Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
Education The Almighty Buck IT News

Can For-Profit Tech Colleges Be Trusted? 557

snydeq found a story questioning "the quality of education on offer at institutions such as University of Phoenix, DeVry, ITT Tech, and Kaplan in the wake of increasing scrutiny for alleged deceptive practices [PDF] that leave students in high debt for jobs that pay little. 'For-profit schools carry a stigma in some eyes because of their reputation for hard sales pitches, aggressive marketing tactics, and saddling students with big loans for dubious degrees or certificates,' Robert Scheier writes. 'Should IT pros looking to increase their skills, or people seeking to enter the IT profession, consider such for-profit schools? And should employers trust their graduates' skills?'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Can For-Profit Tech Colleges Be Trusted?

Comments Filter:
  • by alen ( 225700 ) on Monday March 07, 2011 @12:03PM (#35406226)

    i know someone who went from zero to a good java dev after going to a similar college with a tech program. otherwise we'll be like europe where if you don't do well on the high school tests they give you will never go to college and never have a chance to change your life in the future

    • by FooAtWFU ( 699187 ) on Monday March 07, 2011 @12:09PM (#35406344) Homepage
      I'm doing hiring for my team. I don't care too much about the education: if the candidate can do a decent job on the coding quiz, they could be a Spanish major for all I care.
      • by 1s44c ( 552956 )

        I'm doing hiring for my team. I don't care too much about the education: if the candidate can do a decent job on the coding quiz, they could be a Spanish major for all I care.

        Dam right. Formal qualifications are not so relevant since books and other sources of knowledge became affordable for all. People who want to learn will and those that don't are not going to be changed by expensive schooling.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I've known people on both sides of the spectrum, but I can definitely say that if you come out of a University of Phoenix or DeVry program you're going to face a hiring stigma. Deservedly or undeservedly, these programs have a reputation that ranks decidedly below basically any traditional four year institution. They don't seem like a great deal considering the high cost, but when you compare that to what a candidates other options are (or lack thereof), it still might be a good plan. It sure would suck t
      • " I can definitely say that if you come out of a University of Phoenix or DeVry program you're going to face a hiring stigma. "

        Mod Parent UP!

        That's the real problem. UoP and DeVry turned themselves into diploma mills. They accepted everyone and gave everyone a degree if you paid $80,000+.

        Of course every student is different, but the ones that end up at UofP or DeVry are usually the less desirable type.

        Before you decide on any college call (or email) the places you want to work and see if they
      • Having attended DeVry (I stopped because I ran out of money 3/4 through) and seeing what passed as senior level students, I wouldn't hire a DeVry graduate unless they had other credentials. I gained some knowledge there, but only because I actively sought additional information from professors and helped with several extra-curricular activities revolving around more advanced topics.

        For example: one of my classmates was stumped that she couldn't get her Java project to compile. Instead of a .java text file,

    • by floop ( 11798 ) *
      You should change that to "...never go to college for FREE". It's true that if you test poorly the government doesn't give you a free ride. You can sill pay. Heck you can even come to the US on a student visa and attend ITT. You would be better off buying a few books, a good laptop, attending local programming user groups and trying to work on open-source or mechanical turk projects.
    • by koyangi ( 926760 ) on Monday March 07, 2011 @12:16PM (#35406454)
      It can be a foot in the door (albiet a rather expensive one). We have a pre-sales support engineer from DeVry. He did not have the grades/money to go to GA Tech, so he worked as a test technican while he went to DeVry. He is very good at what he does but I mostly attribute that to his intelligence rather than anything he learned at DeVry.

      His degree allowed HR to "check the box" for college education and thus his manager was allowed to interview him and find out that he could be trained as well as tie his own shoes. The customers love him and he often finds very creative solutions to difficult problems. Had he not attended DeVry then he never would have made it past HR or, if he had gotten a job here, it would have been on the production floor.
      • by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Monday March 07, 2011 @12:48PM (#35407008) Homepage Journal
        So you're saying his degree was worthless and he got $5k-$10k a year pre-tax for it? Man the last 2 years of a 4 year degree costs me as much as a decent sports car, and my salary hike after cutting taxes off for it would be... enough to pay it off in a decade. By then, the sheer volume of experience I have makes up for the gap, and my degree is so old it's worthless in the job market. Not to mention the quality of living drop; the cost is too high, I can't live like that without the ability to actually have a life and afford things (I live alone, no room mates, in a small 1br; a 2br costs twice as much, plus the heating bill, never mind a house). Buying a used car off a dealer lot was a mistake enough.
    • I have to agree. A Tech school can work out even with the bad stigma of it. If you send out a resume some HR will simply round file you if you have nothing after high school listed. Even if they saddle their students with too much debt sometimes it helps to get your foot in the door. On the other hand 10 years ago I had two options. I could go to BSU which had the reputation of putting out CS majors who couldn't program to save their lives or a Tech School. I picked the Tech School rather then wait for
    • by fermion ( 181285 ) on Monday March 07, 2011 @12:38PM (#35406824) Homepage Journal
      Any open admissions institutions has the problem of accepting students and then not delivering a product. It is the nature of beast, Ethically, open admission institutions have the obligation of insuring that the student can succeed within the parameters of the school. This is even the case a good private K-12 schools. Students are asked to leave if they do achieve success.

      What has traditionally been the case is beyond this. ITT has been in trouble for at least 15 years because it appeared that they aggressively recruited students, encouraged the students to maximize student loans, without any regard to the ability of the student to enjoy any level of success in the program. It seems that University of Phoenix merely expanded this model of student loan harvesting from the technical school to the University. I am sure that ITT and U of Phoenix both provide a valuable educational experience. What I am not so sure of is if they should be allowed to use federal student loans to provide such services.

      Here is the thing that I am sure is never told the incoming student at ITT or U of Phoenix or any of the private diploma mills. A federal student loan never goes away. The student has to pay it back. No bankruptcy, no forgiveness. And the loans are relatively high interests rates, which accrues always, even if one has a delay in payment. The 50K many of these instituions charge can easily become 100K. It is easy to argue that such institution exist solely to transfer money from the federal tax payers purse to the coffers of private corporations. I would not do so. I would only say that in a free market in which these private for-profit institutions are competing, why would we need a federal loan program if they were in fact providing value. Sure, for non profit school such things can keep things fair and allow all qualified students to get an education. But if we are not talking qualified student, and any student, I think the private market would make much more reliable decisions. At least the student would be able to declare bankruptcy, and institutions with a high rate of bankruptcies would not longer receive loans. The free market, in this case, would work.

    • by garyok ( 218493 )
      During my engineering degree in the UK (still a part of Europe - for now...), we had a couple of students in my courses who hadn't got the requisite qualifications for course entry in high school but went to local colleges (only universities grant degrees in the UK), got Higher National qualifications and used those to apply to university. They got grants (not worth very much but we had them then) and student loans no problem, and they had a base of significantly better maths and electronics ability than th
    • by Gribflex ( 177733 ) on Monday March 07, 2011 @01:47PM (#35407958) Homepage

      "otherwise we'll be like europe where if you don't do well on the high school tests they give you will never go to college and never have a chance to change your life in the future"

      When I first moved to France, it was the season when test results were just coming out.
      A major paper ran a story about 'What do do if your kid doesn't get into a Top 10 school?'
      The answer: enroll them in an IT program, or ship them to America.

      Kinda took the wind outta my sails a bit to read that what I'd considered a good career choice (Ok, I went to a Canadian school but still) was the second rate choice here. After spending two more years here, I've realized that it was only partly a jab. While it's true that IT careers are not typically highly regarded over here, it's also true that in both North America, and IT worldwide, your test scores are not considered a primary qualifier for success.

  • by Drakkenmensch ( 1255800 ) on Monday March 07, 2011 @12:03PM (#35406234)

    ... when the creators of Robot Chicken make fun of you in their latest series, Titan Maximum:

    Willie: I can help! I have a diploma in mechanical engineering!

    Palmer: *sarcastically* From DeVry.

  • Non-Profit? (Score:2, Insightful)

    All other colleges are non-profit? Harvard is non-profit? Really?

    • Re:Non-Profit? (Score:5, Informative)

      by larry bagina ( 561269 ) on Monday March 07, 2011 @12:14PM (#35406432) Journal
      Harvard is a private non-profit. Colleges are either public (state run, taxpayer subsidized) or private (no state funding, money comes from tuition, donations, endowments). Private colleges can either be for-profit or non-profit, which is a tax designation. non-profit colleges will gladly help you rack up 6 figures of debt for a completely useless degree.
      • by JamesP ( 688957 )


        There's nothing wrong with being for-profit.

        But they probably won't charge you 10 years of debt for that, as opposed to the 'big-name' non-profits.

      • ... is that for-profit colleges have a particularly bad track record of ripping off their students. Some of the horror stories include continuing to auto-register students for classes after they've announced their intent to withdraw, and charging them for it - even though they've long since stopped attending the school. Then the student gets hit with a gigantic bill for an education they haven't even received.

        Can non-profit schools rip off students? Sure. But it seems that many for-profit institutions are p

    • Re:Non-Profit? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by shis-ka-bob ( 595298 ) on Monday March 07, 2011 @12:17PM (#35406476)
      There is an entire new class of educational institution that Wall Street has dreamed up. They basically use college students to suck up government and private loans. The money from the loans get deposited into the university. The students get an online degree that probably doesn't get them a job. But the student in 100% liable for the loan. You cannot even escape with bankruptcy. But the investors who never gave the student nothing more than a worthless sheet of paper is protected. This scam artist like Phoenix University are mere doppelgangers, they lack the substance of a reputable University like Harvard.
      • Right, at Harvard it isn't the investors who make the money, it is the administration. That is much better and more reputable.
      • Re:Non-Profit? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by eepok ( 545733 ) on Monday March 07, 2011 @01:20PM (#35407516) Homepage []

                * CEOs of for-profit colleges receive up to 26 times the amount of pay that the heads of traditional universities do.

                * Many of the schools make up to ninety percent of their revenue from U.S. taxpayers, through the Pell Grants, Stafford Loans, and other federal assistance used by their students. 91.5 percent of Kaplan's revenue comes from the government, along with 88 percent revenue at the University of Phoenix.

                * Just 11 percent of higher education students in the country attend for-profit schools, yet they account for 26 percent of federal student loans and 44 percent of student loan defaults.

      • If I had mod points, I'd mod up. I came to this conclusion a couple years ago (a couple years after I graduated from a public university) when I noticed more and more 'hobby-like' liberal arts programs, along with much fancier classrooms and hotel-like dorms. Colleges realized that they can sell students on a promise and a dream, and leverage their payment with federally endorsed loans co-signed by the parents. The coming realization for US High Schoolers is going to be that college isn't for everyone, a

    • Re:Non-Profit? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Artraze ( 600366 ) on Monday March 07, 2011 @12:22PM (#35406550)

      THIS. Where are my mod points? The entire point of a college is to make money; even for state schools. This has become particularly bad in recent years where college has become less about higher learning and more about getting that piece of paper that shows that you payed and are now eligible to do anything beyond grunt work.

      I, for one, welcome these "for profit" schools: They are like a parody of the existing system, showing how a diploma is really just about paying the money and playing the game. I am cautiously optimistic that the weakness of their 'shovelware' degrees will wake people up to the fact that every other institution is fundamentally the same.

    • A lot of this has to do with the legal definition of what makes profit and non-profit. You won't find Harvard being publicly traded on the NYSE for instance, but you can trade in DeVry stocks (NYSE: DV).

      Nonprofits don't share their surplus profits with share holders.

  • by jimbolauski ( 882977 ) on Monday March 07, 2011 @12:05PM (#35406256) Journal

    that leave students in high debt for jobs that pay little

    The majority of liberal arts programs would fall into that category.

    • Is that you, Garrison Keillor?
    • It doesn't matter whether you go to the Ohio State University, Harvard, DeVry, ITT Tech or ANY higher education institution. They ALL want your dollars.....they ALL try and get you in there no matter what including getting you to accept student loans. They ALL do this.....whether they are for profit or not. Anyone who doesn't think so is kidding themselves.

    • by JamesP ( 688957 )

      Well it's your choice

      Like it's your choice to buy a hundred thousand dollar gaz-guzzler giant SUV

      At least the SUV is cheaper and you can torch it and pretend it was stolen (not that I'm advocating insurance fraud)

    • by eepok ( 545733 ) on Monday March 07, 2011 @01:17PM (#35407480) Homepage

      Liberal Arts programs aren't there to help people make money. In fact, most university degrees weren't (and shouldn't be) designed to create workforce-ready individuals. They exist to create intelligent, educated people who are capable of learning even more after they graduate and putting that knowledge to use in improving life on Earth. (Mileage varies.). The modern Liberal Arts (History, Language, Literature, Political Science, Sociology, Anthropology, Philosophy, etc.) are there to explore humanity for what it was, what it is, and in an effort to prevent past mistakes from repeating themselves.

      Ya, that sounds "high fa-lootin'", but that's why universities exist and that's why the curriculum is as it is. It's idealist in that its purpose is to make a better (interpretable) world just by giving people information and teaching them how to analyze and act on it.

      Vocational training is completely different. DeVry and ITT Tech (for-profit, vocational colleges) may genuinely offer more reliable, quicker means to getting a well-paying position than a State University liberal arts degree, but they, again, do to different things. DeVry can teach you how to become an electrician's apprentice after which you learn a bunch of skills and make money in the future. Cool. The liberal arts degree can help you understand the world around you. It all depends who you are and what you want from life.

      It's also worth noting that there are some very close overlaps between vocational schooling and university training. For example, nursing schools train their students along very similar lines of master's degrees in biology, but just with less expectation of in-depth knowledge and a greater focus on responsibility and accountability. A program in electrical engineering will have very similar concepts taught to a vocational series on becoming an electrician, but the two final products (the more-educated individual) are competent in two very different fields.

      There are even certain fields where subjects outright overlap in their academic and vocational training: Teacher training vs. academic studies in Education, Business, Accounting vs. Economics, etc.

  • by Gaijin42 ( 317411 ) on Monday March 07, 2011 @12:05PM (#35406262)

    But you also can't trust public colleges, and for the same reason.

    Public colleges in general cost SIGNIFICANTLY more than these tech schools, and the job prospects for 4 year grads are dismal. Go to grad school (especially in something like English, Art, and the Humanities), and your only job prospects are probably working for the same school that gave you the degree.

    Even formally "instant upper class" things like law school are not a good payout anymore.

    • Re:No you cant (Score:4, Insightful)

      by tripleevenfall ( 1990004 ) on Monday March 07, 2011 @12:18PM (#35406484)
      Your prospects for salary are based on how rare your skillset is multiplied by how useful it is to a private firm that exists to make money. A doctorate in philosophy might be rare, but it isn't useful to a lot of software companies. A software company might need secretaries, but there are many millions of people who have that skill set. Having one of the two doesn't mean you deserve a great starting salary, you have to have both things going for you, and as people try to achieve that, salary structures change in some industries over time. They only remain the same for jobs where entry barriers are always relatively high or relatively low.
    • Re:No you cant (Score:5, Informative)

      by jayme0227 ( 1558821 ) on Monday March 07, 2011 @12:19PM (#35406508) Journal

      I don't agree with your statements, and neither does this chart. []

    • Re:No you cant (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Bengie ( 1121981 ) on Monday March 07, 2011 @01:15PM (#35407446)
      Not all public education is bad. I paid only $1800/semester(that includes free book rental) for my public college. Over the past 15 years of them teaching CIS, they had 100% of their graduates from CIS found a job in their field within a year and with an average starting wage of $78k. It's a smaller department, but they do well. Something like 20 students per semester. I even got to enjoy a few alumni guest speakers from Microsoft, some large world wide insurance company, and one that works with banks and the government to use heuristics to discover money laundering. Many of our alumni go onto top companies.

      ~$3.6k/year was a decent trade.

      Heck, my state's primary college would have only cost me $2k/semester, and they're so well known for genetics/law/CS/Computer-engineering that large portions of my in-state tuition was paid for by bio-engineering patents and second-semester freshmen computer engineers get contacted by Intel/AMD/IBM. Actually, my state uni has listed many years in top 10 world wide in several research and engineering fields.
  • by pak9rabid ( 1011935 ) on Monday March 07, 2011 @12:06PM (#35406272)
    Excuse my ignorance, but with all the tuition hikes in recent years, it seems to me that all colleges are 'for-profit'.
    • There are no investors that are expecting a direct payback from their investment in a not-for-profit university. Lawyers and investors know exactly what it meant by the term. Are universities cheap? Heck no, but it isn't to generate a profit for investors. Does Daddy Warbucks expect something in return for creating an endowment? Probably. Does he expect a direct return on his investment? No. Are the research faculty at a medical college well compensated? You bet. Is there pay excessive? That is
  • There are problems in how they recruited students, so the skills of the students who finish are in question? How does one lead to the other?

    • It is pretty simple. These 'universities' sell worthless degrees and the 'graduates' get jobs in proportion to their degrees (e.g., most get very low pay). The graduates, with big loans and tiny pay checks, end up defaulting on their loans in high numbers. The 'for profit' universities made the investors happy by taking money from students in exchange for as little as possible. But like any scam artists, they have a really nice story that is bound to work some of the time. The students pay up front for
  • Our hiring practices generally exclude anyone not coming from a "real" accredited college. I'd rather hire somebody from a community college than anyone that went and sold their soul to ITT Tech or Devry--it shows a profound lack of common sense and planning ability. It's right up there with hiring somebody that lists "Geek Squad" on their resume. Pass...
  • by EmagGeek ( 574360 ) <gterich AT aol DOT com> on Monday March 07, 2011 @12:11PM (#35406388) Journal

    DeVry is STEEP for an ABET-T accredited program. One could go to a State school and obtain an ABET-E Engineering degree for a LOT less than the cost of DeVry.

    What these colleges have over the State schools; however, is the complete lack of selectivity. They will let just about anyone in, and it'll be up to them to sink or swim. Most of them sink, and some of them swim, and I have no doubt that a very small percentage of bright people, who are otherwise inadmissible to a State School due to circumstances not related to their academic performance, do very well for themselves. That's a tiny tiny percentage though.

    It's not all bad, but the lack of selectivity means most students will fail, and do so owing a lot of money. It's not entirely the school's fault. They should, however, raise the admission standards at least a little bit.

    • by dazedNconfuzed ( 154242 ) on Monday March 07, 2011 @12:55PM (#35407126)

      ...and just showing up isn't good enough.

      Most discussions about failure in education fails to note the student's own failure to DO THE WORK.

      About 1/3rd of my students fail, not because I'm tough or the material is hard or whatever the usual excuses are - they fail because they just don't do the work! Online quizzes not even opened/started, online discussions not participated in, homework assignments not submitted (not even a "I'm confused" text file as I recommend)...I am very sensitive and responsive to even slight attempts at effort, but if they don't do anywhere close to enough work - and I mean if I gave a 100% on every assignment they did do it still wouldn't hit 60% for the course - then there is nothing anyone else can do for them.

      If you are willing to do the work, you can get a fine education at any school at any price.
      If you are not willing to do the work, you will fail and lose a lot of money in the process.

      And yes, for-profit tech colleges can be trusted. If their product (education) sucked as bad as is implied by the question, they would soon fail because (hey, get this) they didn't do the work.

    • by $RANDOMLUSER ( 804576 ) on Monday March 07, 2011 @01:32PM (#35407702)
      As someone who taught programming (advanced C++, Java) part-time at the community college level for years, I can tell you that the lack of selectivity you talk about has a far more pernicious effect than simply allowing unqualified students to sign up for courses they are destined to fail. Allowing unqualified students into a classroom simply because they can pay for it has the reverse effect of "a rising tide raises all ships" - 2 or 3 (or 8 or 10) students in a classroom of 25 who don't have the prerequisite knowledge to be there causes NO END of distractions and problems for both the teacher AND the qualified students in the room.

      I got out of teaching because unqualified students who didn't (and never could have) understand what I was talking about expected me to somehow pour knowledge into their heads without any effort on their parts - because, after all, they were PAYING for it, by god. Meanwhile, they were forcing me to present a dumber course to the people who really DID "get it". And the better students were frustrated by the dumber (and slower) level of instruction. Truly a lose/lose situation for all.
      • Allowing unqualified students into a classroom simply because they can pay for it has the reverse effect of "a rising tide raises all ships" - 2 or 3 (or 8 or 10) students in a classroom of 25 who don't have the prerequisite knowledge to be there causes NO END of distractions and problems for both the teacher AND the qualified students in the room.

        I'm at an age and a point in my career where I could go back to school to study something that interests me for its own sake, and this is exactly why I won't even consider doing it. There's no reason for me to spend an entire semester on material I could teach myself in six weeks just so a bunch of undermotivated assholes can have some slow-motion hand-holding while constantly questioning whether each new item is going to be on the test and whether it has any "real world" utility. The gratification of seein

      • Amen to that. I remember taking Java and Autocad (different classes obviously) and in both cases the instructor had to spend a lot of time teaching basic computer skills. I ended up nearly failing Autocad in large part because the instructor spent so much time teaching basic computing skills that there wasn't time to actually cover the course material. Or get clarification about the expectations for various projects.

        I wonder what sort of a person thinks they can program or use a complicated computer program

  • Short answer: No (Score:5, Informative)

    by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Monday March 07, 2011 @12:11PM (#35406396) Homepage

    Long answer: In the United States at least, if you have no college degree but are interested in putting in the time, money, and effort needed to get one, you will get the biggest bang for your buck at your local community college, possibly followed by some time spent at a nearby branch of your state university system. It's not MIT, RIT, Caltech, Stanford, etc, but it's going to be a pretty solid college education at a very reasonable price, and cost considerably less than the clowns at ITT or DeVry or University of Phoenix will charge you.

    The only real exception to this rule is if you qualify for significant financial aid that allows you to attend a fantastic technical school at the same or lower cost than your government-run schools.

    • MIT, RIT, Caltech, Stanford

      RIT is a tier down from the others listed, both in terms of prestige and price. It is probably a much better bang for your buck.

      • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

        Is it anymore? Since they went to semesters the retention rate shot way up, not a good sign.

        I wonder if I can get some of my money back now that they are trying to devalue its name.

    • Re:Short answer: No (Score:5, Informative)

      by e9th ( 652576 ) <> on Monday March 07, 2011 @12:25PM (#35406602)
      One BIG problem with the for-profits is that once you start with them, you're stuck. As ITT-Tech [] puts it:

      It is unlikely that any credits earned at an ITT Technical Institute will be transferable to or accepted by any institution other than an ITT Technical Institute.

      At least with even a community college, there's a good chance that many or most of your earned credits, especially at the 100 or 200 level, will transfer.

    • Even a community college is hard when you're working full time. Most of the degrees that'll lead to a good salary need full time schooling. The classes are in the day and you have to attend classes.

      There's some knowledge based jobs out there that don't fall in that category, but there was a story today about those going away to computers and outsourcing...

      School isn't as easy as everything thinks. People always point to guys that work two jobs and go through school, ignoring the fact those guys are
    • you will get the biggest bang for your buck at your local community college

      But don't underestimate the value of being in a really smart peer-group at a high-quality university. I might have covered the same material if I'd gone to a community college, but man, finally being with people who were both really smart and really motivated academically was an awesome change and an awesome challenge.

  • by emagery ( 914122 ) on Monday March 07, 2011 @12:13PM (#35406424)
    Probably ~not~ but I would argue that the university system isn't immune to monetary temptations either; I went to a state university system, came from a working class family that could not afford to help me out... though the compsci and physics programs were challenging and rewarding (and well respected), the financial aide department was apparently (for lack of any rational alternative probability) offended at a 'poor' boy coming to their school. They raked me over the coals, lied through their teeth, and set me up for a lot of unnecessary pain including myriad courses audited due to their shinanigans preventing me from being able to afford the textbooks! This may sound like whining, but compare this to my wealthy ex-girlfriend at the time who came from out of state (re: triple tuition costs) who, in spite of a much more shallow and far less lustrous academic background, got a free ride through school. To her credit, she maintained it well... I'm not blaming her. But the school played serious favorites with what their fiscal equations must have indicated that she was better odds in terms of alumni donations to the school. They rewarded her and punished me based on equations and assumptions, best as I can figure. Well, now she's working in a department store and I'm writing code that empowers a million plus people, and that school's behavior has taken on something of a self-fulfilling prophecy; they'll never get a donated cent out of me.
  • Ivies are costing 50-60K per year now a days. Met an alum of U-Chicago who was shocked to learn his alma mater charges 55K per year.

    The most refined form of socialism practiced in USA in the admission/financial aid policies of the Ivies. It is all, "If you have the money pay the full price even if you are the top student being admitted. If you don't have money you a get a full free ride, even if you are at the bottom of the admitted students".

    The really rich dont care. The poor dont care they get benefited. It is the frugal middle who did all the right things, who took sensible size mortgage, squirreled away the money, took less expensive vacations and cheaper cars and did everything your grandma told you to do, are being punished for good behavior. With incentive system so warped, is there any surprise America is on the decline?

    • by CrazyJim1 ( 809850 ) on Monday March 07, 2011 @12:22PM (#35406536) Journal
      Do student loans really help people, or do they just inflate the cost of colleges across the board? I'm 34 and still in student loan debt, probably until I'm 40+
    • ...
      The really rich dont care. The poor dont care they get benefited. It is the frugal middle who did all the right things, who took sensible size mortgage, squirreled away the money, took less expensive vacations and cheaper cars and did everything your grandma told you to do, are being punished for good behavior. With incentive system so warped, is there any surprise America is on the decline?

      This is one of the best descriptions of this problem I've seen lately. The middle class in America is getting laid off and losing their houses in exchange for studying hard and getting a degree then working hard once they got a job. The rich are still rich, and the lower-class, aside from immigrants, is largely made up of people who are content to accept the quality of life that a trailer and a welfare check brings. ... This is depressing.

    • That is a pretty uninformed rant. Ever heard of early admissions or legacy? We've had 2 recent Presidents who lucked up into Ivy enrollments and gentleman-C'd their ways to big fat Golden Ticket that is an Ivy league degree. The Ivy League schools are still powered by privilege. I'm also assuming that never had to worry about paying for college if you think that people without the money for tuition magically get a free ride.

      College aid for poor students is so that kids with parents either unblessed with

    • Sure, elite colleges are quite expensive, and the cost-benefit relationship in a lot of cases is way out of whack. But at least with an elite college you can 1) be reasonably sure you're at least going to get a top-quality education out of the deal, and 2) not worry too much that the university is actively trying to steal from you. The quality of education you get out of, say, ITT Tech or Kaplan is sometimes dubious, and such institutions have been known to use shady tactics like continuing to auto-register

  • My father has attended both "public" colleges and for-profit colleges and says that both seem to offer very similar educations and difficulty of completion. He's gotten degrees from each (a bit of an over-achiever at times) and hasn't had any problems regarding the pedigree of his degrees when it comes to finding jobs or contracts.

    Maybe for-profit colleges do lead to a higher loan default rate, but that could be because a lot of the people defaulting on the loans are people who just weren't ready or able t

  • The quality of the many recent graduates I interview from traditional colleges and universities is atrocious. They have no analytical skills what so ever and expect to come in making big bucks and leading projects. The ones that I did hire sit around all day worrying about how they could have used super duper new programming paradigm X and take forever to complete what should be simple development tasks. They shut down if a design spec given by a customer is not perfect rather than working with the custo

  • The original report was overly harsh and quickly got picked apart for purposefully twisted wording. Regardless, the report is highly flawed because it attempts to attribute a problem to all for profits while the investigators targeted four specific for profits. In other words, they cherry picked.

    Worse, after they used the original report to generate a lot of negative press once the updated report was put out very little was mentioned of the change. Basically it was a tool of some agenda driven politician

  • My brother got his Associate's from ITT and Bachelor's from DeVry. Yes, his student loans will take awhile to pay off but the job he landed pays well and he often travels, so the company covers all those expenses. Before he was married he was always on the road, practically getting 20-40 hours of paid OT each week while having all lodging/food expenses covered.

    On the other hand, my cousin is an optometrist. Her school loans topped $100k, she has to work 2-3 part time jobs just to fill her time, and non
  • I will never recommend any for-profit paper mill to anyone, particularly ITT. I've got 40k worth of debt for the majority of classes entailing being a teacher reading a book to us. There were only two teachers that were worth a damn (Hi Mr. Miller and Mr. Richie) and I took three classes under them, total. Going there went something like this: First three quarters: This is pretty basic stuff, guess I get to the meat of things later. Second three quarters: Well, this seems to be as good as it gets, I'
  • I used to work at an internationally renowned medical facility who regularly treats world leaders. They actively encouraged employees to enroll in online campuses such as the University of Phoenix and Kaplan, to continue their educational development and help further their careers. I know several IT professionals there who started off answering phones at the help desk for $12/14 and hour and now through online education and hard work are now managers earning $90-100K+ after only 10 years. It comes down to t

  • by Above ( 100351 ) on Monday March 07, 2011 @12:37PM (#35406808)

    Many years ago Vocational Technical schools churned out welders, plumbers, electricians, and all sorts of other skilled trades by the boatload. Not everyone was cut out to be a white collar employee, and so if you didn't go to college you could choose these schools to learn a trade and get the skills necessary to get a good job.

    These programs have fallen by the wayside along with America's manufacturing. We don't need as many of those workers, so we don't train them.

    There is a new economy though, an information economy. Yesterdays Professional Engineers are today's MCSE's and CCIE's designing information systems. These high end jobs still require a college education, as much for the non-technical (e.g. communications) skills as for their technical parts.

    For each one of the architects of the information age there are hundreds of technicians. Just like a P.E. may have designed building built by a crew of 1,000 skilled workers in the past, today an information architect designs a data center built by hundreds. These "for profit colleges" specialize in associates (2 year) degrees with the tech skills necessary to fill these jobs. They tech the technical bits, but go really light on the reading, writing, and math skills that would actually give people the fundamentals; just like VoTech schools of old. The welder of old didn't need to know at a 14" beam was required for the weight load and how to calculate it, just how to lay down a perfect bead. The information tech of today doesn't need to know why there's a three layer switching fabric, just how to run Cat5 cables and test them.

    Where the "for profit colleges" mislead people is they want them to think they are getting the same education as a 4 year traditional college. They are not. Look at the curriculum online or talk to people who have attended one. These institutions teach you how to do, not how to think.

    Somehow it became stigmatized to have not attended college. Never mind that I've seen plenty of 6 figure skilled tradesmen, and seen plenty of 4 year college graduates struggle to get a $40k job. If these schools marketed themselves as VoTech they would be more honest, but no one would go. They are forced into marketing themselves as something they are not, and then folks are surprised, and disappointed with the output.

  • I have a BS/MS from brick-n-mortar schools, and a PhD from an on-line institution. This institution got caught up in the "diploma mill" congressional hearings several years ago, and has since gone belly up :-( I can tell you from personal experience that I worked *harder* getting my on-line degree than I did on either of the two earlier degrees. Granted, I was a working professional pursuing the degree this time around, rather than a single, straight from high school, student.

    I wasn't saddled with heavy

  • I know a lot of educators, and some of them said they are routinely shocked by college administration because they've heard some form of the phrase, "We don't train them for work; we just want to educate them," too many times.

    Here is the point: You go to college, you get educated.

    You are not useful.

    You are educated.

    I know a lot about meditation, and about Go, and about philosophy. That... would be useful if all of society knew about that kind of thing, because society is a mess. As a job skill, thou

  • While I'm sure the folks at these colleges are learning *something*, I never found that they were really learning much that was useful to me as an employer. Their "computer science" courses are generally about the sorts of things one can learn on the web. I need people who will use the web to learn stuff on the job. I need the school to teach them the stuff they're not likely to learn by just googling it. They're also often taught by other equally uneducated people in the industry. I never hired someone

  • Ok, so this is a few years ago and anecdotal but there you go.

    I got out of the Army in 82, spent a year doing odd jobs before landing a part time programming position in BASIC. In 1985 I went to Computer Learning Center to get better. Better training than the hobby and part time stuff I'd been doing and a chance at a better paying, full time job. The FORTRAN instructor was very good in teaching programming. The COBOL instructor was a screw-up who threw up on the grade book after a night of partying (the sta

  • "...institutions."

    They say it is a very sad state of affairs because the practice of taking advantage of poor and undereducated people is all too common. This particular person teaches English and states that they are blown away by the lack of fundamental grammar and even spelling skills. That being said, if you don't have a command over language, how will you ever understand that these schools are in fact, *for* profit (for someone at least) and they do not have people's best interests in mind?

    The b
  • I went to Herzing. It was on par with UW:Madison tuition. After ~$25,000 in debt I had an associate degree and two bachelor degrees, although I maxed out my transfers/test outs.

    At the time, their associates CS program was, IMO, one of the BEST systems to produce entry level programmers/consultants I've seen. I've gone to a number of other universities and public schools (while in the military, including military CS training), and I would have had no qualms hiring any of the recent grads from their assoc CS

  • by HerculesMO ( 693085 ) on Monday March 07, 2011 @01:00PM (#35407220)

    I graduated from a good private university, went off to get a tech job in the finance sector and make very good money. Having been down that road now, I realize what all colleges do -- "for profit" or not. They are businesses out to make money.

    First, they steer you towards bad loans. For example in New Jersey, the financial aid office steers you towards "NJClass" loans that have a 7% interest rate. You can do better if you go down to your local bank, or even shop around online. But the college gets a cut from this, so they offer you the NJClass loan. The prices you pay, especially for private schools, don't come NEAR what you will be worth in any amount of time. If you assume no scholarships (and I had a half scholarship -- more on that later), a good school can run you anywhere from $15k to $40k a year -- the former for a public state school, and the latter for a private school. Things are variable of course, whether you commute or dorm, but the minimum you can look at nowadays is about $15k, even commuting.

    I commuted to a private university with a half scholarship, and 5 years and a major change later, I graduated 65k in debt from school. I however, am one of the luckier ones as I have a real skill and work in an industry that while full of bad ethics, pays really well. I still pay about $450 a month on my loans, and that's after consolidating and everything else. If you figure that a college graduate that comes out of school will make less than a six figure salary, that $450 is going to be debilitating to pay back. And odds are, it will be even higher just because financial firms have gotten more twisted and turned over the years. Remember how the sub prime mortgages got bundled up and sold off as good loans to other people? It happens with school loans TOO. The bank has no reason to keep the loans, and in the 10 years I've been paying back my loans, I have had six different lenders.

    The only thing we can do as parents (if you are one, as I am), is to steer your kids to making good choices and spend less money on their education. The return simply doesn't work out well in their favor, especially with the debt load they will likely have to carry. Community college for two years, then a decent school for another two, and graduate with as little debt as possible. I am one of the lucky ones as I said; I have a six figure salary, I have a really good resume, I am good at what I do and I enjoy it to boot. Not everybody is that lucky, and the really unfortunate part is that it will affect their lives in a profound way, while Wall Street (and the industry I work for) will profit handsomely as they help shrink the middle class even more than they already are.

    If you want to take a real stand, write your senator and get the allowance for federal student loans raised to a higher level. It's easier to repay a 1.5 or 2% loan than a 7% with variable interest and lots of legalese you can't follow.

  • by Ohio Calvinist ( 895750 ) on Monday March 07, 2011 @01:31PM (#35407682)
    Disclaimer/Cred: I've been an instructor at a for-profit "tech" school, and at a NFP community college from 2008 to present.

    While teaching at a nationwide chain of tech schools, I personally found the certificate programs to be of dubious value based on their high-cost, almost $14,000, and the mandated grading structure in which students that completed software guided "labs" and had daily attendance were mathematically incapable of receiving a failing grade. I also felt like admissions/recruitment staff overstated the value of the program, but that most students had more sober expectations than our marketing hype suggested.

    (Note: I've found the actual degree track AS/AA or BA/BS or Masters programs to be of significantly higher quality. Granted, having gone to a large Midwestern university, I find the for-profit "college" experience to lack some of the extra-curricular qualities that I think heavily contribute to quality college education. Particularly at the AS/AA level, I find the career-ed (tech) coursework to be similar to accelerated CC offerings.)

    While I felt the program was not in the interest of the student (and eventually resigned), I will admit that it did serve a population that would have been likely to fail in the community college environment. Additionally, it did give them minimal exposure to the industry that they would have otherwise had a difficult time getting. The most valuable service was career placement, in which most of them got jobs at very rudimentary scripted help desks, which could get them enough "experience" to get past the HR goons and maybe get some attention with vendor certs or good interviewing toward more hands-on tech gigs.

    Granted, as I've sat on hiring boards, I would find the certificate alone to be of minimal value, and would identify more strongly with an untrained applicant who showed similar skills through self-education (e.g. repairing family computers, experimented with Linux, authored simple web pages) on the basis that self-education can be extremely valuable with a good on-the-job training program.

    I try to make it a point to discourage college certifications (and to set realistic vendor certification expectations) and push the AS as being far more valuable to employers that also opens the door to 4 year schools should they decide to go. Most of the counselors at the for-profit or non-profit community colleges generally tend to encourage students to simply do whatever they've already chosen to do, which is usually certification as a low-hanging fruit, as most simply want to avoid the general education courses.

    Unfortunately, the for-profit schools are doing a far better job of providing instruction of any quality that is often more ideal for working individuals. Working two jobs (FT programmer, PT instructor) and living fairly far from any university, has made me use University of Phoenix for my MBA program. As a student, compared to other peers taking programs in low-middle quality state-schools, I find UOP's offering to be comparable on content. That said, I do think that the accelerated nature does cause some topics to be handled superficially, and without proper self-motivation, promptly forgotten.

Air is water with holes in it.