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Education The Almighty Buck United States

Federal Student Aid Requirements At For-Profit Colleges Overhauled 295

Posted by samzenpus
from the new-rules dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The U.S. Department of Education has released a proposal for new regulations that would hold colleges that receive federal student aid accountable for the employment success of their graduates. The overhaul is prompted by the fact that students from for-profit colleges account for nearly 50% of all loan defaults yet only account for about 13% of the total higher education population. '[O]f the for-profit gainful employment programs the Department could analyze and which could be affected by [the proposed regulations], the majority--72%--produced graduates who on average earned less than high school dropouts.'"
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Federal Student Aid Requirements At For-Profit Colleges Overhauled

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  • The majority of people attending these institutions are one stop away from being high school dropouts. I couldn't begin to count the number of companies who refuse to employee individuals from these "tech colleges". I interviewed one "tech college" professor who had no practical knowledge in the industry, no degree outside of a what was taught at the "tech college", and admitted he had limited knowledge on core infrastructure questions outside of the material provided by the "tech college". However he wa

    • Where you have professors who have been in school for years and have next to no real experience.

      also CS for help desk is just as bad as you can get people loaded with theory and codeing skills but lacking big time in the desktop / system admin side.

      • by AuMatar (183847)

        But they actually know and understand the curriculum. Besides which, professors at real universities aren't hired to teach, they're hired because of the research they've done. So yes, they have experience in research.

        • But they actually know and understand the curriculum. Besides which, professors at real universities aren't hired to teach, they're hired because of the research they've done. So yes, they have experience in research.

          Tenured professors are hired to do research, adjunct professors are the under paid teachers.

      • Where you have professors who have been in school for years and have next to no real experience.

        Experience of which industry? I'm a physics prof. Our grads work in fields as diverse as finance, medicine, IT, natural resources, academic and industrial research etc. in a diverse range of positions. University is supposed to give you deep understanding of a subject and a broad range of skills that are useful for a wide variety of positions both in academia and industry it is not a training scheme for job X. Being involved in research means that I can take the latest research results and bring them into

        • by Sarius64 (880298)
          For example, I just set up a NOC that administrates 14,000 devices across Europe. The four main technicians in the role are working toward their various CCIE tracks. You would have to show me a ton of evidence to prove someone sitting in a classroom could have pulled off their products. Admittedly, they're not in a physics industry. Also, when I need people to define large algorithms for other needs, I definitely look your associates up for the job. I think we can all admit that industry, research, and
        • Experience of which industry? I'm a physics prof. [...] Being involved in research means that I can take the latest research results and bring them into lectures so the students learn about them and perhaps find ways to apply that knowledge wherever they end up. This is not only good for the student but good for society as a whole and someone from industry is unlikely to be able to do that.

          You may be a great researcher but can you teach worth a damn? One doesn't automatically imply the other. I've had plenty of professors who were well respected in their fields but had no business being in a classroom. I can see how being a good researcher could be beneficial to teaching but it shouldn't be the end of the conversation in a University job interview.

          • By the time you are in college you are supposed to be past needing information spoon fed to you.

            At that point knowledge is more important then teaching ability. You can make up for teaching ability with learning ability. You can't make up for lack of knowledge.

      • Yet another reason to pick EE over CS.

        For as long as there have been engineering schools, it has been traditional to not hire professors without significant industry experience.

      • by metlin (258108) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @12:45PM (#46499423) Journal

        That is because -- get this -- computer science is not about coding.

        It's about math and engineering. Any coding is incidental at best and it's not their job to teach you "programming".

        Judging programs on their employability is myopic. If you are smart and logical, then picking up a programming language is trivial.

        Most top schools have little to no programming education -- you learn discrete math, graph theory, complexity theory, algorithms, data structures, graphics (which is physics and math), AI (lots of stats and probability), linguistics (if you do NLP) etc.

        Even when you learn Operating Systems or Compiler Design, you're learning them from a design point of view. The details of implementation are something you pick up on your own.

        You want to teach skills that are transferable and will survive the next programming language or platform fad. Any good CS program teaches that. Learning to code in Java or *nix sysadmin skills are things you should pick up on your own.

    • IT needs apprenticeship and maybe 1-2 year trade like schools 4+ years pure class room is to much and even 2 years pure class room is pushing it as well.

  • Sounds Wonderful (Score:5, Informative)

    by ranton (36917) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @09:48AM (#46498179)

    While this sounds like posturing that would never actually get passed, I really I hope I am wrong. I went to the University of Phoenix because I was working full time and night program CS degrees at real schools simply did not exist 5 years ago. I knew then that I would only pay for the degree if I was planning on getting a Masters degree at a real school right after. I even called two local schools to ensure they would admit graduate students with UoP undergrad degrees. (BTW, I am in my last semester of my Masters program now)

    My UoP degree definitely helped with my career, but only because I was an experienced software developer long before I enrolled. It only helped because of ridiculous HR requirements for applicants with degrees only. The education was atrocious. My second semester database class consisted of just these four assignments: 1) Create a Database, 2) Create a Table, 3) Create Foreign Key Relationships, 4) Load Data into the Tables, 5) Create a Report. They even gave us the commands so all we needed to do was paste them into the console. This may be the most egregious example of the poor curriculum I can think of, but the rest of it was almost as bad.

    My fellow students who didn't already know the material were struggling to understand it with no help in sight. I would help them on the forums and over emails, but I knew they would never get the necessary instruction to ever get hired in this field, let alone keep any job they weaseled their way into. It was really sad that they were spending potentially over $50k for a worthless degree. I never said anything to them because I did not want to risk being kicked out after spending so much money.

    I hope the government really does start to do something. This problem was primarily caused by real universities that do not offer sufficient night programs for adult students, but it has progressed to the point where government intervention is necessary. These online schools really could provide decent educations if they were forced to. If their programs were decent they would fill a very large void in our country's education system, but in their current form they are nothing more than a parasite.

    • A better system is needed for people who are working but want to learn new / more skills and want them to add up to something why not have some kind of badges systems?

      also some skills are a poor fit in to the over all university system also the university system is loaded with all kinds of fluffy / filler classes as well. forced PE classes at a price that is more then a 2 YEAR HIGH COST fitness club membership??

      • by AuMatar (183847)

        What college still has forced PE classes? I know my mom had one back in the 70s, but I haven't known anyone who had to take one in the past decade or two.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by tomhath (637240)

      My second semester database class consisted of just these four assignments: 1) Create a Database, 2) Create a Table, 3) Create Foreign Key Relationships, 4) Load Data into the Tables, 5) Create a Report.

      Apparently they didn't require very good counting skills either.

      • by ranton (36917)

        My second semester database class consisted of just these four assignments: 1) Create a Database, 2) Create a Table, 3) Create Foreign Key Relationships, 4) Load Data into the Tables, 5) Create a Report.

        Apparently they didn't require very good counting skills either.

        My counting was just fine (see the numbers properly progressing from 1 to 5). My problem was inconsistencies in my writing, caused by remembering the fifth assignment while writing my comment but not properly revising the previous statement.

    • by Sarius64 (880298)

      I attended UoP in a similar situation. UoP is most definitely a survival of the fittest environment. Usually one (two at best) people on a team take charge and lead the rest of the group to success/survival. The one thing UoP did, IMO, was set me up for the realities of the workplace. Very little hand-holding, independent study based upon a very regimented syllabus, very concise scopes needed for success, and lots of people without a clue how to get there. My C++ II class still gives me shivers for the

      • I know someone else that went to UoP for a couple of years. It's a _terrible_ school for anything tech related.

    • by Greyfox (87712)
      To be fair though, my nephew is going through a CS program at a university and has asked me about some of his assignments. They're similarly trivial and the example code provided by the professors is atrocious. I like to think they're doing that intentionally, but I know they're not. I was disillusioned with the business programming course I enrolled in right out of high school back in the '80's and ended up finding a small state school with instructors who had real world experience for the rest of my forma
      • I can tell if you're the sort of person who enjoys programming. I'd take a high school dropout over someone with a Master's, if the high school dropout had a substantial portfolio of open source code he could show me.

        So well-rounded candidates who enjoy programming but have other hobbies are screwed?

  • by stevegee58 (1179505) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @09:52AM (#46498193) Journal
    There is no justifiable federal role in education. Education has traditionally been and should be locally managed.
    We don't need more regulation surrounding student loans, we need less. In fact there shouldn't be any federal student loans at all.
    • by houghi (78078)

      In fact there shouldn't be any federal student loans at all.

      I agree with this if you look at it from the point of view that education is a right, not a privelage.

      Unfortunatly that means some sort of governement involvement. To me that means there will be quota. So not everybody will get the opportunity to go. And not everybody will enlist in what they like. You want to do philosophy and arts and what not? OK, we need X amount of those. You do not qualify, next.

      That would mean that you need no loan that

    • by Rich0 (548339) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @11:13AM (#46498687) Homepage

      Education is primarily a social welfare program. Social welfare programs generally don't work if they are localized to jurisdictions that have free trade and immigration. States are required by the constitution to have both - the only reason that state-level primary education works is that the federal government sets uniform standards and will deny substantial funds to any state that violates them.

      If you make education purely a state-level system then there will be a race to the bottom. Employers will flee states that have generous education programs in favor of minimalist states that have lower taxes.

      Socialism of any kind can really only work at the national level. Employers can't easily flee countries, because they would then become subject to tariffs when selling back to that country. Granted, the US of late has backed free trade, which is why all the manufacturing jobs are going to countries where you can fire workers who get injured on the job and dump your pollution wherever you like.

      • Which part of the US Constitution mandates education?
    • Libertarian? Maybe. But nonetheless there's nothing about education in the US Constitution
      In fact:
      "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
  • by raymorris (2726007) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @09:53AM (#46498203)

    TFA and TFS don't make it quite clear - would the SCHOOL lose eligibility, or a specific degree plan? If a student gets a degree in art history or women's studies that probably won't do much for their employment prospects, regardless of whether the school is good or not.

  • by codepigeon (1202896) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @10:04AM (#46498269)
    What this tells me, is that there is clearly a demand that is not being met by 'traditional' colleges/universities. These schools offer people a chance at a diploma that they can put on their resume. If you don't have that piece of paper on your resume, you are not even going to get an interview regardless of how knowledgeable you are in the field (unless you have a contact inside the company already).

    These schools give people, who maybe got off to a bad start, a chance to go to classes in the evenings, it is a path for those students who were not necessarily 'good' at school and would score poorly on an ACT or SAT test. When more and more of the jobs those people used to get go overseas or to mexico, they have to have some way into the 'new' economy. Either that or they find a way to game the system with welfare/disability (or get stuck forever in working poverty). They have to live, they have to feed their families. These schools offer them a way to do that. (or more likely, the false hope that they can do that)

    I think the traditional colleges need to take notice and start offering programs that mimic what these for-profit schools offer. Flexible schedules for adult students, shorter paths to a certificate or diploma, etc. Side note: aren't all colleges 'for profit'? I see the million dollar salaires of university presidents, massive coffers, and multi-billion dollar sport franchises and have to think that they are all 'for-profit'; the profit just goes in different directions.
    • why does party or sports schools look better then then the tech schools that don't have that BS and tech real skills?

      some of the sports schools are very lax on classes for people on the football team (the team is full time in season and part time off season)

      why can't there be a minor league for football and basketball?

    • What this tells me, is that there is clearly a demand that is not being met by 'traditional' colleges/universities. These schools offer people a chance at a diploma that they can put on their resume. If you don't have that piece of paper on your resume, you are not even going to get an interview regardless of how knowledgeable you are in the field (unless you have a contact inside the company already).

      The problem is many of these programs simply are designed to make money, not teach students and prepare them for a job. Employers know what degrees are basically worthless; resulting in people with student debt and still poor job prospects. Take away the loans that provide the revenue for non-performing schools will make them go away and help those that actually do provide value for the money.

      These schools give people, who maybe got off to a bad start, a chance to go to classes in the evenings, it is a pat

    • by thaylin (555395)
      That is what CCs do. CCs dont care about your SATs, they give you a small test to see if you need remedial classes. They care typically cheap and prepare you for work, of if you get a transfer degree, advancement to a 4 year.
  • by wjcofkc (964165)
    These are the sorts of aborted attempts at schools that produce "graduates" with a stack of certifications yet who somehow don't even know what the ping command is. Countless times I have encountered these individuals only to be shocked that despite the year or more they spend in these places I have literally had to instruct them on how to use the basics like ping, traceroute, ip/ifconfig, etc... and then how to use such things to perform basic troubleshooting. How someone obtain an A+, Network+, and more a
  • minor league for football & basketball or let them take trades / tech school classes even if they need to go to a different school to take the classes.

  • Refunds? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Sunday March 16, 2014 @10:54AM (#46498555) Homepage Journal

    How about forcing them to refund tuition to people they lied to in order to get them to sign up?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      First rule of Acquisition

      1. Once you have their money, never give it back

    • by kenh (9056)

      How about holding traditional colleges and universities to the same standard?

      How many ivy league baristas are there? Book store clerks with Masters & PHds?

      • by thaylin (555395)
        Well if you read the summery, you would see the problem is the disproportionate amount coming from the tech schools not the other way around. 50% of the defaults for a much smaller amount of students....
  • ... to not-for-profit institutions?

    Perhaps public high schools should be held to the same standard. Like Charter Schools.

  • Why would anyone rightly attend such an institution? As someone who has used community colleges to supplement my knowledge, and to get prerequisites for Medical School, this seems like a fools bargain for students. I mean community colleges, here in FL, are inexpensive, offer flexible class times, have convenient locations, etc. I went to an expensive engineering undergraduate institution (RPI), and some of these places charge pretty darn close to their tuition for an associates degree. The ROI on an engine
    • by pavon (30274)

      Where I live the community colleges are inexpensive, but do not have flexible class times for working people, and most of the tracks that have good job prospects have 2-5 year waiting lists. So many students choose to rack up the debt at TVI, PMI, UoP, where they can start immediately and continue a full-time job.

      The problems at our CC are mostly because they can't attract enough instructors. The community college pays them half of what of what they would make working in the field or teaching at a for-profi

  • new regulations that would hold colleges that receive federal student aid accountable for the employment success of their graduates.

    Will this regulation change also apply to "non-profit" colleges and universities?

    From the article:

    Students at for-profit colleges represent only about 13 percent of the total higher education population, but about 31 percent of all student loans and nearly half of all loan defaults. In the most recent data, about 22 percent of student borrowers at for-profit colleges defaulted

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