What is a for-profit college? Is your time, effort, and money worth attending a for-profit college or university? In part one of this article, we will discuss issues surrounding for-profit education. If you are either a current or prospective college student, you will get the opportunity to make an effective decision based on your academic career.
For-profit college is defined as a college or university that makes a profit or fee based on the enrollment of students. For-profit college education is also differentiated from higher learning non-profit education. Although there are some legitimate for-profit schools, students must be aware of the issues facing for-profit college education. Two issues we will discuss are the legitimacy and the cost of attending college.
Issue 1: Legitimacy
Is the college or university a “diploma mill”? Research on the selected college and university to find out if the educational institution is accredited. You can research a list of accredited colleges and their affiliations on the U.S. Department of Education website. The link to the U. S. Department of Education will be linked under the References section listed below.
Issue 2: The Cost of Attendance
If money was not an issue, more than likely for-profit colleges would not be in business. A few things to consider when contemplating on attending a for-profit college are figuring out the following:
• Federal Financial Aid
• Military Benefits
• Employee Discounts
• Tuition Reimbursement
• Cash (out of pocket expense)
Each of these are forms of student aid to help you discover what your options are and how to take action in getting yourself properly prepared for financing your education.
As a student financing in your future, will you be pursuing student aid? There is plenty of information listed on the U.S Department of Education regarding financial aid. Make sure that you educate yourself about financial aid and the responsibility it carries.
Are you currently serving in the military? Have you previously been involved in the military? Are you the spouse of military personnel? If one or many of these questions apply to you, there may be an advantage to you receiving financial support in financing your education. Make sure you research the college of your choice to find out the advantages of financial student aid for military.
Do you work for an educational institution? Are you currently employed with a college or university? If so, you carry an advantage of possibly receiving employee discounts for higher education employees. Many colleges and universities offer employee discounts for student who have obtained at least an Associate’s degree or more. Using employee discounts enable you to pay for a percentage of your education through the college or university you are currently working with.
Do you work for an employer who provides benefits in the form of paying for your education? If so, you may have the opportunity to use tuition reimbursement. Tuition reimbursement is when the employer pays for your education and gives the amount to the school of your choice. Keep in mind, some employers offer a certain percentage or may pay the entire amount. This may be based on the semester of school, major of study, or cost of other school-related expenses (books, technology fees, etc). Check with your Human Resources Department to find out if your company offers tuition reimbursement.
Would you prefer paying for school “out of pocket”? This is possible and can be done; however, it may take more time and effort. This is also an option. Working a full-time job while attending either full or part-time studies is an option some students take. The advantage of paying for your education will take some time. The end result is not incurring any debt after completion of your studies.
Do you have a talent? How about a passion for a worthy cause? Are you involved in an particular organization? Do you practice a certain lifestyle? If so, your interests and gifts could get you a scholarship. You as the student will need to search, research, and put in the time and effort in getting a scholarship. Search scholarship databases online, or contact your local organization (places of worship, school, activism causes, etc) to find out if they offer scholarships to members or participants. One scholarship database that posts different types of scholarships is Fastweb. A link will be provided in the References section listed below.
In summary, now that you have the information to research colleges and find out whether the college is legitimate or not, finances will be the second issue to partake in your journey of getting an education. In Part Two of For-Profit Colleges and Universities, we will discuss other issues, so stay tuned for more information.
FastWeb. (2012). FastWeb: Paying for School Just Got Easier. Retrieved from Fastweb: http://www.fastweb.com/
U.S. Department of Education. (2012). The Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs. Retrieved from U.S. Department of Education: http://ope.ed.gov/accreditation/Index.aspx