PRO- For-Profit Technical Colleges Should Stay!
opinion of LindseyO
I know graduates from an information technology program at a for profit technical school have some advantages over those with similar degrees from traditional two-year or four-year colleges. The instructors at schools such as ITT Tech and DeVry are still actively working in their respective fields. This tells me they are much more up to speed on the latest software, hardware, coding techniques, and business practices. A programming course at a public community college will only teach languages that were fashionable two years ago but are quickly becoming obsolete. Graduates from these schools are usually surprised when they enter the field and discover how out-of-date the material they learned has become. For profit colleges do a much better job at getting their students quickly through their degree programs with the skills that can actually be used on the job.
Another strong point in for profit tech colleges is the format of the degree programs. Unlike in public colleges, classes conveniently do not fill up; they are always available for any student who wishes to enroll. For profit technical schools also have a better grasp of how to structure their online programs to fit the schedules of busy working adults. Because of this many for profit schools offer a superior level of guidance through each step towards a degree. Their students are not left to blindly navigate which classes might give them the skills that employers may possibly be seeking. When it comes to graduates from for profit tech colleges, employers can have the confidence to hire from a talented group that is equipped with the needed skill level.
I believe students who attend these colleges are the best and are the ones that have weighed the decision carefully. They have examined their current skill levels and planned where they would like to be within their careers. Particularly those who hold bachelor’s degrees in an IT field are the students with the dedication to keep learning and to gain the skills needed to advance into managerial or other high level positions. Counselors at for profit technical colleges are better equipped to address these students’ concerns and to map out concise degree paths for them. Unlike counselors at public colleges, for profit school counselors can focus specifically on the IT field and what it will take for their advisees to succeed within it.
More than in other fields, I think that successful students in an IT program at a for profit college understand that time is of the essence. Technology is rapidly and constantly changing; what is considered advanced today will be out of date within a few years or even months. The sooner IT graduates complete their new degrees, the better they will be able to keep up with the latest developments in their fields. Industry professionals have designed degree programs with this fact in mind, which translates into better chances of advancement for dedicated IT students.
CON- For-Profit Technical Colleges- Watch Yourself!
opinion of DavidR
While many professionals flock to for-profit online universities as a way to bolster resumes and make themselves more attractive to potential employers, the usage of these colleges can come at considerable risk for often undefined or exaggerated results. Alumni of leading online for-profit colleges are finding themselves unemployed and in thousands of dollars in debt, all resulting in the aggressive sales tactics and exorbitant cost that is associated with the supposed convenience of online college courses. All too often, students find themselves burdened by tremendous debt with few job prospects. Many of these colleges employ deceptive marketing practices, oversell the demand for specific degree holders within key employment fields, and make prospective graduates become overwhelmed with the cost of their convenient classes.
Among the chief complaints against for-profit tech colleges is that many of them take advantage of uninformed students. Promising high-salary occupations for degree recipients, these colleges boast of high employment figures for fields which, in actuality, have few job prospects. Additionally, many students are persuaded to enroll after the promise of large amounts of financial aid made available to them. In many cases, the amount of financial aid available covers less than a third of the average tuition, leaving some students to be saddled with nearly $100,000 worth of debt by the end of a full bachelor’s degree. Students at for-profit, online colleges do not often receive the same financial aid seminars as their peers at conventional public and private universities, leaving them in the dark as far as repayment options are concerned. What begins as an easy alternative to conventional college credit becomes a less than spectacular degree with an Ivy League price tag: job seekers are left with tremendous debts and an education which, while often satisfactory, is not outstanding when compared to the cost at which it was obtained?
Another great concern within the world of for-profit online tech colleges is the failure rate of students. While roughly 55% of students at public colleges and 65% of private college students earn full bachelor’s degrees, students enrolled at online, for-profit universities have a success rate of only 22%. The fast-paced course load and rate at which many students take classes does not allow for knowledge to sink in, leading to burnout and confusion. As a result, many students are left with heavy debts and no degree to show for their expenses. Many students also become disenfranchised with their online coursework close to graduation, realizing that their chosen study may not be the lucrative career field that they were led to believe before enrolling.
Among all other concerns regarding the credibility of for-profit online universities is the credibility and difficulty of course work. While some provide their students with a rigorous course load and challenging assignments, others provide exorbitant credit for “life experience” and allow students to obtain advanced degrees after only months of study. Providing opportunities for students to obtain masters degrees in doctorates despite taking as few as half a year’s coursework is not only damaging for the reputation of all online universities, but damaging for the integrity of higher education itself. The diploma mills of years past, in some cases, have merely moved online behind the veil of internet anonymity; less scrupulous online universities can award degrees that require little work at tremendous costs.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and the author alone, and do not reflect in any way the opinion of the web site USCollegeSearch.org or any of its affiliations or partnerships. Lindsey and David are contributors for USCollegeSearch.org in the Legal Entertainment category. This debate spawned from the article posted on www.infoworld.com.
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