For Profit Colleges Essay

832 words - 4 pages

As today’s struggling economy copes with unemployment, inflation, and low job expansion more and more people are entering the arena to higher education to make their way to the middle class. With this increasing surge in the market traditional public universities and colleges are approaching capacity and are becoming highly elitist in their way of acceptance for enrollment, also, many of these aspiring students are first generation college-goers from low-income families and don’t find appeal in the traditional “liberal arts” college experience, or are adults who are in dead end careers and want to get their dream job. These students are career driven and want a degree that focuses on the job they seek. To answer this niche in the market independent for-profit institutions, such as the University of Phoenix, have created pseudo “shortcut” degrees that they advertise will put students in the exact job they want before they even graduate, and have them on the fast track to success. With huge catalogues of degrees that all boast to be industry accredited, and to be attainable in two and a half years cause these institutions attract tens of thousands. The kicker is, surprise, they’re a hoax.
For-profits started as small career and technical colleges in the 60’s, largely based in urban areas. They were relatively small, operated out of rented buildings, and they charged relatively low fees to their customers, who in turn learned specific skills that lead to jobs. They had few classes catering to trade and profession training such as plumbing, art, cosmetology, and the like. The situation changed with the founding of the University of Phoenix and DeVry University. These huge entities flooded the market and overshadowed the mom-and-pop shop technical schools. They began experimenting with the meaning of higher education; part-time working adults were not the main focus of the institutions--- these people were seen as a large customer base that public institutions had either ignored or disdained. They didn’t require a campus, or all the bells and whistles that come with a campus; such as a fitness center, a student, and so on. Accreditation was the key game changer for the For-profits. This allowed for a degree of respect to them, but more importantly it allowed for access to federal financial aid. Had this not happened, For-profits expansion would have been greatly crippled and they probably would have never even gotten off the ground (Tierney 27).
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