In a recent press release from the previous month of November, the Department of Education outlined the discrepancies between public and for-profit college graduate earnings. By analyzing the outcomes of these graduates, the Department of Education was able to find significant post-graduation disparities between these two different types of institutions.
There were three main finds with this press release that allude to two major efforts by the Department of Education through gainful employment regulations.
Starting with the discoveries from the Department’s research, it was discovered that for-profit graduates earn approximately $10,000 less than public college graduates. This statistic does not provide details on whether outcomes were matched according to job position or region. With that in mind, this information may ignore these important factors thus creating a skewed statistic.
There is one consideration that could shed insight on for-profit job placements; for instance, it is possible that for-profit graduates did not have the same program opportunities as other established public counterparts. This would mean an overall smaller number of qualified graduates in higher earning fields such as STEM and other related majors.
This consideration is supported by the second major find from the Department of Education which actually focuses on training opportunity. It was found that for-profit graduates were less likely to be receive the same training opportunities than graduates from public colleges; moreover, this lack of opportunity was observed to be especially relevant for higher earning fields. One specifically mentioned field happened to be nursing.
A lack of training opportunity at for-profit institutions is reflected in overall wage performance in the labor market. Referring back to the original find of this study (lower earnings), it was found that for-profit graduates are more likely to earn below the median minimum salary in a respective field. In fact, approximately 33% of for-profit grads earn less than the full-time minimum wage. In comparison, the same is true for only 14% of public school graduates. This alludes to the lack of training that for-profit graduates supposedly receive which seems to be reflected by earning potential in the market.
All of this information comes hand-in-hand with recent negative developments about for-profit colleges. To put it in perspective, colleges such as ITT Tech and the Corinthian College chain, both for-profit colleges, either closed down or received harsh penalties from the federal government for fraudulent advertising practices. In short, these colleges were caught misleading prospective students by misrepresenting the success of graduating students.
These older developments align directly with this recent Department of Education press release. The attention being brought to for-profit colleges have brought on changes and a reaction from the Department of Education. For instance, the chances of students falling victim to for-profit colleges are somewhat reduced after an influx of new protective regulations for college students. It is yet to be seen if these regulations do more good than harm, but at any rate, for-profit student debt represents a significant problem by accounting for 35% of student loan default.