How For-Profit Colleges Fare When Compared to Traditional Schools

In the past year of debate over the for-profit education industry, one wouldn’t expect to hear the statement, “Government should focus more energy on getting colleges to retain and graduate students, it should scrap its current methods for gathering data on colleges, and it should throw more support behind lower-cost, nontraditional colleges, like for-profit institutions.” But the report, “Who Wins? Who Pays? The Economic Returns and Costs of a Bachelor’s Degree,” which tallies the costs of higher education to taxpayers, found that within the first 10 years of completing their programs, graduates of for-profit institutions earn wages comparable to or better than those earned by graduates of public and private colleges.

While Scott Carlson’s Chronicle of Higher Education article on the report weighs the merits of the authors’ arguments, it is clear that the report infers that for-profit colleges deserve more consideration than the Department of Education and critics have given these important educational institutions.


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