What’s a For-Profit College?

THE BASICS

A for-profit college is basically an educational institution that is also a business. They have shareholders and they are selling a product (in this case, education). Some of them are strictly online, and offer traditional classes like math, history, science etc. Others are a mix between online and physical classroom time, comparable to trade schools that offer courses in nursing, electrical repair, etc. You can get an associate’s, bachelor’s or even master’s degree from a for-profit college. You’ve probably heard some of the names of for-profit colleges on TV or the radio- DeVry University, ITT Technical Institute, and the University of Phoenix are all online for-profit schools.

CONFLICT

There is a lot of conflict surrounding for-profit colleges. Critics argue that an education should not be treated as a product. They question the moral character of for-profits, questioning why anyone would want to charge someone more money for the same education they could get at community college. For-profit colleges disagree with these claims, ensuring that they will provide a higher quality education because they are private schools. They have also pledged to further increase their education standards, which should drastically change for-profit schools.

ADVANTAGES

The time factor is obviously huge. If you work or take care of a family all day, you may not be able to dedicate the time and go sit in on a physical class. Online college is great because it allows you to work on your own time. That way, you can stay at home with the kids or take classes at night after you’re home from work.

Another great advantage is the fact that for-profit colleges have virtually no admission requirements. Pretty much anyone can enroll and take classes. This is great if you’ve made academic mistakes in the past. If you have a bad GPA or have taken poor tests at your previous school, you’re still able to get an education through online for-profit college. SAT or ACT tests aren’t even required for for-profit college.

For-profit schools focus on more practical aspects than the academic ones studied at a traditional college. For-profit teachers are usually professionals who actually teach in the field they work. This is an advantage as it gives you some real world viewpoints instead of a professor’s straight-from-the-textbook lecture. You are also able to graduate faster from an online college, as semesters are usually shorter with a slightly higher workload.

DISADVANTAGES

Some for-profit colleges are not accredited. Accreditation is necessary for a useful degree. Attending a non-accredited college is essentially worthless, as no employer is going to see any value in an unaccredited degree, even if you may have spent four years and 160,000 dollars on it. Accreditation can be found on the school’s main website, or possibly by doing a quick Google search of the school you are thinking about attending.

For-profit schools are also a lot more expensive than a lot of traditional schools. Some colleges, like Full Sail University, can cost over 40,000 dollars a year. That’s an incredible amount of money, and you’re going to be working for a long time to pay it off. You should make sure that you invest in a good school which will give you a high-demand job so that you don’t fall behind on payments.

Not all for-profit schools are viable education options. Since the business is for-profit, you can’t be sure that your best interests are at heart. Many of these “schools” are just looking to make a quick buck, and will reward you with a passing grade even if you turn in substandard work, which can be detrimental to you in the future. Oftentimes, schools are more concerned with shareholders than students and you could find yourself in some deep academic- and financial struggle.

Generally, for-profit schools are considered less prestigious than their brick-and-mortar counterparts. Some employers do not hold online degrees in as high regard as they do with actual university diplomas, and you could find yourself struggling because of it. However, getting a degree of any sort will put you ahead of degreeless completion.

CONCLUSION

In the end, the decision to attend a for-profit school is yours to make. There are many pros and cons to online for-profit schools, but there are also pros and cons to traditional colleges or non-profit online schools.

Low admission requirements, time management options and practical focus are just some of the advantages of for-profit colleges. A few of the disadvantages are lack of accreditation, high cost and low prestige. Weighing your options carefully is crucial in the decision making process. You could change your life for the better or for the worse, but it all comes down to personal wants and needs. If the advantages outweigh the disadvantages in your specific case, you should look up some for-profit schools that offer classes in your desired field.

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