OPINION: College students shouldn’t pay more for less
If they had actually never participated in at all, no trainee ought to be worse off after going to college than.
That development is worrying when we consider what happened following the Great Recession. Those years also saw a surge in the number of trainees attending for-profit colleges, however those trainees were most likely to leave, end up with low-wage jobs and find themselves not able to repay their student loans.
Enrollment at for-profit colleges has been on the increase– increasing 5.3% from fall 2019 to fall 2020.
Today, we partnered with the not-for-profit Third Way to launch a report that proposes a brand-new category system to understand how well universities and colleges serve their students. We organized more than 1,500 institutions into 4 classifications based on their net tuition costs and their trainees ability to repay their loans; high-price, low-grade institutions are at one end of the spectrum, and low-price, high-quality colleges are at the other end.
In between 2007 and 2011, Black and Hispanic undergraduate registration at for-profit four-year colleges nearly doubled. But Black and Hispanic graduation rates at for-profit institutions were approximately 30 portion points lower than at nonprofit organizations. And most of the time, for-profit institutions failed to provide adequate results for their trainees.
Researchers state a new classification system is required to assist trainees choose colleges that will serve them well. Credit: John OBoyle for The Hechinger Report
We evaluated College Scorecard data and discovered that students from the lowest-income households who entered for-profit organizations in 2007 or 2008 were making less than $25,000 each year, usually, as of 2015. Thats considerably less than trainees who went to private or public not-for-profit colleges. With that making disparity, unsurprisingly, low-income trainees who graduated from for-profit colleges had a more difficult time paying off their loans than low-income trainees who went to not-for-profit colleges. Amongst the for-profit trainees who began settling their student loans between 2009 and 2014, fewer than 25% were able to begin paying for their loan principal within 3 years.
Related: Colleges offer misleading details about their expenses.
High-price, low-grade organizations charge above-average prices for below-average results and represent the worst culprits in higher education. We classified 12% of private not-for-profit four-year colleges and 2.5% of public four-year colleges as high-price, low-quality institutions– and nearly 80% of for-profit four-year colleges as high-price, low-grade organizations.
Put simply, this is an equity concern. For-profit colleges– which are overrepresented amongst high-price, low-quality organizations– are considerably more likely to hire and register students of color and low-income trainees, raising the stakes for how well they serve those populations. The Covid-19 pandemic has actually worsened equity spaces in college in devastating ways, and we can not pay for to sit idly by. Federal policymakers need to act to protect low-income trainees and students of color from high-price, low-grade schools.
We have had no scarcity of striking headings about college enrollment patterns during the Covid-19 pandemic. Among the most alarming stories have been reports showing a reduction in total college registration and a much steeper decline in neighborhood college registration.
Related: Is California saving higher education?
No student ought to be even worse off after going to college than if they had never ever attended at all. Policymakers must take bold action to enhance openness for potential university student and improve accountability for the high-price, low-grade institutions doing more harm than good.
This classification system might also assist students select colleges from which they are probably to finish and make a stable living. To improve openness for trainees and families, we propose officially identifying high-price, low-grade institutions with an “HPLQ” flag in the College Scorecard and other consumer-facing tools.
Justin Ortagus is assistant professor of Higher Education Administration & & Policy at the University of Florida, and Rodney Hughes is assistant teacher of Higher Education at West Virginia University.
For-profit colleges– which are overrepresented among high-price, low-quality organizations– are significantly more most likely to hire and enroll students of color and low-income students, raising the stakes for how well they serve those populations. And although high-price, low-grade institutions increase access by registering an out of proportion share of low-income trainees and students of color, these colleges regularly deliver access to bad outcomes and crippling financial obligation.
This new classification system can be a tool to hold all organizations– nonprofit, for-profit or public– responsible for how well they serve their trainees. The federal government could restrict access to Title IV financial assistance for high-price, low-quality organizations that do not improve in time and invest more in low-price, top quality organizations, a lot of which are public four-year schools that may face funding cuts as states come to grips with the side effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Policymakers could also utilize the system to restore or re-imagine responsibility procedures, like the rewarding employment rule, designed to ensure colleges dont leave trainees in an even worse position than before they registered.
We evaluated College Scorecard data and found that trainees from the lowest-income families who went into for-profit organizations in 2007 or 2008 were making less than $25,000 per year, on average, as of 2015. With that making disparity, unsurprisingly, low-income students who finished from for-profit colleges had a more difficult time paying off their loans than low-income students who went to not-for-profit colleges. Among the for-profit trainees who began paying off their student loans between 2009 and 2014, less than 25% were able to start paying down their loan principal within three years.
College can enhance trainees lives in extensive methods. But the advantages of going to college are not experienced widely. And although high-price, low-grade organizations increase access by registering a disproportionate share of low-income students and trainees of color, these colleges often provide access to bad results and crippling debt.
Join us today.
This story about for-profit colleges was produced by The Hechinger Report, a not-for-profit, independent news organization concentrated on inequality and development in education. Sign up for Hechingers newsletter.
The Hechinger Report provides extensive, fact-based, unbiased reporting on education that is free to all readers. Our work keeps educators and the public informed about pressing problems at schools and on campuses throughout the country.