Coalition Statement on Senate Hearing on Innovations in College Affordability

Washington, DC – February 2, 2012 – Following today’s Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearing, Coalition for Educational Success Managing Director Penny Lee released the following statement:

“The nation’s focus on economic recovery continues to highlight the importance of higher education in filling available jobs in growing industries. Through innovative and creative training programs, career colleges work hard to prepare ‘job ready’ graduates at a low cost to taxpayers.

“We encourage the HELP Committee to push all institutions of higher education to track and publish both tuition cost and total cost (including all subsidies, grants, etc.) per graduate. This type of single standard and one set of measurement across all of higher education will help ensure that students and taxpayers get the best return on their investment.

“When it comes to the issue of cost, career colleges offer competitive, if not lower, program costs and tuition when compared to other types of higher education institutions. For example, it costs taxpayers more than $32,000 for each community college graduate, over four times the amount it costs taxpayers for a career college graduate. Total taxpayer cost for a 2-year career college graduate is $7,326, compared to $32,873 for a community college graduate. For-profit colleges also return taxpayer money in the form of millions of dollars in taxes every year.

“According to the latest U.S. Department of Education data, career colleges enroll 20% of full-time, first-time degree/certificate-seeking students; boast a higher graduation rate than community colleges (58% versus 20%); and have more students enrolled in high-growth fields (44%) than public institutions (18%) and private, not-for-profit institutions (13%).

“Leading career colleges are committed to providing affordable education. Last year, the Foundation for Educational Success released Standards of Responsible Conduct and Transparency that outline key operating principles for higher education.  A key component of the Standards requires adhering schools to provide students with access to information about program costs and typical student outcomes, so students can make the most informed decisions.  They also include a 21-day ‘Readiness Opportunity’ under which students can withdraw at any point before their 21st day and leave the school with no debt.

“As we search for solutions to address cost and improve innovation across all of higher education, students will be best served by if we hold all institutions in higher education to the same high standards.”

Coalition for Educational Success
The Coalition for Educational Success includes many of the nation's leading career colleges. Career colleges provide training for students in 17 of the 20 fastest growing fields. The Coalition advocates for policies that support wider access to higher education, particularly for non-traditional students including full-time workers, workforce returners, working parents, minorities and veterans.

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