Are For-Profit Universities a Rip-Off?
Did you know that some of the most successful people in the world, and in the history of the world, actually went without college? From Bill Gates and Penn Jillette to Ernest Hemingway and William Shakespeare, some of the best and brightest in world history have been self-taught individuals who skipped over higher learning. But this is never central in any of the President’s speeches. This is never taught to youngsters in school. Life has become about one thing: Graduate high school and attend college. This line has been pushed so much that these days one would be hard-pressed to earn even a low-rung opportunity without a college degree. Because of parity in the workforce, most careers that pay well demand that their employees have college, and from your parents to the President of the United States, all we hear is how important college is.
But is college actually that important? You can find some big-name personalities out there who believe that college is a rip-off. Guys like John Stossel of Fox Business make a pretty solid case as to why the typical four-year university is a rip-off, and why kids should seek out trades and should seek to become self-employed. However, college being a rip-off in general isn’t something that data suggests. According to hard data collected by the National Center for Education, the Stossels of the world are half right. It’s those for-profit universities that are rip-offs. Public universities are actually performing quite well.
Why For-Profit Universities Need to Be Held More Accountable
The biggest problem, bar none, isn’t that for-profit universities exist. It’s a free marketplace, and it would be far too totalitarian to just shut them down. The problem here, however, is that they’re not even held accountable for their actions. For-profit universities accept anyone with money enough to go, and they have a nasty habit of not graduating the brunt of their attending class. There are thousands of complaints filed against these schools every year, and don’t even dig into the way these for-profit schools screw up kids’ lives for the sake of sport. This has been covered a thousand times and nobody does anything about it. The school treats kids like slaves and demands a superhuman amount of physical effort from them, and then punishes the kids if they even seek outside income to help with living expenses. There’s nobody out there willing to hold these schools accountable, and that’s truly a shame.
The average top-50 for-profit university in America will cost you more per year than the median salary in the nation. You will have to pay more for a four-year degree than you’ll statistically make in your first ten years out of college. The average person receiving a federal loan spends the bulk of their lifetime repaying that loan. Federal loans are high interest and can cripple you. And even when someone like President Obama waxes poetic about forgiving this debt, all that does is give the for-profit schools reason to dramatically increase their tuition rates, not to mention how much that adds to our national debt. Not all of these schools are bad. Not all of them operate as shady corporations. The issue, however, is that no one holds any of them accountable, and they’re just getting worse with the gross lack of oversight.
Some of the Problems with For-Profit Universities
- There’s no real rate control. These businesses—and, yes, they are businesses—continue to jack up their rates exponentially.
- They leave graduates in debt for the better part of their lives.
- The education provided isn’t much better than a public university; it’s only that the professional world still has this infatuation with big-name, high-dollar schools.
- The taxpayer is actually on the hook for defaulted loans.
- Fewer for-profit students actually end up receiving degrees than students at public universities.
- There has been at least one complaint for every 214 students of for-profit universities since 2006, which means these schools are doing something woefully wrong.
- 94% of for-profit students get their loans from the federal government, which is very draining and taxing to the economy.
- For-profit schools act as a business, first and foremost, and actual education seems to come second.
- Money, rather than good SAT scores, or good essays, or outright intelligence, is the number-one acceptance factor; e.g. having alum parents or donating money, etc, is how to gain acceptance. This sullies education for everyone else.
- More than half of the tuition funds go toward things not associated with education.
We’re not picketing and demanding that these schools be shut down and put out of commission. We want something a lot simpler than that. We want someone to hold these schools accountable for what they’re doing. Their athletic programs are tantamount to modern-day slavery. Their tuition rates have no controls. Their spending practices put education second. And they don’t even graduate half of those paying inflated rates to attend. It’s high time someone held these schools accountable, and it needs to happen immediately.