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


 
It's okay to be white signs were scattered on college campuses across the country, as well as in Canada over the past week. Reportedly, the signs were first suggested on an online chat forum called 4chan, calling on people to place posters in their area on Halloween night. At Harvard Law School, at least 20 handmade stickers with the message It's ok to be white were posted on light poles and electrical boxes. Harvard Law's Dean of Students Marcia Sells condemned the posters, stating the posters and stickers are intended to divide us from one another and that HLS will not let that happen here. The Department of Public Works removed the stickers shortly thereafter. Even after they had been removed, the message continued to circulate via social media through hashtags and videos, gaining both condemnation and support.

"OK to Be White" Signs a "Sign of the Times"?

November 7, 2017 11:47 AM
by Susan Dutca
"It's okay to be white" signs were scattered on college campuses across the country, as well as in Canada over the past week. Reportedly, the signs were first suggested on an online chat forum called
Halloween Day hadn't even officially arrived and college students (and even faculty) sparked outrage over their offensive and racially derogatory costumes. One of the images that went viral over the weekend was that of a police officer from the University of Nevada at Reno, who was dressed as former Quarterback Colin Kaepernick - allegedly in blackface and wearing a sign that read Will Stand for Food.

Colleges Investigating Offensive Halloween Costumes

October 31, 2017 11:09 AM
by Susan Dutca
Halloween Day hadn't even officially arrived and college students (and even faculty) sparked outrage over their offensive and "racially derogatory" costumes. One of the images that went viral over
First-time community college students in California may be able to get a discounted, or even free college education thanks to a new California College Promise law. The point of the program is to create the environment and alignment that will help students finish college.

Community College Comp'd in California?

October 17, 2017 9:12 AM
by Susan Dutca
First-time community college students in California may be able to get a discounted, or even free college education thanks to a new "California College Promise" law. The point of the program is to

    Students and families who use Scholarships.com as their one-stop shop for free college and financial aid information and opportunities is the reason why we are thankful. As a way of saying thanks, we’ve come up with a way for you the squash student loan debt with these November Scholarships. For even more scholarships in November, click here.

Gobble Up these November Scholarships

October 6, 2017 12:02 PM
by Susan Dutca
Students and families who use Scholarships.com as their one-stop shop for free college and financial aid information and opportunities is the reason why we are thankful. As a way of saying
Warren Wilson College, a school known for attracting liberal students, is seeking to recruit conservative students in effort to broaden [their] appeal to those with all kinds of worldviews. Other college and university leaders claim that the 2016 election serves as inspiration for this initiative and they are also fearful that their institutions are disconnected from conservatives who make up a majority in much of the country.

Liberal School Seeking to Recruit Conservative Students

October 3, 2017 11:17 AM
by Susan Dutca
Warren Wilson College, a school known for attracting liberal students, is seeking to recruit conservative students in effort to "broaden [their] appeal to those with all kinds of worldviews." Other
Parents of boys are more likely to pay the entire cost of college than those who have girls, according to a 
new study from T. Rowe Price. They are also more willing to prioritize saving for their sons' college over their own retirement.

Parents Save More for Sons’ College Education

September 26, 2017 9:39 AM
by Susan Dutca
Parents of boys are more likely to pay the entire cost of college than those who have girls, according to a new study from T. Rowe Price. They are also more willing to prioritize saving for their