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For-Profit Schools Competing with Community Colleges

May 21, 2012
Plain English Version

Community colleges are raising tuition and reducing courses that train students for jobs that are most in demand. These courses are the most expensive ones to teach. Many colleges are eliminating engineering and computer science departments.

North Carolina has a shortage of nurses. At one community college applicants outnumber available places. There is a waiting list just to get on the waiting list.

The reason is the recession. State governments are reducing tuition aid. In response, colleges are increasing class size.

For-profit schools are trying to meet demand by offering technical training essential to today’s jobs, but no longer available in colleges.  They also help students get the most aid available. Among the most famous of the schools are Phoenix and Kaplan universities.

The results are mixed. For-profit schools do not always deliver high-quality education and job placement records are not always reliable. They are not very well regulated by government. Some are even considered fly-by-night operations.

Some say colleges should be seen as investments in the long-term economic health of the community rather than as investments in individuals. Nevertheless, taxpayers are withdrawing subsidies for colleges. At the same time federal loans and grants are increasing subsidies for for-profit schools.

The New York Times

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