Study examines why students choose for-profit education
- More than two million students are enrolled in for-profit schools. These students tend to be older, minority students from low-income families with low levels of educational attainment.
- Typically divided into three categories, for-profit schools enrolled more than 11% of students in enterprises colleges, super systems or internet institutions at the height of their success, but have fallen to just over 9% in recent years.
- A field study of students at Millennium College revealed executive transparency was a major challenge, but in-person instruction and the fostered accountability and maturity among students was viewed as an asset of the blended online and in-person school structure.
This study reveals precisely what matters most to college students — convenience, inspirational faculty, and learning within a cohort of like-minded individuals. Embedded in these ideals are concepts about the role of technology, student engagement and trustworthy leaders, but the general themes are commonly understood as tenets for higher education best practices.
Many college presidents and chancellors understand the goal, but the path to reaching that goal against the context of higher education tradition is what may foster the disconnect in reaching millions of students nationwide. If more than 10% of the nation’s eligible college students are more inclined to hear, believe and act upon the marketing pitch of for-profit schools, then two-year and four-year institutions should be rushing to emulate the outreach strategy of these schools to sell a product that provides a richer student experience and an earned credential that is valued in the marketplace.
It helps that the federal government is assisting nonprofit schools in this effort, but ultimately, it will take more vision and more targeted marketing to reach prospective students about reducing the stereotype threat and ehancing the potential that four-year nonprofits can offer.
- American Education Research Journal Exploring the for-profit experience: An ethnography of a for-profit college