THV Extra: For-profit over traditional colleges

    10:49 PM, Nov 14, 2012   |    comments
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    Video: THV Extra: For-profit over traditional colleges


    List of For-Profit Institutions 

    American Intercontinental University

    American Public University System

    American Sentinel University

    Ashford University

    Argosy University

    Art Institute of Pittsburgh

    Briarcliffe College

    Bryan College

    Bryant and Stratton College

    Capella University

    Chamberlain College of Nursing

    Colorado Technical University

    Devry University

    Everest College

    Everest University

    Grand Canyon University

    ITT-Technical Institute

    Jones International University

    Kaplan University

    Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Allied Health

    National American University

    Northeastern University

    Rasmussen College

    Savannah College of Art and Design

    South University

    Strayer University

    Ultimate Medical Academy

    University of Phoenix

    University of the Rockies

    Walden University

    Western International University


    Source: Arkansas Dept. of Higher Education

    LITTLE 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.

    Arkansas 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.

    "We 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.

    Convenience 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.

    "It can be expensive and you may have to take out loans to afford it," says Broadway.

    The U.S. 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.

    "We do receive complaints from time to time and investigate those," says Broadway.

    Johnson 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."

    Yet, online is just an option. Barry Drummond took on-campus classes and graduated with an MBA.

    "I wanted an on campus program and I didn't want to drive far," says Drummond.

    Although he has loans, he credits his diploma for his higher paycheck.

    "My 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.

    "They 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.

    Toni 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."

    Much like 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 Bradley.

    Dee Hamby 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.

    "I don't have all the pieces I need. I don't have the sciences or humanities, psychologies or history," says Hamby.

    She earned 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 works.

    "They 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.

    Even a 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.

    "There were counselors that were available," says Bradley.

    Although Hamby is critical of some for-profit college's techniques, she's enrolled in one now at North Central University and takes online courses.

    "I like theirs. They give you a picture of the instructor and you feel comfortable talking to them and they actually respond," says Hamby.

    Twitter: @pbaccam

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