Students Find Career Colleges a Sound Bet

Re: "Financial aid too available to shady schools," Dec. 7: Your editorial erroneously suggests career colleges are receiving the most amount of federal aid in the higher education sector.

Students, not colleges, receive federal aid and then make informed choices about how to spend it.

The schools they attend are overseen by the federal and state governments and federally recognized accrediting bodies.

Economically disadvantaged students use Pell Grants to pay for higher education because they need job skills and education in the 21st-century economy, especially with today’s downturn.

They view career colleges as the most direct path to reaching their goals.

Career colleges also help students maximize federal benefits; community colleges do not.

More than 40 percent of students at two-year public institutions leave Pell grants to which they are legally entitled on the table.

More than 60 percent of students in two-year programs at career colleges receive their degrees.

The 38 percent for-profit median graduation rate quoted in the editorial is flawed. That figure is based on a calculation of “first-time, full-time” students, which is how the government does its calculation, though more than 50 percent of today’s students do not fall into this category.

Students enter for-profit institutions offering four-year degrees with various motivations, perhaps gaining a certificate or two-year degree.

Reporting a median graduation rate without including those with previous postsecondary experience or who seek less than four-year degrees is misleading.

Your editorial concludes that for most students seeking “college-level programs,” traditional schools are “a better bet.”

A better bet how? Not based on much better graduation and career placement rates from career colleges, outcomes not even measured by traditional institutions.

The more than 2.5 million career college students obtaining middle-class opportunity through job-specific education and training tailored to their lifestyles are putting their chips on the right square.

Harris N. Miller

Washington, D.C.

Mr. Miller is president and CEO of the Career College Association.


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