Quincey Montgomery already was a single father and full-time worker.
So when he became a college student again in 2006, he selected Brown Mackie, a for-profit career school, for the flexibility it offered his hectic schedule. He took one class at a time, three nights a week, four weeks per class, before earning his associate’s degree in business management in 2008.
"It still allowed me to be a father, have a full-time job and provide for my son," said Montgomery, who grew up in College Hill, graduated from Aiken High School in 1999 and previously had attended Cincinnati State Technical & Community College.
"(Taking one class at a time) allows you to really focus in," he said. "At Cincinnati State I was juggling multiple classes, and for a first-time student, that was a little much. It can consume you if you’re not mentally prepared."
Montgomery, 28, is one of tens of thousands of students throughout Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky who have chosen a for-profit career college to try to advance their career or find a new job.
Some students have felt exploited at for-profit schools, claiming they don’t get the quality education they might get at a traditional university.
Montgomery, however, feels as if he owes his job to Brown Mackie. He already was enrolled when he earned a co-op assignment at Procter & Gamble Co.’s downtown headquarters. Now he’s working there full-time as an administrative assistant in the product supply unit.
"I feel like it was 70 percent me and 30 percent Brown Mackie," he said. "But I think that 30 percent goes a long way."
He said he took "all the classes I would take anywhere else," such as accounting and business law, and never had more than 20 people in any of his classes.
He paid for the program, about $25,000 total, with student loans. He pays about $200 a month and regards it as money well spent.
"The cost is what it is," he said. "I haven’t seen a cheap college anywhere."
Montgomery plans to go back to school for a bachelor’s degree, perhaps as soon as this fall.
He’s planning on a traditional four-year college for that, however, maybe Xavier University or the College of Mount St. Joseph.
At Brown Mackie, Montgomery said, he valued the flexibility, customer service and job-placement services the school provided him.
"It really caters to the needs of students," he said. "You have a lot of people here who haven’t been to school in awhile, and they need the personal touch."