For-Profit Education Good for Economy, Poll Finds

A new national poll released Dec 22 shows strong support for "for-profit" education in this economic decline. The poll conducted by Lake Research Partners for Americans For Democratic Action Education Fund surveyed 1,000 adults with oversamples of 500 African Americans, 500 Latino/as, and 250 lower-income whites. The poll shows that "for-profit education empowers minority groups, and does not hinder them. People believe higher education is more critical now than ever to get ahead and support for-profit education as a way to make Obama’s goal of increasing college graduates possible."

Among key findings were:

  • 78 percent said they were convinced for-profit universities have an open enrollment policy that offers a post-high school education to many undeserved communities.
  • 81 percent surveyed were convinced that online for-profit colleges and universities offer students the flexibility they need to be successful and earn a college degree.
  • 74 percent surveyed believe for-profit colleges and universities have access to the money needed to expand and have developed the infrastructure needed to grow rapidly without lowering their educational quality.

“Make no mistake, in this tough economy, ‘for-profit’ education offers the flexibility and opportunity for minorities and low-income individuals to get their college degrees,” said Michael J. Wilson the Executive Director of Americans for Democratic Action. “Most of these folks are already working full-time jobs…they want to get ahead but need opportunities that traditional schools don’t offer.”

Today, America’s economic future requires the nation to combat educational inequality. Many school districts, particularly those with higher-income families, provide excellent education while many big city and rural districts suffer from substandard education. High-income families have access to high quality college preparation while low income families do not. Given that disparity, the nation must act to guarantee access to post-secondary academic and vocational education and training for all high school graduates to meet their personal needs and the needs of a 21st Century high-tech economy.

“The poll shows that in American 58 percent of adults have a favorable opinion of for-profit schools, including a quarter who have a very favorable opinion. Only one-in-five has an unfavorable opinion,” said Celinda Lake, President of Lake Research Partners.


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