More Scrutiny of Career Colleges Recommended


September 22, 2009
by Scholarships.com Staff
For-profit career colleges have had a rocky history, being met with skepticism and criticism from traditional academic institutions, as well as undergoing a great degree of government scrutiny over the years, as some institutions have been revealed to engage in a variety of questionable practices. So, when the Government Accountability Office announced an investigation of proprietary institutions that participate in federal student financial aid programs, few in the education industry were surprised. The results of these investigations were released on Monday, and they indicate that in at least some cases, distrust towards career colleges may still be warranted.

For-profit career colleges have had a rocky history, being met with skepticism and criticism from traditional academic institutions, as well as undergoing a great degree of government scrutiny over the years, as some institutions have been revealed to engage in a variety of questionable practices. So, when the Government Accountability Office announced an investigation of proprietary institutions that participate in federal student financial aid programs, few in the education industry were surprised. The results of these investigations were released on Monday, and they indicate that in at least some cases, distrust towards career colleges may still be warranted.

For-profit colleges have higher student loan default rates than any other sector of higher education, with two-year cohort default rates topping 11 percent according to recently released annual Department of Education data, and four-year default rates clearing 23 percent according to the GAO report. By comparison, state colleges have two-year default rates of 6 percent and 9.5 percent respectively, with the default rates for private colleges falling even lower.

While acknowledging that much of this discrepancy is likely due to the different student populations these institutions serve, the GAO found that part of this high default rate could be connected to questionable admission and aid application practices at for-profit colleges. Under current federal law, in order for students to qualify for financial aid, they need to demonstrate "ability to benefit" from higher education. This means that they must have either earned a high school diploma or GED or passed a test indicating they are prepared for college-level instruction. Some of the proprietary colleges investigated by the GAO encouraged students to purchase high school diplomas from diploma mills to circumvent the testing process.

It appears that in at least one case, employees of a career college helped prospective students cheat on an ability to benefit test, even changing their answers after the fact to ensure their scores were high enough. GAO investigators posed as sudents at a school in the Washington, DC area and attempted to deliberately fail this test.  According to the report, they were given some of the answers to the test and also saw evidence of the school tampering with their scores to ensure that they passed and qualified for aid.

These practices allow students who wouldn't otherwise qualify for federal aid access to college instruction and money for school, but also can saddle students who are likely to be unable to complete and benefit from college coursework with large amounts of student loan debt. The Career College Association, which represents proprietary colleges, assures that these practices are not widespread and that strict standards are in place. However, the GAO still urges the federal government to provide more oversight of ability to benefit testing and financial aid disbursement at for-profit colleges.

If you're considering attending a career college, be sure to make sure its practices are legitimate and you are likely to enhance your earning potential by completing a degree or certificate there. Do your research about the school's reputation, the program's reputation and job and salary prospects for graduates of your prospective program.  Also, be wary about borrowing and make sure you don't get into a position where you've taken out too many federal or private loans to be able to pay them back. Attending a career college can help you land a better job or a higher salary, but this report indicates that there are still schools with dodgy practices out there, so diligence is still required when choosing a college.

College is expensive, Scholarships.com is completely free. Pay for your college education with as much free college scholarship money as possible. By applying to all the awards you qualify for, you can be sure to not miss a single opportunity in paying for your college expenses - including tuition, fees, room and board. Get matched to college scholarships instantly and start applying today by conducting a free college scholarship search at Scholarships.com.

Discuss

Share your thoughts and perhaps thousands of students will benefit from your unique insight on the subject!



If you can read this, don't touch the following fields


 
The Supreme Court on Monday partially reinstated the POTUS' travel ban, exempting foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States. Acceptable groups include students admitted to U.S. colleges and universities, employees who have accepted job offers in the U.S., and lecturers invited to speak to American audiences.

International Students Impacted by Partial Travel Ban

June 27, 2017 9:08 AM
by Susan Dutca
The Supreme Court on Monday partially reinstated the POTUS' travel ban, exempting foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.

    When it comes to earning scholarships for college, some students have the go big or go home mentality and chase the big buck scholarship opportunities. Landing a huge scholarship may take more work - meaning more time spent on the application process and essays, needing strong recommendation letters and competing against a pool of highly-qualified students. If you're motivated to land a large dollar scholarship that can potentially pay for your entire college tuition, check out these generously-endowed scholarships:

Large Dollar Scholarships

June 23, 2017 11:01 AM
by Susan Dutca
When it comes to earning scholarships for college, some students have the "go big or go home" mentality and chase the big buck scholarship opportunities. Landing a huge scholarship may take

    Everyone knows big-name companies such as Google or Coca-Cola...but did you know that these companies also offer scholarship opportunities to help you pay for college? That's right! If you love these quality products and services, you may be interested these generously-endowed scholarships. Check out this list of brand name scholarships offered by the companies with which you are most familiar:

Brand Name Scholarships

June 22, 2017 2:44 PM
by Susan Dutca
Everyone knows big-name companies such as Google or Coca-Cola...but did you know that these companies also offer scholarship opportunities to help you pay for college? That's right! If you love

    Independence Day, also known as the Fourth of July, is the day in which we celebrate America's independence and freedom. Education has been, and will always be a great equalizer. Even though college can be expensive, it is still a fast track towards the American Dream and can be more easily attained with the help of financial aid in the form of grants and scholarships - which do not have to be repaid! Exercise your freedom this July and help make your college education dreams more affordable with these red, white and blue July 2017 scholarships:

July 2017 Summer Scholarships

June 22, 2017 11:43 AM
by Susan Dutca
Independence Day, also known as the Fourth of July, is the day in which we celebrate America's independence and freedom. Education has been, and will always be a great equalizer. Even though
POTUS Donald Trump is pushing for apprenticeship programs and intends to support the initiative with an apprenticeship grant program of up to $200 million, with special emphasis on industries such as information technology,  healthcare, and manufacturing. The college alternative initiative hopes to attract and prepare students for great careers that do not require a four-year degree or the massive debt that often comes with those four-year degrees and even two-year degrees.

POTUS Pushing Apprenticeship Programs, Grants in 2017

June 14, 2017 11:16 AM
by Susan Dutca
POTUS Donald Trump is pushing for apprenticeship programs and intends to support the initiative with an apprenticeship grant program of up to $200 million, with special emphasis on industries such as

    Summer is finally here and fall semester may be the last thing on your mind right now. However, you may be one of the many students who need to work a summer gig, save up, or rely on your parents and student loans to help foot your fall tuition bill. While those are all legitimate options, you now have more free time (and less homework and tests), so why not take advantage of these summer scholarships? It's not too late to earn free college scholarships to help pay for school. Use your downtime wisely by applying for these summer 2017 scholarships!:

Summer 2017 Scholarships

June 2, 2017 3:47 PM
by Susan Dutca
Summer is finally here and fall semester may be the last thing on your mind right now. However, you may be one of the many students who need to work a summer gig, save up, or rely on your

    In support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGTBQ) Pride Month this June, Scholarships.com is adding more color to its themed scholarships with scholarships for LGBTQ students and allies. Scholarships.com is dedicated to bringing equal financial aid and free college scholarship opportunities for all students.

LGBT Scholarships for Pride Month 2017

June 1, 2017 11:42 AM
by Susan Dutca
In support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGTBQ) Pride Month this June, Scholarships.com is adding more color to its themed scholarships with scholarships for LGBTQ students and