Benefits of For-Profit Schools
Plenty has been written about the drawbacks of for-profit schools. And we aren’t discounting the fact that there have been some major problems with this model. In 2012, a U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions led a major investigation that uncovered significant problematic business practices among many for-profits. The industry’s reputation is still recovering.
However, not all for-profit schools are suspect. There are still for-profit schools that are ethical and provide a good education. In addition, there are several significant benefits that for-profit schools have over the nonprofit and private school model. Here are a few reasons why for-profit schools aren’t all bad.
You don’t see a lot of waiting lists
Waiting lists are ubiquitous at more exclusive public schools and private nonprofits. They are also becoming a lot more prevalent at community colleges, which serve many of the same populations as for-profit schools.
But these can be nerve-wracking for students who want to know right away which schools they got into, and what their options are. With for-profit schools, you won’t need to spend any time wondering. Almost no for-profit schools have waiting lists. You find out right away whether or not you got in, and you don’t have to wait.
It isn’t hard to get in
If you had a low GPA in high school or if for other reasons you aren’t considered “college material” by most private nonprofit and public schools, you most likely can still get into a for-profit school. Many for-profit schools will take students who have a hard time achieving admission in other schools. They can often be a good option of last resort for those who struggle to gain admission in other places.
Lenient entrance exams
Not all trade schools require entrance exams. But some do, and for-profit schools are more likely to have easier barriers to entry. Some trade-related schools will allow possible students to take entrance exams once a month—at a cost, of course—until they get the minimum high score and can be admitted to the school.
They serve nontraditional students
For-profit schools serve a large number of nontraditional students; at some schools, what other colleges might define as “nontraditional” is in fact the norm. This means that for-profit schools and professors are likely to understand the challenges specific to nontraditional students, and there may be a better support system in place to help you graduate on time. In addition, the system for earning credits may be more geared toward helping you graduate and getting into the workplace faster.
They are often more practical
Traditional private and public nonprofits—such as liberal arts schools—are often seen as places that provide a safe haven for exploration. However, many nontraditional students know exactly why they need a degree—and are much more work-oriented. A for-profit school is more likely to understand this and be more focused on getting you into the workplace than giving you a more leisurely, well-rounded education. This can be a benefit or a drawback, depending on your goals—but for many nontraditional students, it is a benefit.
More online classes
Accredited online programs can be ideal for nontraditional students, because they allow enrolled students to study on their own time and in their own space. This makes it much easier to work studies around a full-time job or family obligations. While both for-profit and nonprofit schools offer online classes, many for-profits were constructed around a predominantly online model. This means more of your classes may be online, and the school and professors may be more familiar with and dedicated to providing a strong education online.
Not all for-profits are perfect
But some provide a good education and multiple benefits over nonprofit schools. When considering which for-profit is right for you, there are multiple considerations—including price, acceptance in your industry, and the strength of the program. But if a for-profit school with a good reputation meets your goals, it may be the right school for you—regardless of its for-profit status.
American Association of University Professors: The High Price of For-Profit Colleges
Population Studies Center: For-Profit Colleges, Educational Attainment, and Labor Market Outcomes
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