An opportunity for improvement.

24 11 2010

This is some pretty stunning stuff:

For-profit colleges graduated an average of 22 percent of their students in 2008, according to a new report from Education Trust.

That average palls in comparison to bachelor’s-seeking graduation rates at public and private non-profit colleges and universities for the same year, which averaged 55 percent and 65 percent, respectively.

We all knew that for-profit higher ed, especially online for-profit higher ed, is a gigantic Ponzi Scheme designed to divert student loans from needy functional institutions, so that 22% figure doesn’t surprise me a bit. It’s just confirmation of the painfully obvious.

It’s those 55% and 65% figures that surprise me a bit. In the same way that stocks and ponzi schemes both have inherent risks when you buy into them, the graduate rates at non-profit and for-profit colleges will only differ by degree. I just figured the spread would be bigger. After all, the Powers That Be will still come after you with all they have if you default on your student loans no matter what kind of college you took them out to attend.

I believe my institution’s graduation rate is a little above that 65%. That would make us pretty good, but we (rightfully) treat that figure as an opportunity for improvement rather accept it as the average. I fear that too many public colleges are ramping up their full time enrollment as a revenue-seeking measure rather than lobbying harder for the state aid. Too many administrators and state legislators see college dropouts as figures on a balance sheet. I see them as faces (at least for the first six or seven weeks of every fall semester), so I tend to take this a lot more personally.


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