Will Bunch’s attack on career colleges missed the mark in many ways.
The article’s greatest failure is the one-sided portrayal of a sector that provides a higher education and career path for nontraditional and underserved students.
The career-college sector has achieved popularity in part because the schools offer flexible classes, convenient locations, online learning and in-demand skills training — items that more traditional institutions of higher learning still lack.
And when comparing student success against community colleges, career colleges outperform on many levels.
For example, community colleges in the Philadelphia area have abysmal graduation rates.
Community College of Philadelphia, where U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan spoke recently, has a graduation rate of only 9 percent. Nationwide, the community-college graduation rate is only 20 percent.
But career colleges nationwide have a graduation rate of 58 percent. Career colleges also cost taxpayers less than community colleges. Studies have shown that community colleges cost taxpayers more than four times more per graduate than career colleges do.
Over recent years, we’ve seen career colleges quickly adapt to changes in employer demands.
Career colleges educate and place students in 17 of the 20 fastest-growing fields, with our graduates representing 42 percent of all medical degrees awarded at two-year-and-less institutions.
The solution to America’s higher education issues is not to limit options for students, it is to develop sensible regulation that holds all institutions of higher education to the same high standards.
Coalition for Educational Success
New York, N.Y.