ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa released a report this
summer blasting for-profit colleges, which shows they're typically more
expensive and the success rate is lower in comparison to traditional colleges.
has 48 for-profit institutions with the biggest being the University
of Phoenix (U of P). The convenience of the University of
Phoenix in Little Rock is obvious. It's right off the interstate and in the
middle of businesses. Felicia Johnson, Director of Academic Affairs says
classes are also strategically scheduled at night.
understand you might be a working adult and need to come to school when it's
convenient for you and fits your schedule," says Johnson.
comes with a price. A lower-level credit hour costs $395 at U of P. That's
twice as much as a credit hour at UALR's school of business.
Arkansas Higher Education Director Shane
Broadway advises potential college students to do their homework when scouting
out for-profit colleges like the University of Phoenix.
can be expensive and you may have to take out loans to afford it," says
Department of Education shows 96 percent of for-profit students take out loans
compared to 48 percent who go to public universities. A Senate report this
summer looked at for-profit colleges, which are partially funded by the
government, but operate like businesses. On top of higher tuition, it shows
more than half drop out without earning their degree. The numbers go up even
more, 64 percent for those who take online courses.
receive complaints from time to time and investigate those," says
could not speak to this report, but the university released a statement saying,
"Many of the techniques first pioneered by the University of Phoenix
including online learning.... are now considered best practices in the higher
education community at large."
is just an option. Barry Drummond took on-campus classes and graduated with an
wanted an on campus program and I didn't want to drive far," says
has loans, he credits his diploma for his higher paycheck.
income has doubled in the last four years," says Drummond.
All of the
faculty at the University of Phoenix are working in the field they're teaching.
For example, one of the mayors in Central Arkansas is teaching business
courses. Using part-time faculty is criticized in the Senate report as an indicator
of poor education. Johnson disagrees and says it's actually an added benefit.
tell students our book knowledge, this is what we learn, the fundamentals.
However, when they get into the real world, they will explain how this is
playing out. They're able to get the best of both worlds," says Johnson.
Bradley, a graduate of U of P agrees the coursework was challenging. "You
have a team project that is presented and you write a lot of papers."
other students, Bradley chose U of P over a traditional college because of the
class schedule. "I left work at five and class started at six," says
also enjoyed the convenience when she got her degree at ITT Tech, a similar
for-profit college. Her complaint is her credits didn't transfer to another
college when she wanted her master's.
don't have all the pieces I need. I don't have the sciences or humanities,
psychologies or history," says Hamby.
her associate's and bachelor's in computer sciences and thought ITT Tech would
find her high-paying job offer. Yet, the job offers were around $20,000 and for
her, that wouldn't cut it. For-profit colleges turned her off even more when
she saw representatives recruiting soldiers at the National Guard, where she currently
found every unit that was deploying to Afghanistan to Iraq or wherever and
talked to their unit people and rather than the education office. They sent
somebody out there and offered them a certificate and you can have it done in
so many months," explains Hamby.
Senate report scrutinized for-profits recruiting tactics and suggested they
needed to invest more in student support services. Despite those findings,
Bradley says U of P did a great job providing support and retention.
were counselors that were available," says Bradley.
Hamby is critical of some for-profit college's techniques, she's enrolled in
one now at North Central University and takes online courses.
like theirs. They give you a picture of the instructor and you feel comfortable
talking to them and they actually respond," says Hamby.