Career Colleges Offer Innovative and Cost Effective Job Training Solutions

In Michigan last week, President Obama spoke on making college affordable, the career college sector appreciates President Obama's focus on the value, cost and results of higher education and strongly believes that these standards and measurements must apply across all of higher education.

“America’s career colleges cost taxpayers less and offer students efficient, innovative job training in line with the demands of employers”

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 low cost to taxpayers.

“America’s career colleges cost taxpayers less and offer students efficient, innovative job training in line with the demands of employers,” said Penny Lee, Managing Director of the Coalition for Educational Success. “We are encouraged by President Obama’s "College Affordable" proposals and believe the President should 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.”

Career Colleges Are A Better Taxpayer Value
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%).

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.

In some cases, tuition at career colleges is lower than the average tuition and fees paid by students attending public four-year institutions as out-of-state students and paid by students at private, four-year not-for-profit institutions. Tuition at career colleges falls below the average tuition and fees for private, not-for-profit institutions. Finally, out-of-state tuition and fees are higher at public four-year institutions than at four-year career colleges.

Many Career College Students Depend On Title IV Funding
Students attending career colleges are more likely to need financial assistance than students at other types of institutions. A higher proportion of students at career colleges are low-income, nontraditional students and without Title IV funding would be unable to afford attending any form of higher education.

Today, one specific concern for educators at career colleges is the “90/10 rule,” which requires career colleges to collect, from students, at least 10% of their tuition in something other than Title IV funds. Currently there exists limited understanding by policymakers, and others, about the intended and unintended consequences of the “90/10 rule,” as well as changes to the rule.

Many career colleges serve low-income students that simply do not have money to attend any form of higher education if it were not for Title IV funding. The “90/10 rule” forces career colleges to either charge in excess of the level of federal funding, create other programs which appeal to higher-income students to create additional funds for to meet the requirement, or worst of all, pull out of poorer inner-city areas. This rule does not help expand educational opportunities for any student. In fact, it has nothing to do with institutional quality and effectively limits access for the poorest students, while causing students to have more debt.

“We want policymakers to get to know our students and understand our outcomes,” Lee added. “We seek to move the national dialogue forward in a way that doesn’t leave any American behind during the pursuit for a better economy. We encourage all policymakers to work together to study the impact of the proposed legislative solutions prior to proceeding with legislation that limited access to higher education for low-income populations.”

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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