For-Profit Degree Holders Disadvantaged in Job Market, Study Shows

Career College Central Summary:

  • Degree holders from for-profit online institutions are 22 percent less likely to receive callbacks when applying for business and health-related jobs, according to a study led by David Deming, an associate professor at the Graduate School of Education.
  • “One of the things we found in a previous paper was that students who attend for-profit colleges are more disadvantaged than [the average student],” Deming said, in speaking about the motivation for conducting the study. “But it was not very clear how much that was due to the school itself versus students themselves.”
  • In the study, researchers made fictitious resumes from a pool of real resumes from one job website and randomly changed job applicants’ post-secondary institutions on each. They then posted these resumes on another job website.
  • “The goal of this study was to try to answer [the original study’s question] more persuasively by experimentally controlling the students and making them all have the same resumes, except for their post-secondary degree,” said Deming.
  • According to the study’s results, bachelor’s degree holders from large online for-profit institutions are about 22 percent less likely to receive job callbacks in business and health-related fields than those with non-selective public school degrees.
  • “The most interesting result was that if you applied to a job that does not require you to have a degree, you have no advantage in having one,” Deming said.
  • In addition, the study showed that employers also take the applicants’ likelihood of accepting a job into consideration when sending callbacks.
  • To illustrate this, Deming gave the example of a Harvard graduate applying to be a clerk.
  • “I might think that person looks very good on paper, but I am not going to call him back, because I don’t think he is going to take the job if I offered one,” he said.

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THE HARVARD CRIMSON

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