In Defense of For-Profit Colleges

Career College Central Summary:

  • Bill Maher declared the district of the Minnesota Republican his top target for flipping from red to blue. Why?
  • First and foremost, because Kline chairs the House Education and Workforce Committee and gets donations from, apparently, the worst villains this side of the Joker and Lex Luthor: for-profit colleges.
  • After running through a parade of horribles perpetrated by Kline — opposing Obamacare, Planned Parenthood funding, etc. — Maher stated that Kline is at his worst on higher education, especially because he “is the champion of for-profit colleges, which they used to call diploma mills, but that’s back when you at least got a diploma.”
  • Then he really zinged the schools: “These are not real colleges. Real colleges have leafy quads and libraries, and hippie professors who turn nice Christian kids into bisexual atheists.”
  • So are for-profits truly awful? At least, do they perform worse than the thousands of putatively nonprofit institutions sporting the leafy quads and Christian-flipping profs that Cornell grad Maher and so many others seem to think essential to higher education?
  • Apparently, for-profit schools are providing something many people want, and unless you assume people are shockingly irrational, that is an important sign of relative effectiveness. And again, you have to see for-profit schools in context to understand their draw.
  • Proprietary schools are typically unadorned operations found in strip malls, office buildings, and online, offering flexible schedules and frequent enrollment periods.
  • They are intended to be places where you can get the skills or credential you need, quickly, because you’ve got kids and a job to worry about.
  • Meanwhile, traditional colleges are geared toward, well, traditional students: just-out-of-high-school kids whose primary job is to go to school.

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