At For-profit Colleges, Profits Pay Taxes, Too

The Register’s Oct. 3 editorial, "For-Profit Schools Need More Scrutiny," mentions that Congress must ensure federal dollars used to fund education at proprietary, for-profit colleges, are a good use of taxpayer money. In fact, proprietary colleges — including Brown Mackie College-Quad Cities — are the only institutions that pay state and local taxes, contributing nearly $1 billion to tax revenues in 2008.

What’s more, total federal and state grant subsidies for public colleges are over twice that of proprietary colleges: approximately $7,500 per full-time eligible student subsidy for public colleges versus approximately $3,000 per student (including total cost of defaults) for proprietary colleges. While proprietary institutions are criticized for making profits, approximately 40 percent of these profits are returned to the government in taxes.

The gap between proprietary and traditional institutions receiving government assistance stems from the fact that our sector educates a significantly higher percentage of low-income students than do our counterparts. These are the students who are most in need of federal financial aid, and we serve them proudly.

There are bad actors in every sector. In higher education, this includes both proprietary and traditional schools, and therefore, any efforts at reform must address the system as a whole.
– Kao Odukale, president, Brown Mackie College-Quad Cities, Bettendorf


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