For-profit institutions continue to be business first

The U.S. Education Department has received applications to expunge more than $164 million worth of student loan debt in the past six months, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The appeals for loan forgiveness are made on the grounds that the universities applicants attended “deceived them with false promises of a well-paying career;” most are from former students of for-profit schools.

For-profit schools are first and foremost a business: they provide a service (education) to its customers (students) to make money for the owners and their tuition rates are insanely expensive for the education provided. Not-for-profit schools usually operate to best serve the students and their tuition rates, while climbing, are more reasonable than a for-profit school. Non-profits also tend to spend a higher percentage of tuition on actual education.

The issue with for-profit schools is the exorbitant tuition they charge can never be paid back by their alumni. At ITT Technical Institute, a two-year associate’s degree costs $48,000. Compare that to Marshall, where a four-year degree will cost $26,000 in-state and $60,000 out-of-state. Even an out-of-state two-year degree only costs $30,000 from Marshall.

For-profit schools are scams and students don’t get what they pay for. The two-year degrees offered at expensive for-profits will likely never lead to a job that is able to pay off that amount of loans, especially on top of student loan interest. Their advertising preys on those who either didn’t finish their degree or didn’t go to college right out of high school, promising guaranteed jobs after graduation, when employers will more than often see what school they attended and be doubtful of their quality of training.

The reality of the job market is those who graduate from accredited, non-profit schools with four-year degrees are having trouble finding jobs, so why is it any surprise that those with degrees from expensive sub-par schools are having trouble finding jobs?

The deceptive advertising techniques of for-profit schools should be closely scrutinized, for if they are guaranteeing jobs to alumni and don’t have the numbers to prove it, it is, legally speaking, false and deceptive advertising and should be regulated as such.