Imagine being one of the many American college students that has to overcome growing up in a poor neighborhood with little money, only to get good grades and go off to college and be exploited by corporations and profit-seeking colleges.Unfortunately this is happening far too often, as the percentage of students at for-profit colleges that are poor is much higher than that same percentage at non-profit universities.
In addition, for-profit universities charge a lot more money for a four-year degree than non-profit universities. This has a number of negative effects.
First of all, it means that those students who have the least money have to pay the most for their degrees. Secondly, it increases the risk of default on student loans.
Obviously those who need the loans the most are those who are likely to have the toughest time paying them back. By increasing the percentage of lower income students who have to pay more for their degrees, for-profit universities are increasing the size of their student loans and thus the likelihood that they will default.
This can have a slew of major negative effects that range well beyond the financial situations facing the students themselves. Their families can be impacted. In addition, if too many students default on student loans it could rock the industry and leave students everywhere struggling to obtain student loans. That would cut back on the number of Americans who attend college, which could cause universities to go bankrupt or to scale down in size. In turn, that could leave many Americans who work in the higher education industry out of work.
In short, the for-profit colleges are dangerous to the rest of the education marketplace and that involves a ton of people.
For-Profit Colleges are In Bed With Washington, D.C.
In a report from 2010 put together by the Education Trust, it was noted that a great deal of federal funding was going to for-profit colleges. This makes a ton of sense, as corporations are always getting a lot from the government. It’s a shame, as the political process has gone from open and transparent elections to corporations making huge donations in order to get favors from politicians.
It appears that is now bleeding over into education, as for-profit colleges got more than $4 billion in Pell Grants in the academic year that started in 2008. That’s four times what they got a decade earlier. They also received around $20 billion from student loans made with federal funding.
What does all of that add up to? For-profit colleges, on average, receive around two-thirds of their revenue from student aid provided by the federal government.
In addition, all but five percent of students at for-profit colleges need to take out student loans. This means that they graduate in debt, which is in part funded by taxpayers. Sadly, this is what education has become in the United States.
Where is the Money Going?
Research has shown that we could provide college students with quality educations for a fraction of the current cost. Much of the money right now is going to huge salaries for faculty and administrators at the highest levels. Meanwhile, the professors and faculty who may do the most work are left in an unstable career field as the education bubble nears.
Huge campuses are also expensive to own and maintain, but don’t offer a lot in terms of measurable value in an education.
The current education system is failing poor and middle class students, who have been told their entire life to work hard and get a good education. They have been given a false sense of security due to those beliefs. Unfortunately they are graduating with lots of debt and entering a dim job market.
That’s not the way it is supposed to be in a country that prides itself on giving everyone a fair shot at the “American Dream.” Unfortunately, that seems to mean that corporations dream up great ways to siphon money away from the less fortunate citizens in this country. Now they’re doing it through higher education from for-profit schools, and the outcome is going to be regrettable for most people involved.