Enrolling In A For-Profit College? Here Are A Couple Of Things You Should Know


The recent shutdown of the largest for-profit college accreditor as well as the closure of ITT Tech has made people wary of this type of schools. However, not all of them are just in it for the money.

Last week, the Department of Education has announced that it will no longer recognize the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) as an official accrediting agency. This comes after a federal panel voted to shut down the organization in June as it faced intense criticism of the council for its lenient oversight of educational institutions. ACICS was the agency for Corinthian Colleges and ITT Technical Institute campuses, which have now been shut down.

CNN reported that other for-profit colleges such as DeVry University and the Education Management Corporation, which is the owner of Art Institutes such as Argosy University, Brown Mackie College, and South University, are also being sued for allegedly deceiving students. The publication noted, though, that not all for-profit schools are bad. Here are a couple of things that potential students should know to avoid enrolling at a questionable school.

1. Identify whether the institution is for-profit or non-profit and whether it has national, regional and program accreditation.

The major way of making money for for-profit schools is through tuition. As a result, enrolling as many students as it can is important which is why it is not as selective as non-profit colleges. Take the time to research and read the fine print to see whether this school will work for you.

Accreditation is also important since it will make or break your chances of landing a job or for pursuing a master's or doctorate degree. Moreover, check if the accreditation is by ACICS since the accreditation of about 245 colleges have been revoked after the agency has been stripped of its authority as an accreditor.

2. Look for a similar program in a community college.

These colleges are usually cheaper. It was revealed that tuition at community colleges and for-profit colleges have a difference of about $10,000. Check out the loan rates as well and whether it is federal or private. Private loans from for-profit colleges may have higher interest rates.

3. Research on the school's graduates.

Check out the White House College Scorecard to see where a school stands in comparison to other schools in the country. Look for these factors: graduation and retention rate, average salary of the school's graduate 10 years after enrolling and how much debt they leave with.

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