Can For- Profit Colleges be Trusted?

Can for-profit colleges be trusted? Do they care about quality education or is profit their only concern? Are schools and colleges which are publicly held under so much pressure to drive up earnings and stock prices that they are willing to admit any prospective students who apply for admission?

Three past employees of Kaplan College have accused their former employers of offering admissions personnel illegal incentives to enroll students and of pressuring faculty to give students inflated grades in order to retain them. Kaplan has denied the allegations, and labeled the three…two of whom were fired…as disgruntled. Whether these particular allegations are truthful or not…that will be decide by the courts… there have been similar accusations, many upheld, against a number of for- profit schools and colleges.

The truth is, the for- profit education industry has been extremely profitable. The Kaplan schools and colleges, in addition to the tuition students pay out of pocket, receive approximately $500 million a year in federal financial aid dollars. The University of Phoenix, American International University, Keller Graduate School, and others also take in significant federal funds. There is nothing wrong with that, per se. Many students have attended these institutions, and others like them, and have been very satisfied.

However, it is extremely important that the appropriate government agencies carefully monitor all institutions which receive federal financial aid dollars to be certain that:

1. they offer sound educational programs.

2. they admit only students prepared to benefit from the programs they offer.

3. they hold faculty and students to appropriate academic standards.

To do otherwise is unfair to both students and taxpayers.


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