not be paid for by the individual student (who is often young, unskilled, and relatively poor). Like fire protection, police protection, environmental protection, and (dare I say it), health care, the cost of education must be borne by the community. The right calls it socialism; I call it civilization.

    "Shared pain is pain lessened; shared joy is joy increased."--Spider Robinson

    by Maggie Pax on Tue Nov 29, 2011 at 06:24:59 PM PST

    •  In Germany, tuition-free university is an option. (34+ / 0-)

      That is some real internalizing of externalities. (Society benefits from education more than it pays.) That many people are willing to go to the tuition-paying universities reflects not poor quality on the part of the free universities, but simply that costs are generally low anyway and there is choice in programs and location for students.

      People in this country don't understand economics.  It's one thing to have a city with demographics skewing towards a liberal arts degrees (Portland) and another to have a broadly educated workforce that is broadly applicable (which we don't tend to have).  Having a broadly educated workforce is enormously beneficial to the US economy.

      "However small your audience is, however frustrating it is to get your version of the world or what you want to talk about out there, it’s part of the conversation. And if you shut up, the conversation is one-sided" -- John Sayles

      by Nulwee on Tue Nov 29, 2011 at 11:43:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Time for some Green Eyeshades! (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      boojieboy, rhubarb, Sparhawk, Amber6541, debedb

      We need to evaluate which types of education actually give a return to society.

      Head Start and K-12 clearly need to be publicly supported. There is a strong case for Art and Music in K-12 also, as it can be shown to increase learning in other areas.

      Community colleges give us a good bang-for-the-buck -- but for-profits don't. That's pretty clear.

      Things become murky when we examine bachelor's and master's programs by major. I can see subsidizing Math, Science, and Engineering. I see a lot less evidence for subsidizing college-level Art and Poetry classes.

      The Diarist saved a student from paying $10,000 and 8 months for a non-useful degree at UEI. This is a good thing. Would we have approved if the student proposed to borrow $100,000 and spend 48 months on a degree in Art, Music, or Poetry?

      I'm very familiar with for-profit post-secondary schools. They deserve all the scorn heaped on them, and more. We must not subsidize them because what they offer is not worth the cost.

      But they're not the only ones that deserve a hard-nosed cost/benefit examination.

        •  Competitive scholarships? (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          debedb, akeitz, Dvalkure, fumie, ManhattanMan

          Maybe the answer is to have competitive scholarships for the fine arts, which would be awarded on a truly merit based system rather than "who do you know."  

          There is some return to society to have people studying art, music, or poetry even if they aren't born wealthy.  At the same time we shouldn't be subsidizing people who just clearly don't have the talent to actually get a job in those fields.  

          Things like literature, history, other social sciences, etc, are kind of in the middle between the hard sciences and fine arts.  There are a lot of transferable skills that can be gained from studying those subjects, not to mention that they are necessary for a democratic society.  Although it can be hard to find a job--universities need to do a better job preparing their history/English grads for the job markets.  

          Business and engineering schools can also play a part by not just allowing but encouraging or even requiring their students to get a strong background in the humanities and social sciences.  

          •  I know a lot of music majors (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Cassandra Waites, zett

            who aren't extraordinarily gifted but get to be pretty good performers (and often excellent teachers) because they are stubborn and study and practise like hell.  Inherent talent (and often the money for lessons and music camp from age 3 on) should not be the only determinants for who gets to study music.  

            In my experience with many different music teachers some of the best music teachers are not the most stellar performers but they know how to teach it better because they had to fight to learn it themselves.

            Also college music study can lead to other careers such as music therapy, which is becoming more and more recognized as helpful for autism, mental and physical illness.  The star performers are probably a lot less likely to enter these fields.

            I agree science and business majors should also study the humanities.  I'd argue for some good ethics classes as necessary also.

            Democrats give you the Bill of Rights; Republicans sell you a bill of goods!

            by barbwires on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 03:48:59 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  asdf (11+ / 0-)
        Would we have approved if the student proposed to borrow $100,000 and spend 48 months on a degree in Art, Music, or Poetry?

        You're not supposed to borrow $100,000 to get an undergraduate degree in anything.

        Indeed, people who do this are part of the problem:  not only is it personally destructive to borrow $100K for a college degree, but people doing this is a big part of the reason college costs are so high:  universities are happy to hike their prices to accommodate the supply of easy money.  So these kids are ruining it for the rest of us.

        In an ideal system, (1) nobody would even loan you that much money, and (2) borrowing that much money would get you an automatic F in your core competency mathematics requirement, and you would not be able to graduate.

        Linking to a news article is journalism in the same sense that putting a Big Mac on a paper plate is cooking.

        by Caj on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 08:30:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  $100,000???? Where? (12+ / 0-)

        The Ivies, Little Ivies, Seven Sisters, and other Tier I liberal arts colleges offer generous scholarships, grants, and work-study that will pay for all or most of the tuition for bright but low-income students.  Most of them are actively recruiting students from working class and minority families (a few years back 25% of the first-year students at Smith were from families where no one had ever attended college, let alone a school of such quality).

        College should not be a glorified vocational school, especially since most people change careers repeatedly during their lives.  What we need are people with the intellectual training to learn new skills, and there is nothing better for that than a liberal arts education.

      •  Universities are not vocational education (3+ / 0-)

        and we certainly shouldn't be "subsidizing" students to enroll in bachelor's degree programs for no other reason than to boost their earning potential...though I would note that the business world does have myriad uses for people who know how to read and write and communicate effectively, skills which are often in short supply among the math/science/engineering crowd.

        "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

        by Alice in Florida on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 12:38:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  To give you the liberal arts spiel: (5+ / 0-)

        the purpose of liberal arts (even the scientific fields) is to teach you how to think critically, how to analyze, how to write cogently, how to learn.  And these are skills that will serve you well regardless of career.  

        Whatever you think of reading or writing poetry, any English program worth its salt will teach its majors to write well.  (Or as well as they are able.)  This may sound minor, but think of how much of even the business world is about being able to communicate in writing.

        In the halycon days pre-Bush, I knew people who majored in completely unrelated fields who went on to work in computer science or business.  What they had demonstrated by attending colleges with good reputations and doing well there was that they could learn, adapt, communicate, finish tasks.  That was what employers were looking for.

        Maybe those days will never come again, but I don't think a poetry major has two choices for employment, teaching poetry or pulling coffee.  That's not even the point of a liberal arts education.  (And hey, if they want to major in writing poetry and pull coffee... who are you or I to tell them no?)

        •  Sure, a lot of this stuff... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          ...can be useful.

          But does it require 4 years and $100,000 to teach someone how to write?

          The Diarist pointed out that a Community College could provide the same thing as a for-profit school for much less money.

          I say we put certain fluff 4-year degrees under the same microscope.

          •  Compared to Prison (0+ / 0-)

            Education seems like a bargain.  It costs about the same per year and those who get it give back to society.

            And I have a feeling that people who can write are also probably much less likely to go to prison.  Being able to write, paint, play an instrument, dance, or understand world history creates self-respect, and most people with self respect don't do things to land themselves in prison.

            One man gathers what another man spills

            by John Chapman on Thu Dec 01, 2011 at 12:48:53 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  and, it has been my observation (34+ / 0-)

    disproportionately target minorities in their rather slimy recruiting practices.

    You're right- it stinks to high heaven.

    Anyone who scoffs at happiness needs to take their soul back to the factory and demand a better one. -driftglass

    by postmodernista on Tue Nov 29, 2011 at 06:25:38 PM PST

  •  Bless you (40+ / 0-)

    for steering your student in the right direction, toward the community college.  It's sickening what for-profit corporations have done to people in saddling people with debt and giving diplomas that are not worth much at all.  It should be illegal, and the Department of Education should cut off funding for those programs that aren't delivering real skills for students.

    BTW, I am a graduate of DeVry University Columbus-- I got a subsequent degree in information technology about 10 years ago, and I am now a computer programmer/engineer with a pretty good job.  This was a 1-year, on-campus program, and my instructors knew their stuff.  I think there is a difference between accredited bachelors' programs and others that are just diploma mills.  The prospective student has to be careful and has to check out the program thoroughly before making the commitment.

    "Do I have any regrets about the hard votes I took?" No. Not at all...and I never will. --Mary Jo Kilroy

    by Kurt from CMH on Tue Nov 29, 2011 at 06:44:58 PM PST

  •  Community colleges are truly a last chance (13+ / 0-)

    for many. Including my brother, who is now an engineer at Northrop Grumman.

    Having said that- the 80% placement rate you cited for the dental program is actually not bad. Is taht really 80% placement into that career path, or just 80% employment?

  •  #4 son (45+ / 0-)

    wanted to go to AI to get a degree in "culinary arts".  18 month program was $52,000.  The room was included but not the board.  He could have gone to a community college in a neighboring state for $5,000, exact same program.   He backed out and I was quick to get my registration fee back and we were hounded for a year.  I was introduced to the scam that these schools are.  I also think that the 4 year institutions are to the point of being a scam too.  When I graduated with a teaching degree in 1979, I paid $8,000 for my 4 year stint.  My starting salary would have been about $14,000 in the depressed area I moved to so I would have been ahead as far as salary to debt.  Now a state school is $60,000 or more and the starting salary for a teacher is $32,000.  This is a rip off and not conducive to a functioning society.

    And she's good at appearing sane, I just want you to know. Winwood/Capaldi

    by tobendaro on Tue Nov 29, 2011 at 07:42:48 PM PST

  •  It's a total racket (44+ / 0-)

    I work at a state university, used to work at the College of Medicine. When there was an opening in admissions for the College of Medicine an admissions person from Keiser was interviewed. Her one question "What would my quota be?"

    Everyone who heard the story was horrified at the idea.

    "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." -- George Bernard Shaw

    by Inspector Javert on Tue Nov 29, 2011 at 07:46:31 PM PST

  •  well done (37+ / 0-)

    Getting someone to change their already-made-up mind is one of the trickier things in life.

    You succeeded by presenting facts, and not letting your emotions cloud your ability to speak effectively.

    Dianetics. LOL

    Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

    by LaughingPlanet on Tue Nov 29, 2011 at 07:47:55 PM PST

  •  University of Phoenix online ripoff University (30+ / 0-)
    "Pitiful excuse for an education, sub-standard practices, terrible counselors, deceptive company, credits DON'T transfer and the degree is NOT as respected by employers as the recruiters would have you think!"

    A comment I saw on about UoP.
    It's right down there with the worst of them.

    "We are a Plutocracy, we ought to face it. We need, desperately, to find new ways to hear independent voices & points of view" Ramsey Clark, U.S. Attorney General.

    by Mr SeeMore on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 12:25:51 AM PST

    •  Ain't that the truth (5+ / 0-)

      When I see a resume that says University of Phoenix (or any similar program you see advertised on late night television) it gives me a negative impression almost worse than if they had no post-secondary school at all. I think: not only do they have a crap degree but they don’t have the basic savvy to avoid a scam like Univ. of Phoenix. I have a lot more respect for any education that comes from a public community or technical college.

      Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. - Groucho Marx

      by Joe Bob on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 08:45:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sad to hear that (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Zwoof, Brooke In Seattle, francophile

        I have an MBA from University of Phoenix and believe me I worked hard for it and I wasn't stupid to go there.  When the GOP talks about elitism this is why. Don't judge people for going somewhere.  Fix the system so that there are other options.  

        •  Let me explain. (8+ / 0-)

          If you’re going to judge a job applicant in part by an education credential you have to make some judgments about the value of that credential, and that’s not elitism. Good schools are good in part because they have selective admissions that weed out weak candidates and rigorous programs that further weed out poor performers or identify them with low grades. Just looking at how for-profit schools work, producing high-quality graduates is not built into the business model.

          My perception of for-profit schools is that their products: degrees and credentials, are inherently tainted. For-profits have a financial incentive to enroll students. The natural inference to be made is the barrier to entry is low. Similarly, the school has a financial incentive to keep students enrolled,  not flunk them out. I also have to wonder if the school is going to make its customers unhappy by giving them bad grades when they are deserved.

          Aside from all that, as far as price most for-profit degrees are a total ripoff. Where I live, you could get an MBA from a very respectable program at the state university for 40% less than what Univ. of Phoenix costs. That’s what really makes me question the judgment of people with those sorts of degrees. Why in the world would you pay that much more when there’s no value there?

          Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. - Groucho Marx

          by Joe Bob on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 10:59:53 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Maybe (0+ / 0-)

            But these programs are popular. Over 200,000 people have graduated from the University of Phoenix. Are those all fake degrees? I think it comes a time when alternatives to a behind state system are needed.  On the other hand the rip off career colleges should be fixed but the two shouldn't be in the same conversation.  Verizon pays for employees to attend University of Phoenix.  Is this corporation dumb

    •  How can that be? They sponsored "Education Nation" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:


    •  An acquaintance of mine did UoP for a while (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      radical simplicity

      He was really annoyingly gung-ho about it for a while, like someone who has just discovered Amway and wants all his friends to sell it too. Then, after a while, it was never mentioned again. I ought to ask him what happened--thanks for reminding me.

  •  Predation has always been rampant in America (20+ / 0-)

    It just feels like lately it's become so . . . respectable :-(

    So mainstream.

    Ideology is when you have answers before you have questions.
    It is what grows into empty spaces where intelligence has died.

    by Alden on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 02:48:24 AM PST

  •  College is still the vehicle to social mobility? (6+ / 0-)

    It's oft been quoted that those with college degrees earn more than those without college degrees.  The real question today is this...For the number of people going into debt to obtain college credits and degrees, are there the jobs to sustain them?  Based on the amount of debt it is now taking to get to that level, is there a supporting job market?  I'm looking at the job market and I am unable to see where the future is.  Maybe someone else has the knowledge and vision, but I am not seeing it.  What I am trying to say is that, although for profit technical schools serve only themselves, I am beginning to think that the whole college/university system is doing the same.  I still think it is worth getting an education if you want to study something, but I don't think going thousands of dollars in debt in order to find a career is worth it.  I am really starting to think that the educational system that we have is self sustaining and self serving.  It's early and I am not sure if I am expressing myself clearly, but I am losing belief that education is the way to go.  Perhaps someone out there reading can point me in the right direction.  But where will the jobs be in the future?  If advising a young person, which direction would you point them in?  

    " is believing what you know aint so." Mark Twain

    by nyskeptic on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 03:50:12 AM PST

    •  Services (10+ / 0-)

      Who do I call for work?  Plumbers, electricians, air conditioning experts.  Think about it.  I am not handy, I'm a CPA.  Once I find someone I like and know I can trust, I call them again and refer them to my friends.  Hopefully the same way I get new clients.  That said, I still think an education is important whether it leads to a job or not.  Apparently the education "business" has passed me by.

      Corporations are people my friends, yeah well so is Soylent Green, so I don't find that very comforting.

      by FTL BILLY on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 06:50:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I absolutely agree with you (0+ / 0-)

        I think for a while we lost the understanding that there is honor in actually working with your hands.  My son is an electrician with a very good job.  At one time people looked down on blue collar work.  But, as you said, if you need something done, you have to hire someone, and more importantly, you can't outsource a carpenter or plumber.  

        Agree about education.  I am closer to retirement age than career seeking age, so any education I obtain at this point is for me not for the sake of a job.  I would dearly love to finish my bachelor degree in history, but don't have enough money for the last 10 classes.  If I finish, it will be for me.

        " is believing what you know aint so." Mark Twain

        by nyskeptic on Thu Dec 01, 2011 at 03:00:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  My two cents (6+ / 0-)

      I would learn as many practical skills as possible as cheaply as you can.  I am a member of the much-maligned doom lobby, so I am of the belief that simple things like farming, trades, foreign language proficiency, and basic medicine are going to be of more value in the future.  I read Kunstler a lot, and his suggestion might be to learn about trains.  At the same time, read as much as you are able so that your mind keeps expanding.

      Maybe another way to put this would be to have a skills diversity, much like a healthy ecosystem has species diversity and a healthy population has genetic diversity.

      A terrible beauty is born. --W.B. Yeats

      by eightlivesleft on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 07:50:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Think about the future (9+ / 0-)

      What will be major challenges facing our societies?

      Two certainties:

      1.  Generating, storing, and distributing energy on which the world relies

      2.  Finding, developing, protecting, and delivering potable water, without which life would be impossible

      Food, to me, is a subset of these two.  The chances of sea level rise and dealing with that are less certain than the two I've listed, but that's certainly an area to watch.

      So -- if you accept that 1 and 2 are two of the most important challenges we as a species will face, my advice would be to examine what your aptitude and interests are, and then see if you can apply them to either or both of those challenges. Permitting, engineering, geology, biology, chemistry, construction, waste management -- all are fields that are tightly interwoven into these two challenges.  Look for a role there.

      For example, I'm a hydrogeologist.  Have been for 30 years, with continuous employment during all the ups and downs of that time. It's not for everyone: you need to be able to get through partial differential equations, you need an aptitude for physics and chemistry, you need to understand key geologic principles. But if you have that aptitude and interest, it can be a great career; with starting pay in the $50K range out of school and top pay in the $90K to $200K+ range depending on your role.  

      My particular role is as a consultant, which is at the upper end of the pay scale.  It's a particularly good field to be in because it forces you to be adaptable and really hones your problem solving skills. Plus, if my employer decided to cut me loose because of my age or some perceived performance problem, I have relationships with clients and attorneys I'm confident I could easily leverage into an independent consulting arrangement that very likely would increase my income over my current salary (since my overhead would be so low and the going hourly rate consultants earn, $100 to $200 per hour, would cover my current salary even at relatively modest level of hours charged).  

      I would advise anyone with math and science aptitude to look at these two fields.  They're not exclusive. Take my field of hydrogeology, for example. A lot of work I do is focused on studying and cleaning up contaminated land to protect human health and to protect the quality of water resources. That's on the water supply side. However, thermal power plants need cooling water, groundwater heat pumps are growing in popularity, and geothermal development all rely on water supplies, so hydrogeology is applicable to them as well.

    •  It's a general statement (5+ / 0-)

      Get into the specifics and you'll find plenty of exceptions. Of course it depends greatly on what college you get your college education from, what you major in, and how deep into debt you have to go to get that degree.

  •  I have to add that the Obama/Duncan agenda (7+ / 0-)

    is not much different from Republicans . Obama's "Race to the top" royally screws public schools. Though unlike Bush his plan will close "only 5%" of the under-performing schools (or 10% ?), he is going after teachers union in a way Bush could never do. Schools in minority communities will be the ones taking hit - very likely to be closed/converted to charters. Teachers won't want to work in these schools for being fired because of bad test scores. These students will be the ones suffering from poor quality education, drop out  and likely to be sucked into by  for-profit colleges which promise an easy way to careers. Obama is enforcing this by attaching conditions when dangling money to schools to save teachers jobs etc. Which Bush had never done. Sigh, if only Obama had attached conditions to aid for Wall street terrorists in return for delivering Dem votes to Bush-Paulson Wall street terrorist rescue plan....

    "The word bipartisan means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out”. - George Carlin

    by Funkygal on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 04:04:45 AM PST

  •  Yep. Scumsucking scamsters, preying on the poor (9+ / 0-)

    It costs a lot of money to be poor, and for-profit "education" schemes like UEI, Devry, ITT Tech (and on and on) bleed them even more than most corporate vampires.

    The entire business model of these despicable "schools" is built around glomming onto student loan money, then kicking the students to the curb when they are shackled to tens of thousands of dollars in education debt they'll never be free from. The "school" gets the cash, the student gets the debt millstone around his/her neck, and society is deprived of another skilled worker.

  •  The unfortunate thing (10+ / 0-)

    I always had dreams. Even when I knew in my head my dream was over, my heart wouldn't give in. I went to a small university on scholarship . Regardless of pissing it all away, I kept the dream until it was gone - I MEAN FULLY GONE.
    I joined the Marines and here I am.
    The heartbreak of your story is the dream. Was that ever really anyones dream at 17 , to be a dental assistant ?
    THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH BEING A DENTAL ASSISTANT , but people settle on that at 17 now ?

    I'll argue with anyone that college should be there for every single person who wants it. Some want trade school, which should also be there - electrician, pipe fitter etc. I have no idea where I am going with this.

    I would suggest to any kid ,  GO TO COLLEGE. It is a foot in the door , and if your a good worker a foot in the door is all you need .  My military experience , age and degree have me now at a job I hate, working for a corporation that sucks with people who are a bunch of back stabbing climbers who think being good at slandering people is better than being good at your job ( aka Corporate Employees) and I can't change.
    Want to know what . I could have no job. My degree got my interview and my stunning personality and awesome looks got me the  job (I need a personal affirmation damn it)
    I can only say this - go to college. Working at a job you hate sucks, but being unemployed sucks even more

    you can't remain neutral on a moving train

    by rmfcjr on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 04:38:12 AM PST

  •  This professor says 'Right On, Brother'! (24+ / 0-)

    There have been good exposes on this legalized scam

    Even in lean times, the $400 billion business of higher education is booming. Nowhere is this more true than in one of the fastest-growing -- and most controversial -- sectors of the industry: for-profit colleges and universities that cater to non-traditional students, often confer degrees over the Internet, and, along the way, successfully capture billions of federal financial aid dollars.

    In College, Inc., correspondent Martin Smith investigates the promise and explosive growth of the for-profit higher education industry. Through interviews with school executives, government officials, admissions counselors, former students and industry observers, this film explores the tension between the industry --which says it's helping an underserved student population obtain a quality education and marketable job skills -- and critics who charge the for-profits with churning out worthless degrees that leave students with a mountain of debt.

    At the center of it all stands a vulnerable population of potential students, often working adults eager for a university degree to move up the career ladder. FRONTLINE talks to a former staffer at a California-based for-profit university who says she was under pressure to sign up growing numbers of new students. "I didn't realize just how many students we were expected to recruit," says the former enrollment counselor. "They used to tell us, you know, 'Dig deep. Get to their pain. Get to what's bothering them. So, that way, you can convince them that a college degree is going to solve all their problems.'"

    Graduates of another for-profit school -- a college nursing program in California -- tell FRONTLINE that they received their diplomas without ever setting foot in a hospital. Graduates at other for-profit schools report being unable to find a job, or make their student loan payments, because their degree was perceived to be of little worth by prospective employers. One woman who enrolled in a for-profit doctorate program in Dallas later learned that the school never acquired the proper accreditation she would need to get the job she trained for. She is now sinking in over $200,000 in student debt.

    Read more:

    I view this as rougly the moral equivalent of the for-profit prison industry; in other words, an activity which is not only morally extremely questionable, but reflective of a deep moral sickness in society as well - the organized effort to keep down the underclass because no one wants to actually contribute public money for, you know, all those poor people to actually get ahead in life.

    An empty head is not really empty; it is stuffed with rubbish. Hence the difficulty of forcing anything into an empty head. -- Eric Hoffer

    by MichiganChet on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 04:57:17 AM PST

  •  On the We Are 99% Tumblr Site (11+ / 0-)

    There were several testimonials like, "I have three Master's Degrees from the University of Phoenix and I speak six Rosetta Stone languages. $300,000 in debt and I still can't find a job!"

    The exploitation -- just horrible.

    "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

    by bink on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 04:58:29 AM PST

  •  I shoulda taken up plumbing a long time ago. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    esquimaux, salmo, elmo, cai, cpresley

    I'd be rich by now. I don't see an alternative to toilets and faucets in the near or far future!
    Where are those real trade schools? There were trade high schools in NYC back in the sixties - had a bf in electrical apprenticeship in HS to journeyman afterward. What happened?
    What about trade high schools for green job prep?

    #Occupy, exposing the US police state to the world.

    by OleHippieChick on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 05:47:53 AM PST

    •  In Europe, at least here in Italy (4+ / 0-)

      you are tracked into a profession or trade according to your high school.  Those who want to go onto university go either to a "classical" high school or a science and math high school.  There are also high schools for fine arts and languages.  Then there are the trade schools which prepare medical technicians, surveyors, and day care/nursery school teachers.  

      It's actually a very good set up, but despite this, there are millions of young people (under 40) with university degrees who just can't find a job.  Their univ. degree is more like our masters level, so they're even more highly specialized than we are.  I think it's an economic dilemma that all of Europe and North America have to contend with.

    •  In Florida plumbers must have (0+ / 0-)

      expensive "malpractice" insurance unless they work for another plumber with "malpractice" insurance from what my neighbor who worked in the business said to me.

      Air conditioning is probably a better bet since the possible damage is much less and specialized tools are required that do-it-yourselfers don't have.

  •  There are exceptions in the technical colleges (9+ / 0-)

    I graduated from DeVry Institute of technology in Phoenix. I received a BSEET. It has regional accreditation. When I graduated in 1983 they had a 90% plaement rate for graduates of their degree program. Don't know what it is now but it did right by me.

    Slow thinkers - keep right

    by Dave the Wave on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 05:51:57 AM PST

  •  Amitted based on eligibility for govt student aid (6+ / 0-)

    lthe conservative view of every government spending is to turn it into a trough for pigs.  

    Student loan programs, Pell grants etc are now revenue sources for these for profit schools.  Like Defense spending and the desire to privatize SS, GOP wants these programs abused.  It's win win for them.  Cronies get rich and government programs are seen as corrupt and failing.

    •  Not "revenue sources". THE revenue source. (11+ / 0-)

      I worked for one of these scum corporations briefly.  The government student loan money is THE primary revenue source and the "admissions" department has absolutely NO academic standards at all.  The "accountability" meetings they have each week with the admissions and financial aid people are to determine where each victim is in the process of application for student financial aid Title IV funds, not whether they have sufficient academic skills or ability to perform the work in secondary education.

      It is a sad, sick system and the placement, default rate and crime statistics for the "campuses" are also extensively manipulated.  

      They should be put out of business.  I have worked in legitimate secondary education.  These places are most certainly NOT, by any stretch of the imagination.  The Title IV accreditation standards need to be significantly upgraded to put these diploma mills out of business.  Unfortunately, they make a LOT of money and pay their people above average wages to do the dirty work, and probably spend as much on lobbyists as any pharma or defense industry group, and they get what they pay for.  Sigh.

      "When people show you who they really are, believe them." - Maya Angelou

      by Pennsylvanian on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 07:43:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you for this! (27+ / 0-)

    I teach at a community college in my town.  I see a lot of students like Laura.  I love these students.

    Some of my students are high school students using our state's "secondary option," where they can take college courses while high school students, for free.

    Some of my students are drop outs from other colleges, back home, chastened, learning not to party all week.

    Some of my students are parents who didn't go to college the first time around and are discovering the limits to their career options, and are taking a second chance at their education.

    My class is a fully accredited college course that should transfer to any university in our country. I've sent students to the local decent 4 year school, to a few localish privates, and to 2 year police training programs.  I've had a lot of nurses in my class, either RNs returning for their BS degree or aspiring nurses.

    And let me tell you, they are receiving a bargain education.  My students pay a fraction of a private 4 year college's tuition, and they are receiving quality instruction from a Ph.D.

    Please, keep spreading the word about our excellent CC system.  More students need to take advantage of it rather than going deep into debt at these for-profit institutions.

    DailyKos: Saving us from "The Oligarhy of Teh Stupid", one diary at a time.

    by Exurban Mom on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 06:07:13 AM PST

    •  Most CC instructors do not hold Ph.D.s (0+ / 0-)

      The GOP has become the "Jerry Springer" party.

      by ConcernedCitizenYouBet on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 06:54:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  it depends (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Betty Pinson, cai, Cassandra Waites

      Some CC institutions are quality educations that may rival the local 4-year institutions, but many are not. Obviously the community colleges deal with more of the students who underperformed (for whatever reason) in high school and so they're still dealing with those issues, they have to deal with bigger class sizes, and many of the teachers coming into them are unprepared at first and/or teach extremely heavy course loads (cutting into time spent per student). The CC's are clearly better than the for-profit scams, but I've seen many students coming out of CC's with good grades and having learned very little as a result, less-prepared for competing in the job market but also just not having the education that their transcript suggests they do.

      Now, whether the difference in price reflects the difference in quality, that I would probably agree with many that the CC usually offers better bang for the buck. Many of the four-year institutions are stuck in between offering a luxury college experience (which is worth more than just the help in acquiring jobs to many people) and preparing students to be employed. I'd love to see some ideas for getting college tuition under control without sacrificing the student educational experience too much. Reducing administration and infrastructure spending may be a key. E.g. Does a small 4-year college really need a brand new science building? Sometimes yes, but often the money spent on it is not worth it in terms of gains for the students (it is much more a recruiting tool, but it drives up costs).

      •  The big state unis are also very tough to get in (0+ / 0-)

        The quality of community college applicants, especially those who plan on transferring, is higher than it was even just a few years ago, because so many of the state universities are bursting at the seams and can only take the top ten to twenty percent of their applicants.  So many rejected or waiting list students will opt to go for a community college or smaller regional college, with plans to transfer to the university later on.  It's not a bad plan - the tuition is cheaper, and lots of the satellite campuses are close enough to the big institutions where they may not even need to move if their transfer is accepted.  And since many of the instructors are shared between the campuses (or graduated from the university and now teach their area of expertise at the community college because they liked the town they live in), the quality of education at the smaller schools is sometimes quite high.

        Keep your religion out of my government.

        by catwho on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 07:01:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Big difference in programs. (0+ / 0-)

    The UEI program looks like it trains people to work in a dental office.  The LACC trains people to work in a dental lab.  When I think Dental Assistant (to the extent I think about it at all which isn't much) I think Dental Hygenist.  That sounds more like what your student was interested in doing rather than making dental appliances.  I agree the for-proft schools are rip offs but in terms of dental programs you may be mixing apples and oranges.

  •  Nonsense (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "Education cannot be done for a profit because education, the process of taking somebody who is knowledgeless and unskilled and transforming them into a skilled and knowledgeable contributor to society, is definitionally unprofitable. "

    Some defining, I'd say. You are talking not about some vaguely defined "skilled and knowledgeable contributors to society," but people who want training in a specific skill. What about giving music lessons? That can't be profitable? Tutoring in academic subjects? Lessons in computer use, embroidery, for real estate licenses, hair styling, Italian, public speaking, restaurant cooking ...?

    •  As a former chef (14+ / 0-)

      I can say with some certainty, through my own experience and conversations with other chefs, that somewhere between %80 and %90 of for-profit trained cooks are totally useless in a professional kitchen.  And those are the ones that graduated, according to them there is a insanely high attrition rate at for profit culinary schools.  Where as every chef I've worked with that went to the CIA, a non-profit culinary school, were highly skilled at graduation.

      •  Anecdotal (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        However, I'm not claiming that any one school is better or worse than any other, merely contesting the foolish thought that, by some "definition," for-profit schools are incapable of turning out competent people.

        Let me oppose my own anecdote. For many years I worked for a for-profit company that operated a high school program for kids who couldn't be in a normal school (mostly for kids in show business). The kids I taught ran the gamut, and most of them didn't go on after high school (making too much money to quit show biz). But 3 of my former students went to Harvard, another to Yale, another to Columbia and yet another to NYU and yet another one of the UCAL campuses. It was definitely part of the sales pitch for the high school program that our graduates were up to snuff.

        •  It is anecdotal (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dirtdawg, cai

          and apparently universal.  Every chef I've worked for thinks for-profit culinary school grads suck.  I've worked with externs from a local for-profit culinary school.  It's scary.

          •  Also anecdotal, but I've had the same experience (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            scotths, cai

            When I was working food service, whenever we had a chef's position open, we would be flooded with students from the local, for-profit culinary school. As soon as that school's name appeared on an application, it was basically put to the side.

            I asked the owner about this and he told me those graduates are more trouble than they're worth. Maybe that was unfair, but that's how it was.

          •  That's interesting (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cai, akeitz

            I'm going to start asking chefs specifically about this. I photograph the dining column for my paper and am in a small, usually chef-owned restaurant each week. I've shot nearly every top chef in Cleveland — and we have many. My guess is that most worked their way through a succession of kitchens. Usually when I talk to their sous chefs or pastry chefs or whatever, they are people who trained with them or with someone they knew — not someone who came out of a culinary arts program.

            Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07.

            by anastasia p on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 12:39:23 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Not to speak for the diarist, but (4+ / 0-)

      I guess I would refine the argument a bit: It can be profitable on an individual level to impart a certain skill to someone else, particularly if that other person is paying back not just in money, but in doing work for you. Such as the relationship I have with my graduate students. the concern however is severalfold:

      1) It is much more profitable to run a diploma mill - or even a non diploma mill - than to invest all the sweat equity needed to truly educate someone, especially if your goal is a broad education rather than just imparting a narrow set of skills (apologies in advance to the musicians who may be reading this)

      2) Most of these for-profit 'colleges' are publicly traded companies, meaning they have a fiduciary responsibility to maximize profits for the shareholders, rather than benefits for the clients (as by the way health insurance companies are).

      3) Private companies are by definition not responsible to the electorate meaning they largely escape public scrutiny; further more the barriers to entry are low and they no doubt attract sam artists, even if they also attract those who have the noble motive of primarily educating people.

      4) Economies of scale are really not necessary to teach someone to play "stairway to heaven' on the guitar. they sure help in educating a mass of people, something a government is better equipped for.

      So I see your point, but I would maintain the diarist is funadmanetally correct in that by and large there is a conflict between profit and education and thus for-profit institutions (as opposed to struggling musicians) should be viewed with a healthy amount of suspicion

      An empty head is not really empty; it is stuffed with rubbish. Hence the difficulty of forcing anything into an empty head. -- Eric Hoffer

      by MichiganChet on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 08:57:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Music education is sort of different (0+ / 0-)

        Musicians go into their careers knowing that they will probably be poor, that they will work long hours, that they will have to pay lots of money for private instruction just to get a foot in the door, that they will in turn be asked to help educate more musicians in order to help make ends meet.  They do it anyway, because professional musicians love music, and they really aren't working at all when they're doing it.  

        Keep your religion out of my government.

        by catwho on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 07:05:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  A different perspective (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I understand that there are large problems with many for-profit institutions, however, I disagree that they are all bad.

    The school where I teach is for profit and I can tell you that, for us, a drop out is not better than a graduate.  It can affect our accreditation and can lead to the student's financial aid being returned leading to bad debt for the school.  

    On a more personal note, what I love about my school is that we give the students a hands-on look at the field in which they intend to work.  I spent months coming up with sufficient documents to allow my Litigation students to conduct discovery and put on a trial.  And we do something like this for each of our classes.  We teach them all of the practical stuff that I was never taught in law school.

    We all have the same ideals ... the same goals. It's our road maps that differ.

    by KentuckyKat on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 06:30:41 AM PST

  •  I worked for City and Guilds in the UK (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Betty Pinson, SneakySnu, cai, catwho

    I only had the job for 6 months and I thought it was a great idea.

    Basically they help people set up apprenticeships in multiple multiple fields and provide guidance on how to run apprenticeships and at the end they evaluate and provide certification for those people in there trades.

    They are a charity by the way and not for profit.  They also hold a charter from the government.

    Look it up it's a great idea.  I believe they have been around since 1878.

    Canadian amazed by and addicted to US politics.

    by Mikecan1978 on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 06:42:53 AM PST

  •  A Lack of Demand (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kevin k, esquimaux, cai

    I went to a Career school back in the late 70's to learn
    computer Programming. Worked out well for Me. Things
    were a LOT different then. Back then, there was a REAL
    Demand for folks that could write Code. I have been Back
    to school Twice since just to stay up to date.

    Not much Demand these days. At least not here in the
    United States. Much more Profitable to EXPORT the work
    to China, India, Mexico or Indonesia.

    On Giving Advice: Smart People Don't Need It and Stupid People Don't Listen

    by Brian76239 on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 06:43:05 AM PST

    •  Yet COBAL programmers (0+ / 0-)

      - supposedly fetch upwards $200,000 a year working for the banking industry, because they still haven't ported their database systems over to anything more modern.

      IT has an unemployment rate of about half the national average.  The demand is very high for people who know Java and HTML5, and more specifically who can handle API calls and write apps for mobile phones.

      Keep your religion out of my government.

      by catwho on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 07:07:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good for you! I have told my (7+ / 0-)

    wife, who works at a high school with the same demographics to do exactly what you did. One of her students wanted to be a vet tech and talked to her about going to one of these for profit schools. I researched her program and found her a much cheaper alternative at a community college. Good diary, T&R.

    P.S. Arne Duncan is a liar, and a fraud. He also happens to be a great example of why I don't trust President Obama.  

  •  I would add (11+ / 0-)

    that getting a degree from a respectable university leaves many students in much the same situation.  My son has a BA (cum laude) from Columbia College in Chicago, one of the leading arts schools in the country and has gone 18 months without getting a single interview.

    And is in debt just as badly as the students who go to the for-profit dodgy schools.  The whole system is a disastrous mess.      He has experience in editing, sound, after effects, all aspects of film and video production and is working part time as an usher in a theater with a load of debt and growing more depressed by the day.

    by KibbutzAmiad on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 07:02:06 AM PST

  •  I used to work for one of these schools. (9+ / 0-)

    I won't say which. I was horrified to see these kids brought in and within an hour be talked into signing up for a program. The recruiters worked like used car salesmen. It's not entirely their fault though, because it is commission driven- they're just trying to do their job.

    The teachers were mostly there really trying to help the kids learn. At least that was a good thing.

    But can you imagine going for an appointment and an hour later, leave that building having applied for an eight thousand dollar loan? Bring 'em in, give them the tour, take the fee, and straight into the Financial Aid office. I feel guilty for working there, but I was young and dumb.

    the people look like flowers at last.

    by ClapClapSnap on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 07:02:38 AM PST

  •  I was in a fast food restaurant (11+ / 0-)

    when I overheard one of the counter staff telling his co-workers that he'd been contacted by the Art Institute of Atlanta, and that they were going to give him a tour the following week.  

    I wanted to get him aside and tell him, "No! By no means let these people get their hooks into you! You'll be paying for it the rest of your life." But of course, that wasn't possible. The guy would never have believed me--it would have just been creepy.

    So I remained silent as I watched one of the 99% about to be offered up to the god Mammon.  The vampire squid would have its blood. And so it goes.

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 07:03:51 AM PST

  •  Thank you! (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rhubarb, kevin k, cai, akeitz, Cassandra Waites

    This industry seems to be exploding in recent years, since the economy went downhill.   Our local corporate owned news media and GOP 'ers keep touting these things, always finding new ways to spend taxpayer funds on them.

    We had an intern in our office a couple of years ago who attended one after leaving military service.  He said that, for the cost of the private career college, he could have attended an Ivy League university.  Students going in have no idea how expensive it can become and how little they end up with.

    "I'll believe corporations are people when Texas executes one."

    by Betty Pinson on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 07:06:08 AM PST

  •  Public (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    radio had a program on a few months ago about financial aid and these programs- pell grants. Kids enroll, get their aid, drop out, and start all over again. They use the money for living expenses.

  •  The economist Robert Frank (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cai, akeitz, Cassandra Waites

    has a good discussion of the economics of education in his 2007 book, The Economic Naturalist.  It's worth reading in total, but basically, he makes the point that not-for-profit education is better, in part, because of our tax laws:

    In sum, nonprofit institutions have an advantage over their for-profit counterparts because part of their revenue comes from tax-deductible gifts.  Such institutions are thus able to spend more per student, even if for-profit institutions operate at zero profit.

    Free speech for humans!

    by teresa1958 on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 07:14:34 AM PST

  •  Aren't they all for profit? When UC Davis is going (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    In a few years- it will cost $100,000 to get a bachelors. 8 years ago it costs $15,000.

    After you graduate- then what?
    Half the people in the nation make less than 27k a year, and that's if you can get a job.

    These online "universities" wanted a piece of the action, if the university system wasn't so corrupt they wouldn't exist.

    •  Disruptive technology... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ...will soon set its sights on higher education.

      Right now, you can get excellent, world-class lectures in all kinds of subjects from outfits like Khan Academy.

      At least for basic courses, why shell out that kind of money when resources like this exist? For what?

      Additionally, I see student loan availability drying up quite a bit in the future.

      Sooner or later, higher education is going to assaulted by sharp deflationary pressures. Prices will fall, because the colleges will have no choice in the matter. Cut prices, or watch tumbleweeds blow through your empty classrooms. Your choice, colleges...

      (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
      Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

      by Sparhawk on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 09:11:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  hopefully that is the case but, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        you could say the same for medical care.

        Advances in technology should have driven some medical costs down- but prices only go in one direction.

        •  Well (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Education at the end of the day is transferring information from one place to another.

          Medicine is a lot more about "doing stuff", medical procedures, development and manufacture of expensive materials, etc, a bit harder to deflate. The other issue is that demand increases inexorably: in 1945, if you got cancer you just died. Now you survive, but it costs $250k, and that cost has to be paid by either you, an insurance company, or some level of the government. As new lifesaving but expensive treatments keep getting produced, medicine might be able to keep deflation at bay for awhile..,

          (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
          Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

          by Sparhawk on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 09:47:27 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I hope you're not saying (3+ / 0-)

        that there isn't any added value to bricks and mortar colleges, right?

        Part of the value of college isn't just the classes, it's pushing people who grew up in rural Wisconsin to meet people who grew up in inner-city Chicago, or allowing those who grew up in the suburbs of an American city to meet people who didn't grow up in the U.S. at all.  And reducing the overall level of mistrust between different groups of people.  

        In so many areas, schools being the most notable one, we're pushing online programs at the expense of bricks and mortar programs for short-term cost cutting.  The long run cost, though, is the deterioration of our communities.  

        There is a role for online programs in many cases but we should also give greater thought to what we're losing by eliminating in person programs.  I fear we're running headlong into a situation of "You don't know what you got till it's gone."

        •  For me, the value of my physical classes - (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Killer of Sacred Cows

          - is the networking.  I could just as easily learning SQL and JBoss in online only classes.  But the value we're getting from our professors is that their students who were successful and now own or work for companies come in, meet us, and network with us.  My LinkedIn contacts list has doubled in just one semester.

          Keep your religion out of my government.

          by catwho on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 07:11:45 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  I don't know the specifics of UC system, but (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cai, catwho, Killer of Sacred Cows


      State support for public universities has plummeted over the past decade as seen a huge decrease in state support for higher education.  In Wisconsin, it has gone from over 40% support to around 20%...and that was before this year's cuts and supplemental cuts.  The only reason that our tuition has not gone through the roof (it still has increased) is because state law has capped tuition increases.

      Now, another argument about "corrupt" public university systems.  (using WI numbers...) Let's say that tuition for a university is $20K per year.  It sounds outrageous.  However, the local school district in that community probably spends around $10K per year on each K-12 student.

      Currently, tuition at my university is around $6500 per year, plus an additional $2000 in fees (some imposed by the student government association for things like a student union and recreation center).  The private high schools in that community charge a tuition of around $12000 per year (with some subsidies from their Church communities) and the public school district spends around $9500 per child.

      Yes, some universities are incredibly costly.  But, many are reasonably affordable.

  •  bad language alert! (6+ / 0-)

    "Socialism works when it comes to education. "

    We are falling into the trap of letting the wingnuts define the way we talk.  Everything they do not like is "socialism."  

    That goes for anything public, as well as a host of other things (like other people's religions).  Anything that is not making a profit--it must be socialism!

    And for people who hang out in conservative circles, the word "socialist" also means "godless" and evil.

    One of my friends who teaches at in a phD education program (state university) says that she gets these candidates  who ask her in all seriousness, What is it about our education system that makes it socialistic? You know, their preacher told them it was, but they can't see it...

    Before socialism was ever invented, the value of public education was understood. Our founding fathers believed in doing things that benefitted the COMMUNITY, before anybody ever came up with the word socialism.  Religious communities lived the life before anybody ever invented the word "communist."

    We have let the right hijack and redefine the whole idea of doing anything that benefits the community (in such a way that some of our neighbors will automatically think it's scary and evil and godless.)

    Don't allow their stupid binary thinking and categories to live in the way that WE talk.

    •  Personally (6+ / 0-)

      I am fine with the term socialism.  It's not a bad word.  Socialism is simply the idea that collectively and under state control a system can be set up to serve the people.

       I'll stop using the term socialist when they stop using the term conservative.

      Credulant (adj): Something that is not fully credible because it is unsourced but it sounds true so it is accepted without argument.

      by xajaxsingerx on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 07:41:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think you don't understand (0+ / 0-)

        exactly what this term means to the other side. It's a very strong negative, in ways you don't seem to grasp.

        And in the 1930s when FDR set up many programs to do exactly what you say--have the state serve the people--he carefully avoided this word, for the reasons I've stated. And same with Eisenhower. Big on infrastructure, which he pitched as patriotism & making America strong.

        Last week there was a story on my NPR affiliate about a meeting between Tea Partiers & Occupy movement people. This occurred in Memphis, and the Tea Partiers set it up.  They also hired armed guards for the meeting--there were hundreds of them and two "Occupy" folks.  When asked why all that armed protection, the Tea Party head said that family members and friends of his "had died fighting Communism in Vietnam" and he was afraid these people would attack them violently, because socialists and communists were out to destroy America.  

        Hysteria? You betcha.  But I don't want my public schools to get caught up in this craziness and end up as collateral damage.

    •  Pot, kettle, black. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      scotths, pot
      "Socialism works when it comes to education. "

      We are falling into the trap of letting the wingnuts define the way we talk.  Everything they do not like is "socialism."

      In many cases I'd agree with you about republican messaging shaping democratic messages, but in this case, you're the one who's bought into their line.  Somehow, you think Socialism is 'bad'.  It's not; it just is.

      Before socialism was ever invented, the value of public education was understood.

      Socialism is merely when the state (village, town, city, state, province, country, empire, etc) maintains a monopoly on a good or service.  This is usually done in trust for the public, because it's recognized that private ownership of the resource or service would be detrimental to society.  Thus, in America, we have a socialist school system, a socialist highway system, a socialist parks system, socialist regulatory systems, etc.

      Socialism was 'invented' in the dawn of man when a few people decided that, hey, yeah, our tribe 'owns' this grazing land, but everyone in our tribe ought to be able to use it.  Just because someone coined a term doesn't mean that they invented the concept.

      •  I don't think socialism is bad (0+ / 0-)

        But my red state neighbors are a whole n'other story. They really believe socialists are coming to kill them. And that socialists "hate America" etc etc. Because Fox News told them so.

        There are just a lot of other ways to talk about this without using their terms.  

        Unfortunately, whether we like it or not, in the 20th century, socialism came to mean something related to enemy states. In my state, this is what people still think it is. We are many years away from getting people to understand otherwise. This is the term they use to demonize things--and often this is done via the church (hence the "godless" angle).

        and in the meantime, we stand to lose our public infrastructure because some wingnuts have decided that it's "socialist."

        Words have power, including negative power. This word may not be a negative for you.  But it is a very strong negative for lots of people.

  •  My master's degree is from a diploma mill (4+ / 0-)

    and I'm not proud of it.  

    The up side is that because I had a excellent BA already, and the academic skills to excel in any program, it actually doubled my salary the month I graduated.  So it did what I needed it to do, and it did it in half the time at twice the cost -- a tradeoff that worked for me.  And actually, I learned a fair amount, because I couldn't help doing my best on every assignment.   The down side is, they would have given me the same A's for incomplete and crappy work -- as I saw in most of my un-prepared and/or opportunistic classmates.

    Before that big raise I got, I worked in job training, and taught software skills in grant-funded programs.  I had a lot of students go into short-term vocational programs they couldn't succeed at and wouldn't finish, and wouldn't be well-qualified if they DID finish -- but they still owed the loans and had squandered the grants.   Pima Medical College, I'm looking at you!

    Public community colleges are an essential and cherished part of an opportunity society.  I entirely endorse the contents of the diary: almost ANY public community college education is a FAR better option for young people who end up in overpriced private "certificate" programs.  

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 07:31:12 AM PST

    •  Me too (3+ / 0-)

      I also hold a Masters from a for profit university. I experienced much the same thing you did as far as seeing sub par work receive top credit. In every post course survey I suggested that the quality of the work I was seeing was not graduate level. In fact it was embarrassingly bad with blatant plagiarism, poor sourcing, and terrible writing. I explained that I felt that it took away from the experience and gave me the impression that students and professors were not taking it very seriously. That was extremely disappointing.

      I graduated and the degree also did what I needed it to do; I got a better job with a significant increase in salary and responsibility, but I am hesitant to advertise my alma mater. That is the most disappointing part.

      You can't help but imagine the disdain from others even though the course work was actually quite challenging and educational--I learned a great deal. Regardless, the reputation of for profit schools clouds even the best efforts of its students.

      Citizen, Sergeant, US Army (Former), Veteran OIF 1

      by liquidbread on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 08:17:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Terrific - Thanks from a prof. (6+ / 0-)

    I had an advisee a few years ago who transferred in from a for-profit with about 1 1/2 terms worth of academically usable credits. She was unprepared for the rigors of real college work. Fortunately, she was smart - just inexperienced at this level - and after a couple of terms found a major she loved and in which she could succeed. She is now even taking an overload with permission. Snagged one back, anyway.

    "Maybe this is how empires die - their citizens just don't deserve to be world leaders anymore." -Kossack Puddytat, In a Comment 18 Sept 2011

    by pixxer on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 07:37:25 AM PST

  •  frontline (5+ / 0-)

    did a documentary on this several years ago: college inc. one just needs to extend the thinking a little more to arrive at this conclusion.

    1. these companies seek out existing accredited schools and invest in/buy them
    2. the accreditation enables the companies to collect student loans
    3. a lot of money is spent on marketing, to gather the types of students who will need student loans
    4. keep overhead low by using online courses etc. to raise profit margins
    5. increased profit margins raise stock prices for companies
    6. taxpayer foots the bill, as loans are never paid back and students are totally screwed, getting crappy instruction so they can't find jobs, and incurring significant debt they will never be able to pay back
    7. capitalism wins and call it a day

    this is pretty obvious, and has been so for some time. don't expect any changes.

  •  Community Colleges: not JUST a 'last chance' (10+ / 0-)

    The other cool thing about cc's is the variety of regional course and program offerings. For example...

    My daughter is super bright (a 'genius' if IQ test results mean anything, which, frankly, I don't think they do). After sort of slogging through 3 years of college, in the honors program and majoring in philosophy and pre-law, she finally said, "Dad I can't take this anymore." She hated it. She quit and now goes to a great community college where she's studying sustainable farming. She works on the campus farm, outside, every day. She's worked on tractors. She's in heaven.

    My point: it's hard to find those programs outside of community colleges (unless you want to go to Sterling or somewhere like that and pay $45 grand a year).

  •  My spouse just interviewed for a job (8+ / 0-)

    at a local "Arts" school.  He has a sales background.  The job was "recruiting students".

    Tuition?  $85K.   Students would 'qualify' for federal loans.

    Culinary arts,  graphic arts, etc.

    Biggest Scam Ever.

  •  Not only do we need to rejuvenate our (4+ / 0-)

    community college system, we need to rethink the role of vocational training, either in schools devoted to occupational training or as part of a general curriculum at the high school level.

    I can't remember how often I've thanked my 8th grade shop teachers for exposing me to the art and craft of building and fixing things and I remember many classmates who had a gift for working with their hands.

    We have too many people who want to be money/paper shufflers and who emerge from college with backgrounds ill-suited for survival and employment.

    Schools should be offering the state-of-the art technical training which can now only be found in the military.  It's a good way to take those who have good math and science skills but don't want to be engineers and give them training as technicians which many domestic industries are having a tough time finding or replacing as they retire.

  •  Not just tech/vocational schools (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ER Doc, mithra

    Just about all for-profit universities are conducting a scam of one sort of another. Harvard's endowment was so vast it was supposed to lead to zero tuition for every student admitted, until the people running the investments got ponzi-schemed. So in Harvard's case you have a literal scam leading to students getting scammed (along with the maintenance of the bright dividing line between students of means and those without).

    You can find such examples across the board among the "top" universities in the nation. Predatory vampires seeking to suck America's families dry so that a couple of administrators can afford summer houses.

    •  Harvard is not for-profit (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It has a huge endowment, yes, but it's not in business to make money, pays no dividends, and is not publicly traded.  Ditto the other elite schools you decry.  

      •  None of those things matter (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        What matters is: is the education you get at Harvard economically worth the price you are paying for it?

        (I am not going to hazard an answer to this question, it's rhetorical).

        If the answer is "no", it doesn't matter what the college's endowment is, whether it is in business to make money, or not. It's still a scam.

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 09:16:24 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ludicrous (2+ / 0-)

          Given how quickly fields and careers change,  calling a school that actually teaches people how to think, learn, analyze, and adapt a "scam" is ridiculously short sighted.  If anything, it's the "practical" fields that are the scam, since a degree in computer science or engineering is obsolete in ten years, if that.  

          •   College is either... (0+ / 0-)

            ...economically worthwhile, or it isn't. No matter your major, your earnings potential must increase or you are wasting time and money.

            /Eng degrees may go obsolete eventually, but many liberal arts degrees are obsolete today, at least economically

            (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
            Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

            by Sparhawk on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 12:16:59 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Skulls and Bones (Yale) (0+ / 0-)
          Averell Harriman was Thor, Henry Luce was Baal, McGeorge Bundy was Odin.
          William Howard Taft and Robert Taft were Magogs. So, interestingly, was George Bush.

          George W. was not assigned a name but invited to choose one. According to one report, nothing came to mind, so he was given the name Temporary, which, it is said, he never bothered to replace;

    •  A couple of administrators affording summer house? (0+ / 0-)

      I don't begrudge the salary that Chancellors and Provosts earn at most universities.  They have expertise, paid their dues, and work their asses off.  Yeah, they get compensated at 3-4 times my salary...but they earn it.

      A Dean may earn twice my faculty salary...but they are responsible for a college with well a multi-million dollar budget, well over a hundred staff, and thousands of students.

    •  I personally know (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      - a needy, very bright and talented girl who got the "free" tuition at Harvard you're talking about.

      The endowment wasn't a guarantee that every student would go to school for free.  But it allowed Harvard to scoop up the valedictorian of one of the top high schools in the country, who wanted to study neuroscience, but whose father was merely an Army sergeant and whose mother wasn't even an American citizen when she was born.  Far be it from a top 1%er, she was closer to a bottom 30%er.

      Harvard gave her a free ride for four years.  Every penny covered of the $60,000 bill, each year.  Because they wanted her that badly, and she accepted because she wanted to go to Harvard that badly too.

      She now has a Dr. in front of her name.

      Keep your religion out of my government.

      by catwho on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 07:17:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Just be careful (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ER Doc, Apphouse50, Tuttle, banjolele

    I have attended two online universities after spending 2.5 years at a physical university and 7 years away from college after that.   The biggest problem with the I hate for-profit argument is that all schools are bad and provide no value.  This moves up to HR managers that dismiss resumes from online universities even when people like me probably worked a lot harder than the 18 year old that could lay in bed put on pjs and roll to class leave class party, football, basketball etc..

    I went to one online college owned by the state of NJ.  Very affordable, but still  online.Took 51 credits in 1 calendar year and earned my BA degree.  Then attended the University of Phoenix and earned my MBA.  Both while working full time and dealing with outside circumstances.  

    When you discuss hating for-profit schools please focus on technical schools.  hc/business/criminal justice certificates.  

    Most of the larger online universities offer good programs at a higher cost.  People like me pay that extra cost because I can't attend local college. Need convenience and updated technologies.  My program was challenging and I believe I have earned something from both degrees.

    Sorry for the rant, but I hate people bashing what I did.  I worked hard to do it and if our politicians did there job it wouldn't matter where we went to school there would be jobs for them.

    •  The numbers don't lie (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      esquimaux, cai, Cassandra Waites, catwho

      I suggest you look at graduation rates from your for-profit school vs regular public and nonprofit colleges. It'll be ugly. Then look at student loan default rates. Also ugly. I can pretty much guarantee this, having followed this issue for a long time - there are no real for-profit success stories. Maybe you got out unscathed, but that's like saying an auto mechanic is great because he didn't scam you, even when he scammed half the customers who walked in the door.

      Nobody here is bashing public or nonprofit online programs, by the way. The criticism is against for-profits. Here in MN, public universities offer online degree programs for a fraction of the cost of these companies. And my alma mater, a private nonprofit, pioneered online education in Oregon - people can get their degrees from that school from anywhere in the US, for less than the cost of any of the for-profit programs.  There's also a huge new government backed online initiative I read about a while back, "Governor's University" or something like that, which is sponsored by states. It's dead cheap.

      Perhaps you're right that MBA programs aren't that much different. But perhaps that is due to the general uselessness of that degree, and the fact that even at nonprofits it is run as a profit center for the school.  In other words, most MBA programs are focused on shallow corporate culture and don't really have an academic focus (beyond creating busywork that has little to do with the real business world). I have yet to work with a generalist MBA who demonstrated any added value for having the degree.  The whole idea appears to be a sort of rube goldberg device designed to make people feel and look as if they've accomplished something. At the most prestigious schools, its main value is networking.

      •  My local uni offers online courses for $150 (0+ / 0-)

        A total, total, TOTAL bargain.  Granted, that isn't for their degree programs that are BA on up, but they definitely offer certification programs and technical training as well.  

        Keep your religion out of my government.

        by catwho on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 07:20:37 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I have to question whether a degree earned (4+ / 0-)

      in one year can be equivalent to a degree earned in four, especially while working full-time.  

      I think you have bought into an idea of lazy four-year college students that is just as unfair as saying online classes have no value.  Maybe it was the culture of my college, but people in most majors worked their tails off from what I could see.  In fact, you could spot male freshman in some majors three weeks into the semester, because they hadn't had time to shave (or sleep).  And that's school full-time, with perhaps some work-study.

      Now, you may be one of the rare people who speed-reads, speed-learns, speed-writes, etc.  Maybe your 51 credits were the equivalent of 51 credits at a four-year-college, that would have taken 7 semesters to earn.  But in general, I would guess this is not the case.

  •  An acquaintance of mine is a professor (8+ / 0-)

    at one of the career colleges around here. Even he admits it is a scam and hates it, but can't quit because of money issues. The career college he works at sends attractive girls to the inner-city high schools here and other areas like temp offices and tell of the glories of their "college." They sell the prospective students on the living loans they will get when they attend, of course all of that is set up by the career college, who maxes out their federal loan limit and puts the students hopelessly in debt. My friend said that something like 1/10 of his students actually make it through to graduate, and all are left with huge debt. The campus is in the suburbs, but they have attracted so many students from the inner-city that they run a charter bus out there. It is shameful.

  •  The community colleges are the gems of (13+ / 0-)

    our higher education system. All three of my kids took classes at our local CC while they were still in high school. Our CC provides courses that transfer to 4-year colleges (Son 1 was able to transfer his calculus class to one of the Ivies), vocation training, and remedial classes for those who are not ready for college work. The CCs do all of this at affordable prices. They are the best bargain in higher education.

    •  they are a very good value, but (4+ / 0-)

      they do have horrific completion rates. We need to spend some serious money on counseling, etc, to up completion rates at these schools.

      On the upside, when they do drop out (the majority in many community colleges do) they have less debt.

      •  I started out going to a CC (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cai, Chitown Kev, Cassandra Waites

        when I was younger and did my first two years there. Total waste of time due to a lack of guidance; I wound up being able, however, to transfer into a four-year with no problem, and then switched majors and did an extra year plus summer/winter classes to get through on a better track.

        Then I went to grad school.

        It was, however, highly affordable. Also, I was able to work while attending.

        The education itself was not comparable to the college where I switched, however. And tons of my friends teach at both colleges as adjuncts. They don't use the same curriculum. It depends on what you're doing. I was aiming for a more classic education. However, for students with a vocational track, they can be good.

        The attrition rates really are very high. Even for my first two years at a CC, I stopped, went back, stopped, went back, and so on. There was just no guidance for students intending to go on to four-years.

  •  great diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mithra, cai

    you make a lot of great points. Education is without a doubt the target of big business. They go where the easy money is.  Product doesnt matter. The marketing of " you need an education to get ahead " is already ingrained in the american public, so the hard part is done.

    High school and prisons are also the new target of industry.

    Rightly or wrongly, when we have a job opening and I see an Online school on a resume, it doesnt help them.

    Bad is never good until worse happens

    by dark daze on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 08:24:53 AM PST

  •  I attended a career college in 70s (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tuttle, catwho

    I was young, high school drop out and unemployed.  I took a class in "Clerk Typist".  It gave me enough skills to become employable.  (Remember, back then young women were ALWAY given a typing test when applying for a job.)

    I found good work.  ONLY because I went to the school.

    A friend's son went to DeVry, and has a job paying in the 6 figures.

    I know they are a scam, but sometimes they aren't.

    If you want to know the real answer: Just ask a Mom.

    by tacklelady on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 08:32:56 AM PST

  •  I have a friend attending AI (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    decembersue, cai, akeitz, Cassandra Waites

    His tuition for one year at that diploma mill equals what I paid for my entire education at our (excellent) state school.

    I've tried several times to talk him into switching schools but he won't do it. He's convinced he's getting a superior education (HA!).

    My honest opinion is that applying for a legit university would have required a lot of hoop jumping and paperwork where the AI did all that for him so he just went with it. Now he works at the school and "has to" keep paying obscene tuition to keep his $10/hr mailroom job.

  •  Well, making healthcare for-profit (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brooke In Seattle, akeitz

    worked out so well, why not try it for education, too?

    Yes, these for-profit institutions are traps that can engulf their victims for the rest of their lives if they get caught.  If there were any kind of proper regulation, they would be wiped off the planet.

    -5.13,-5.64; Conviction is a greater enemy to truth than lies. -- Nietzsche

    by gizmo59 on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 08:49:04 AM PST

  •  Good diary. (0+ / 0-)

    To be ready to leave high school, your student needed to learn the Shell Game more importantly than Dental Assistance or any other career.

    I agree with you for the most part but while in corporate IT  I ended an excellent but costly in-house IT training program and switched to a the Urban League, LACC, PCC, CalStateLA and a few (expensive) private career schools for IT people. One of the former in-house teachers worked closely with the "outhouse'ers" (as we called them) and the results were spectacular from all. It would have been a bargain to repay all of the tuition costs on every hire than pay a head hunter and with some kind of contract (e.g., stay for 5 years) that could have been arranged.

    Now we're all in a new, global, lower wage (more lie cheap labor) market. That's just the facts. More than ever, cities, corporations, and schools should work together to experiment with better models in a tighter more affordable collaboration.

    Everyone needs to be taught how not to lose their money on scams. Sure. But career training reform is a vital necessity and can be lucrative to CC's as well as authentic private trainers (think "home schoolers").  Just reconsider who pays the tuition for career training, whether public or private schools.  If it's the right program then the employers will pay. If not, the student won't get ripped off.  Paying to train 20 people to get 2 super stars and a few more well trained grads is a good business deal for employers and the smaller businesses that may not be able to pay for the tuition investments but can provide more OJT will benefit from the rest.  

    I hope "career training" can be viewed like employment agencies and head hunters where the lesson is that if fees are paid by the employer then it's good and if the agency asks for money from the applicant up front it's a scam.

    Eliminate the Bush tax cuts Eliminate Afghan and Iraq wars Do these things first before considering any cuts

    by kck on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 08:52:13 AM PST

  •  It's a damn shame that junior colleges are (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    so under funded. Sadly, many junior colleges (but not all) have turned into vocational colleges much like the for profit colleges.

    At the junior college I attended back in the 70's they had a great Computer Science department. No more though.

    We once had a education system here in California that was the envy of the rest of the country. Too bad.

    When I cannot sing my heart. I can only speak my mind.

    by Unbozo on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 08:58:27 AM PST

  •  Nice job, xajaxsingerx (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blue jersey mom, cai, akeitz

    It's great to hear from a teacher who cares!

    -5.12, -5.23

    We are men of action; lies do not become us.

    by ER Doc on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 09:00:07 AM PST

  •  I just graduated with a BS from an online school.. (3+ / 0-)

    and Summa Cum Laude at that.  When anyone raises their eyebrows, I point out the picture hanging next to my Walden University sheepskin.  It is President Bill Clinton delivering the commencement address.

    Walden was NOT a cakewalk.  I am currently pursuing a Masters in another online program at Full Sail University.  It is an excellent program as well.

    In other words, be careful not to paint online for profit schools with a broad brush.

    Well, I been around the world, and I've been in the Washington Zoo. And in all my travels, as the facts unravel, I've found this to be true.... ...they don't give a f^ck about anybody else

    by Zwoof on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 09:11:45 AM PST

    •  My question would be, do the employers (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      akeitz, Cassandra Waites

      in your field agree that these are excellent programs?  (Or will they give you the opportunity to prove that they are?)

      One of the scam aspects of for-profit colleges that the diarist points out is whether or not graduates can get jobs in their fields.  (Granted, this has been difficult for graduates of four-year schools since 2008, but still.)

    •  Online and for profits are not the same (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      As other comments have addressed, we do need to make the distinction between "online only" classes and "for profit" schools.  Many of the For Profits have physical campuses and students attend classes, but the curriculum isn't rigorous by any stretch of the imagination.  On the flipside, many online programs are extremely tough.

      Keep your religion out of my government.

      by catwho on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 07:24:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  on-the-job training (9+ / 0-)

    I think it’s worth mentioning that one of the reasons for-profit colleges and career programs have become such an issue is that apprenticeships and on-the-job-training just don’t exist at the level they used to. The training that used to be provided by the private sector has been offloaded to young job seekers and they now pay for that training themselves by paying tuition at community colleges or trade schools.

    My points of reference are my father and grandfather. My father was an electrician. He didn’t go to trade school or community college to learn that; he went to work as an electrician’s apprentice at age 19 and learned the trade on the job. Similar with my grandfather. His only degree was from high school but he ended his career as a production engineer at General Electric. He got his college-level engineering knowledge in-house at GE. I’m not sure the phrase student loan was even in their vocabulary 40 or 50 years ago.

    Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. - Groucho Marx

    by Joe Bob on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 09:14:00 AM PST

  •  Great report... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    write more!

  •  Another point of view (0+ / 0-)

    Take my experience for what its worth but I'm currently working on my masters in emergency management through American Public University, one of these so called "evil" for-profit schools. My undergraduate degrees are in architecture and environmental design from the University of Minnesota, but after some layoffs and soul searching I decided to go into EM. I did the research, and found that there were no programs in the Minneapolis/ St Paul area. The closest was in Fargo, and a certificate program in Madison. Due to my inability to relocate I went for the online route, and I'm glad I did. I'd have a hard time believing anyone who said that my program was a diploma mill. It's demanding, and my instructors have all been very knowledgeable people who often are working in the field. The school is also very involved with professional organizations such as IAEM. I've also found that I have far more interaction with my instructors online than I ever did at the UofM. I've actually found it to be quite rewarding, and if I found an employer who would not hire me because of where the degree came from I doubt I would want to work for them anyways. The online for-profit model may be considered broken, but I'd argue that there are schools who do it right and that they should be held as examples of merely another alternative to gaining a strong education, in conjunction with community colleges, and public or private universities.

  •  In education and the underlying fact is sales vs (0+ / 0-)

    outcomes. Private for profit are just that, primary purpose is to generate profitable revenues. Remember Barnum, there is a sucker born every minute...

    When our children were in middle school there were two things we prepared them for, A) they were going to college, (not-for-profit accredited and probably state university) and that they were probably going to get their bachelor degree while living at home---so we could afford that they do not have college loans when they graduated.

    That was their promise. We thought we had it well planned living in Wisconsin with one of the best if not best secondary programs 9th through bachelor degrees in the country. Living close to four UW regional campuses, Parkside, Waukesha, Milwaukee and Whitewater the plan was simple; first 2 years go to a UW program and then transfer to UW Madison your final two years.

    But life changed and because of disabling health we had to move to Colorado and chose Colorado Springs for two reasons, (family had vacation home up the pass, and two COS had a U of CO school).

    Our daughter went right to UCCS but because of financing she has only been able to take 12 hours a semester so she is going to be a super senior...But she has no loans and is holding a 3.33. Retrospectfully we should have had her go to Pikes Peak CC, essentially many instructors are either UCCS or Colorado College professors and instructors moon lighting while the tuition rate is almost 50%, and then transfer to UCCS. PPCC has a 60/60 program....

    Our son he received a local tuition scholarship to attend PPCC, (imagine that a scholarship to community college), got a 3.85 and then earned another scholarship at UCCS, but both required his room and board be funded by live at home.

    The only problem I see with community college is the social ranking inherent with students. Going away is an emotional thing and can be a learning process, life experience and all that, but it is a cost.

    We have two nephews and one niece whose experience are also telling. One a nephew is a drop out from college in his junior year, with $25,000 in college loans and now working hourly at $10 an hour seasonal work. He has to find a way back to college if just to get the loan off his back but also to get the degree. He will have to live at home and emotionally that is hard and his options are UC Denver, or RM Art School. The other is also behind and will be a super senior and has $25,000 plus in loans...again away in school. Our niece is a freshman at U of Chicago, her parents saved up enough cash to send her to U of ILL through the savings plan but U of C is $40,000 a year. She got grants and scholarships to some degree but now she will have loans.

    I look at this way. The idea is to get a BA/BS with the least amount of lingering costs and to get the grades to go onto grad school. If it takes a track of CC, then state U and then the grad school where you have to beg borrow or what not then do that at the high level, not lower level.

    They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither safety nor liberty~Ben Franklin

    by RWN on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 09:27:25 AM PST

  •  I started out at a community college, they are (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    prfb, Chitown Kev, akeitz

    Great stuff. For profit colleges need to be run out of business, but the corrupt politicians have all been bought with the money this for-profit crooks throw around.

  •  I am so glad you suggested a community (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cai, SingleVoter

    college for her. They are still a good bargain in California.

  •  My cousin worked for Everest. Her job (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cai, akeitz, Catte Nappe, Sister Havana

    was to recruit new students. She made $70,000 a year, which I thought was a lot of money. She had to sign up a certain number of people a month. Very stressful. She was laid-off a few months ago. She works for another for profit outfit now--recruiting, making only about $40,000 a year.

    •  I did that as well in 2003 (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      grelinda, cai, Catte Nappe, Sister Havana

      I made $36k/year recruiting students for an online school. We had very strict sales minimums so there was definitely a lot of pressure. I didn't last long and turnover was high.

      We'd tell people there was an admissions committee who would review the applications. There was no actual committee, just me and my manager. The only criteria was whether or not the person graduated high school and paid the $50 application fee.

      "Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D." - Tom Harkin

      by Tuttle on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 12:27:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Virginia college... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cai, akeitz

    is pretty bad.  When I was a hiring manager at a hospital I refused to hire students that had trained at their program and suggested the hospital do the same.  Their respiratory therapy program cost students something insane like $50,000 to complete.  Word got out that a few of the big hospitals were refusing to hire their grads and I think they are hurting.  Birmingham,al has some of the shadiest colleges around and they primarily target poor black kids..........

  •  Education as means to an end (5+ / 0-)

    More than ever, it seems that our society emphasizes education as a means to an end--the idea that an education is the ticket you need to hold a decent job.  Your student Laura took interest in a dental assistant program because she "can get a job with this" and she "can make money."  And certainly that's true.  

    But those scammy, career-oriented, for-profit businesses thrive in a climate where the intrinsic value of education is overlooked in favor of this myopic means-to-an-end view that is pitched relentlessly toward the lower class in particular.  Middle-class career success is the bait dangled by all these institutions in their glossy ads, it's the reward many high schools pitch to keep kids in school, and yet so often the cake is a lie.  Instead I think we need to promote education as an end in itself, which is not only healthy for individuals, but is ultimately a better ticket into today's middle class.  At the earliest levels of compulsory education, we need to cultivate curiosity, a taste for challenges, and the understanding that learning is a tool for self-reliance and a lifelong value.  The obsession over job placement and income leads to an objectification of education, a hallowing of fancy pieces of paper printed by expensive, low-value, parasitic diploma mills, and graduates with skills of limited versatility.

  •  Thank you for steering her in the right direction. (5+ / 0-)

    (The add I see at the bottom is for an outfit called American Career Institute, which I've never heard of.  Another for-profit college, I assume.)

    I know people who have gone to community college and gone on to four year degrees -- even PhDs.  Starting at community college can be a good way to lower college costs. (Although not necessarily -- depending on the financial aid offer from four year schools, they can actually be cheaper.)  It can be a good way for adults to transition back into academics.

    And, like you said, it's a much preferable alternative to for-profit colleges when it comes to getting at certificate or Associates Degree.

  •  Couldn't Agree More (5+ / 0-)

    In my line of work, as a medical compliance officer and certified coder for 13 years, I am stunned by the number of people becoming "certified" medical coders absent any experience with the realities of medical delivery and medical billing.

    I recently had a resume cross my desk from an instructor at the local career college dedicated to medical billing and coding. I brought her in for an interview, gave her a basic medical coding test, and she flunked it.

    Medical coding is the "hot job" on afternoon TV. Based on the volume of information in my head from 22 years in the industry, for-profit career colleges are committing a grand lie, and are not at all helpful to my industry with ICD-10 looming on the horizon.

    "The game's easy, Harry" - Richie Ashburn

    by jpspencer on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 10:59:09 AM PST

    •  I'm in favor of hospital capitation (0+ / 0-)

      i.e. very little coding required

      •  It Still Requires Coding (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        akeitz, Cassandra Waites

        If you're suggesting capitating every hospital stay, it sounds as if you wish to equate someone reflux with someone getting their appendix removed and for both to be paid equally.

        The DRG system is incredibly complicated, but you still need the morbidity coding to indicate what cases were simple and what cases were complex. Otherwise, what's to stop a hospital tranferring all of their complex cases to another hospital to avoid the overhead?

        "The game's easy, Harry" - Richie Ashburn

        by jpspencer on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 02:35:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Where are all the jobs?! (0+ / 0-)

    In China, India, and other Third World countries where corporations are allowed to freely exploit workers there with the blessings of their bought and paid for whores in Washington DC.

    A college degree is worthless in this f*ked economy.....and fked it is and fked it will be until Capitalism is destroyed and replace with a system that puts people over and above everything else. Humanity must be brought back into "vogue" or we are all going to be f*ked.

    We should be training college aged kids in revolution instead of forcing them to be just the latest slaves on the New World Order plantation.

  •  Actually, non profits aren't much better (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    at keeping costs down or making sure students are in a program with employment potential commensurate with their debt. Tuition has risen 8+ percent at public not-for-profit 4 & 2 year colleges in the last decade.  4.5 percent at private  4 year, 3.2 at for-profit colleges.

    And it's hard to say that colleges who admit and (take the tuition and fees from students their parents or loan programs) in majors that have no real chance of getting them employed to pay off the debt are not as culpable as the for profits. Maybe the gainful employment rule should be applied across the board.

    •  That's a terrible idea (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cai, Cassandra Waites, Catte Nappe, catwho

      As I've said above, most people change careers at least once and often two or three times in their lives.  Forcing them to major solely in fields that can get them a job now is short sighted at best and crippling at worst.  

      As for "return on investment" - one of my oldest friends majored in foreign languages and got an advanced degree in translation.  She couldn't get a job in her field right after graduation and despaired of using what she'd learned until she got a job writing multilingual voice recognition software over a decade after finishing school.  By the "gainful employment" standard she wouldn't have this job because it didn't exist when she graduated, plus on paper her original degree had nothing do with computers.

      Yes, tuition needs to come down.  Yes, college often costs too much.  But tying learning to whether one can get a job after graduation is cutting off one's nose to spite one's face.  

      •  I guess my point was (0+ / 0-)

        that if the bar for the profit schools is going to be "job security" then that isn't a bad rubric for non profits either - I don't think it is fair to say the for profits have a standard that the non profits don't have to follow. There are plenty of public colleges that take money for degree programs and turn grads with no chance of employment in the field.

        You first point is well taken of course. I'm not in the field (directly) as my undergrad either. And having a legit UG degree IS a credential that many employers find admirable. But it is becoming less and less necessary outside of specialized and credential heavy professions.

  •  it's not about profit or non-profit (5+ / 0-)

    it's about having accredited credits that will get you at least an associates degree or program that will transfer to a four year school. If a for profit school can do these things then i don't really give a crap where the money goes if that's what they want. But, yes, these "colleges" aren't really colleges and all they do is sell you an expensive piece of paper you could have printed off yourself.

    Standing up for men and their interests does not constitute misogyny.

    by SetaSan on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 12:29:00 PM PST

    •  I agree (4+ / 0-)

      I think the author painted all for-profit schools with too broad a brush. There are definitely bad ones out there, but there are good ones too. I'm in a health IT program at DeVry and I did my research and found that in order to get a job in the field you need to get a certification from the governing body (AHIMA). In order to do that you need to go to an accredited school and pass the certification test. Accredited schools in my area are almost all for-profit. My loans will come out to $20k or so. It's a decent chunk of change, but it won't kill me. I expect to be making a decent living in the long run and I base that statement on what my wife observes since she's an RN.

      "Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D." - Tom Harkin

      by Tuttle on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 01:24:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  A+++ for you! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SingleVoter, akeitz

    Thanks for caring enough for the girl and hating the for profit rips off enough to take the time to guide this young lady in the right direction.

    "He is no fool who forsakes things that he cannot keep, so that he might gain things that he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot

    by looking and listening on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 01:38:18 PM PST

  •  Good diary on an important topic. Only (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    nit to pick is with this comment:"education, the process of taking somebody who is knowledgeless and unskilled and transforming them into a skilled and knowledgeable contributor to society"

    That puts a value on a very narrow kind of "knowledge."
    I work with first in family minority students at a state university.  They have a lot of "knowledge" unavailable to the elites.  It is not valued.  Part of my job is to expose them to the notions that those in power define what knowledge matters and to offer levers to try to empower them so that they can address injustices--which they know more about than the children of elites.
    Yes, I want them to think critically about "society" and to learn how to evaluate information.

    •  please read my diary (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Catte Nappe, Dretutz

      Please see my diary, "Poor as a second language"

      I completely understand what you're saying as I work with very similar children.  I'll think of a way to alter the wording to respect the pre-existing, non-capitalizeable knowledge that exists outside of formal educaiton.


      Credulant (adj): Something that is not fully credible because it is unsourced but it sounds true so it is accepted without argument.

      by xajaxsingerx on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 03:47:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Not Clean and Shiny? (4+ / 0-)

    I live in OC and both of the local Community Colleges that I am familiar with, Irvine Valley and Saddleback are clean and shiny. They are lovely, well maintained campuses and the cost is dirt cheap costing on average only $658 in tuition and fees for a year of classes. If that is too much, there is also financial assistance. CA is spending a lot of money on Community Colleges, all the while slashing funding to k-12 and the UC and Cal State schools.

    I am surprised that your program doesn't heavily push kids towards the Community Colleges, which really is a fantastic deal. My daughter's public high school certainly does and many of the top students who could get in highly selective four year schools are opting to spend their first two years there for financial reasons.

  •  Of course Diploma mills are an old scam. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    but even in America’s grossly over bloated “educational” system (where they just keep getting dumber and dumber) these flashy scams just scream FRAUD!

    But I don’t see the point of getting an education in general, when just going to be standing in line for a mcjob….if you’re lucky

    Nudniks need not apply.

    by killermiller on Wed Nov 30, 2011 at 04:57:48 PM PST

  •  College, Inc. (0+ / 0-)

    The PBS program "Frontline" did a great documentary about for-profit colleges called College, Inc. Everyone needs some sort of education beyond high school to succeed in today's world. That can take several forms: A BA, technical training, military training. All of those are available for little or no cost via the public sector. (The military even pays you.  But, obviously that's a different kind of commitment). There is no reason anyone should be paying the high prices at a for-profit.

  •  Focus on Career Colleges (0+ / 0-)

    That was my reply to someone earlier and that sums up this thread. For-Profit schools aren't going away, but something can be done about the career colleges that charge 10,000 plus dollars for a certificate. On the other hand there are some fields like IT where all it requires are certs to get into the field.  I know someone who had an engineering degree from a top school working for someone with no degree but more certs.

    And of course how many people are getting jobs at SW NE Central State in this economy.  I bet the public college employment rate is just as bad unless you go to the top state school and thats probably bad too.

    But these programs are popular. Over 200,000 people have graduated from the University of Phoenix. Are those all fake degrees? I think it comes a time when alternatives to a behind state system are needed.  On the other hand the rip off career colleges should be fixed but the two shouldn't be in the same conversation.  Verizon pays for employees to attend University of Phoenix.  Is this corporation dumb.

  •  I benefited mightily from California's (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pot, blue jersey mom

    state university system (Northridge) — at a time when it cost only $100 per semester + books + transportation (I lived at home). Before going to CSUN, I took a semester and a term at L.A. Pierce Jr College. Tuition for the semester was (hold onto your hat)... $6. Yes, SIX dollars. (And I had a book scholarship, so that was nearly my entire cost except for gas to get there and back from home.)

    I remember when Reagan started the long process of ruining what had been (and in many ways still is, despite everything) one of California's greatest and most virtuous gifts to its people, to our nation, and to the world.

    Here I am in Europe, where it doesn't bankrupt people to get a university education or other skills training. As we are now French citizens, our youngest can, if she chooses, go to university without our having to take out loans. (We managed to stay out of debt financing our older two kids' bachelors degrees at U.S. colleges thanks to their getting partial scholarships... and from spending every penny — and then some — from the sale of our Boston-area home when we moved here.)

    Education should not be out of reach for so many. And I cannot begin to tell you how LIVID I become when I think of the hideous, horrific rules that require education loans (along with home loans, WTF!!) to be repaid even if one files for bankruptcy. Heartless corruption from top to bottom.

    The parasitic edu-scams that you describe suck the life out of people's hopes and dreams. Would to god they fined and penalized out of existence and all monies put towards reviving the great low-cost education I and my generation enjoyed in the Golden State.

    Just because it's made up doesn't mean it isn't true.—Plan 10 from Outer Space

    by mofembot on Thu Dec 01, 2011 at 01:48:07 AM PST

  •  Long Comment, Registered to Make It (0+ / 0-)

    I registered just to post on this entry.

    I'm sure there are people who have benefited from career/for-profit colleges. That doesn't change the simple fact that there are many they have completely taken advantage of out there.

    I am one of those people. My parents are relatively well off (by which I mean solidly middle class), but they offered me nothing for college. Despite that, their general income didn't allow me much in the way of aid.

    The second financial aid came up, they whipped out the Sallie Mae paperwork. Never once was another loan company mentioned as an alternative. These are private student loans, something important to note.

    The federal amount I got was rather low and the school encouraged me to have my mom write in to say "no" to those loans, supposedly because it'd help me get more financial aid. When I questioned this, the guy essentially told me "this isn't your job, you wouldn't know". Should have been a warning sign.

    I got what I now know to be a horrible interest rate, but it was presented to me as completely normal. I was naive enough to think my school was trying to help me.

    Another loan later I started to get more advice on school loans. This was in the early 2000s, information on these things (even online) was practically nonexistent.

    My mom and I looked into Bank One loans. They offered a much better rate. I brought this to my school and they fought me tooth and nail every step of the way. It was so stressful I never bothered again. I took out another Sallie Mae private student loan.

    I took out a total of $60,000 for school, living expenses and materials. I now owe $107,000 on that loan. I pay $1,350 a month to Sallie Mae alone. This is not the lowest payment plan; if I want one with a small adjustment, I'd save $6.00 a month. I'm not kidding. They present that to me when I talk on the phone as if I should be thankful.

    The thing about private student loans is that the lender has all of the control. If I declare bankruptcy? Too bad. If I lose my job? Too bad. The sheer fact that this is 60%+ of my income each month? Too bad.

    If I'm late? They hound me, eventually try to garnish my wages and tax returns (with the help of the Department of Education) and then go after my parents who were my co-signers. Considering their current economic troubles, I assumes this means just trying to steal their house.

    Even though consolidation means a lower interest rate and smaller payments, you can only get in on that if your credit is good enough. Considering I had $100,000 in student loan debt before I left school my debt to income ratio was atrocious. That was never going to happen, I tried with several cosigners.

    At this point they don't even offer consolidation anymore. They had the nerve to tell me on the phone that it's "not economic for me or them" to consolidate. Seriously? I don't want lower interest rates? I don't want smaller payments?

    I really, truly feel that many of these schools seek to help people as a secondary component. The people who got something decent out of it without owing tens of thousands of dollars were lucky. I feel like my specific school, the International Academy of Design and Technology, exists so that it can identify people like me.

    Not only do they get the initial money, the current laws allow for the school to LEGALLY receive kick backs from loan companies like Sallie Mae. People in my situation and who are ignorant enough can easily be taken advantage of and used as cash cows. I know I'm far from alone on this.

    It's depressing. I feel like I am constantly being punished for wanting to go to school. I hate Sallie Mae with every fiber of my being. I will admit that I was naive and wish I knew more. I wish just once someone there would admit they were being predatory or SOMETHING.

    As an aside, I really wish more was said about the private student loan industry. No, I was never poor... but I really feel I was hugely taken advantage of by a system designed to do so. I've written politicians about this issue because I really don't want it to happen to others. Unfortunately, most don't differentiate between private and federals loans whatsoever and I never get anywhere.

    •  Addendum (0+ / 0-)

      I guess this is marginally related, but I blame IADT's financial aid department just as much. My education was hardly worth the money. I owe what a doctor does for a bachelors degree in a major that everyone always asks "what is that?" about.

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