For-profit colleges expand access to higher education for some students who might not otherwise attend college, but the payoff can be meager.
In fact, graduates of for-profit colleges’ two-year programs earn about the same as those who finish only high school, a new study says.
The study, “Does it Pay to Attend a For-Profit College? Horizontal Stratification in Higher Education,” by Patrick A. Denice, a doctoral student in sociology at the University of Washington, reaffirms many of the central arguments advanced both by supporters of for-profit institutions and by their most-ardent critics.
For-profit colleges, Mr. Denice found, do offer a path to higher education for students from underrepresented minority groups, students from low-income backgrounds, and students with relatively weak records of academic achievement. In this way, for-profits help reduce what he called the “vertical stratification” of education, or divisions based on the amount of education one attains. <Read more.>