Washington, DC — The Career College Association (CCA) called "College Inc.," a program broadcast tonight by PBS and WGBH/Frontline, a timely discussion of the role the career education sector plays in helping prepare Americans for the 21st century workforce and reaching the President’s 2020 higher education goals.
CCA President Harris N. Miller said: "The Frontline program showed how career colleges, along with traditional colleges and universities, help Americans from every walk of life achieve the dream of a higher education."
Miller said that problems cited in the program, particularly high pressure recruiting tactics and high levels of student debt, are not widespread. "In a sector with 2.8 million students and approximately 200,000 employees, issues arise from time to time that deserve immediate attention by schools and even oversight agencies," Miller said. "Compliance is key to protecting students and taxpayers, and that is why we have oversight by federal, state and accreditation bodies. While we regret any instances where students may feel overburdened by their student loans or where individual school representatives have crossed the line in recruiting, we believe these instances are few and do not represent the sector as a whole."
The Frontline program cited examples of recruitment tactics that CCA does not condone and could violate incentive compensation regulations. A recent Government Accountability Office report found few such episodes over the last 12 years. Miller said institutions that put enrollment growth ahead of student success do so at their own peril. “Career colleges are focused on producing positive results for their students, especially good jobs. Institutions enrolling unqualified or academically unprepared students will quickly find themselves in danger of losing their reputation and their Title IV eligibility.”
Career college costs and student debt levels were also covered in the program. Miller said career colleges cost more than state subsidized institutions, but offer facilities, equipment and courses that are modern and attuned to the needs of busy non-traditional students. As for concerns about excessive debt, Miller said, “Career colleges cost more than the in-state tuition of a public university but much less than a liberal arts college. Our students borrow more because they tend to be economically disadvantaged and have fewer family resources from which to draw on for college costs. We encourage all students to manage debt responsibly, to borrow no more than is needed to cover tuition and fees, and to participate in programs like Income Based Repayment to ease the financial burden after graduation.”
“We agree with Secretary Duncan that schools that violate federal regulations should be held accountable. We look forward to working with the Secretary and Congress to maintain a regulatory environment that protects students, employers, institutions and the American taxpayer,” Miller said.
The Career College Association (CCA) is a voluntary membership organization of accredited, private postsecondary schools, institutes, colleges and universities that provide career-specific educational programs. CCA has more than 1,700 members that educate and support over one million students each year for employment in over 200 occupational fields. CCA member institutions provide the full range of higher education programs: masters and doctoral degree programs, two- and four-year associate and baccalaureate degree programs, and short-term certificate and diploma programs. Visit CCA at www.career.org.