Trade-Oriented Schools Gain Popularity

Steve Chiotakis: The Apollo Group reports earnings later today. You may not know the name, but Apollo operates a very familiar company — the University of Phoenix. And things are looking pretty robust for one of the world’s largest online educators. Part of a trend of better-performing for-profit schools. Here’s Marketplace’s Stacey Vanek-Smith.

ADVERTISEMENT NARRATOR: One university understands how you live today and where you want to go tomorrow. . . .

STACEY VANEK-SMITH: Enrollment is up 20 percent this year at the University of Phoenix. It has nearly 400,000 students, most of them in cyberspace. And practical, trade-oriented programs like Phoenix’s are what people want right now, says Terry Hartle with the American Council on Education.

TERRY HARTLE: During periods of economic stress, fields of study with clear occupational outcomes are the most popular with students.

Trade schools also offer flexibility, says Martin VanDerWerf, director of research services at the Chronicle of Higher Education. He says online classes are easy to fit in to your schedule. And he says schools like the University of Phoenix and ITT Tech have relationships with employers and can tailor training programs to existing jobs.

MARTIN VANDERWERF: The transaction between students and higher education has become much more of a retail transaction.

The downside? Cost. VanDerWerf says tuitions are high at commercial trade schools, and most students have to take out expensive private loans. (Marketplace)

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