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Jan 17, 2017 09:29 PM EST

Several for-profit colleges have been shut down for deceiving students about its graduates' success rate and average income. Students should be wise about choosing the school that they will attend for their higher education.

Last month, DeVry University and its parent company have agreed to pay a $100 million settlement after it was accused of misleading prospective students. Hundreds of college programs also were found by the Department of Education to have violated student debt rules.

It was found that about 95 percent of 2,042 at-risk programs are at for-profit colleges. There are also over 800 career-training programs across 296 schools which have produced graduates with loan payments that exceed 30 percent of their annual discretionary income or 12 percent of earnings.

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CBS News reported that graduates from for-profit colleges have a bad "debt-to-earnings" ratio. This means that they do not earn enough to pay off their debts with ease.

The publication shared four factors that students should consider before enrolling at a for-profit college. This may help them avoid the accumulation of heavy debt for their higher education.

Local community colleges

One of the best alternatives to enrolling at for-profit colleges is going to a community college. This type of academic institution is less expensive but still offers the same courses as other schools.

Post-graduate earnings

This is an important factor to consider since this is, most of the time, the reason why most people strive hard to get a college education. According to The Washington Post, graduates at community colleges were able to get "gainful employment."

Average debt load of graduates

Another important factor to consider is how much the education at a particular school costs. This should play a major role in the decision of where to enroll.

Education Department guidelines

The school should be accredited by the Department of Education. It should also be able to keep up with the government's gainful employment standards and guidelines.

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