Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Subprime Student Loans

A fierce article at the New America Foundation.

"The median graduation rate for proprietary schools is only 38 percent--by far the lowest rate in the higher education sector. What's more, even those students who make it through often can't find jobs. The reason for this is simple: while some proprietary schools offer a good education, many more are subpar at best. Thus large numbers of students leave with little to show for their effort other than a heap of debt. Not surprisingly, students at proprietary schools are far more likely to default on their loans than those at other colleges. The appalling treatment of disadvantaged students at the hands of proprietary schools ought to be a national scandal."

I'm really of two minds about for-profit colleges, as my next article in Fast Company will make clear. The important fact is that they enroll these students more than anyone else does. Whether they're "serving" those students or "targeting" them depends in part on the college and in part on your point of view.

As far as the graduation rates--various measures indicate that students who start at two-year community colleges don't do much better.

Kevin Carey of Education Sector made the point to me that default rates are the place to keep a tight rein. If the colleges have high default rates then by definition students aren't getting their money's worth.
Reining in the growth of private student loans, which is the larger context of this article, is crucial as well. Fewer private loans = fewer unscrupulous, expensive for-profit colleges.


Anonymous said...

I think university financial experts like David Swensen has tackled this problem before.

admin said...

too bad students who start at two-year community colleges don't do much better :(

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