"That which does not kill us makes us stronger," the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once wrote. For-profit colleges are hoping that Nietzsche's claim indeed reflects the truth.
The Chicago Tribune reports that the Career Education Corporation was enjoying record enrollment -- and record profits -- last year until the deluge of negative publicity and increased government scrutiny slowed the rate of student enrollment. The company announced in January that it intends to lay off 600 workers.
Other career colleges followed suit, laying off large portions of their workforce and nixing plans to build more campuses.
Career colleges, however, now believe the pressure to reform has made them stronger and better able to offer trustworthy products. Some colleges are offering more lower-cost certificates and hands-on courses. And these for-profits are paying more attention to the postgraduate careers of their students.
Of greatest importance, however, is the new requirement of many schools to offer mandatory weeklong orientations to ensure that their students are ready for the college experience. These weeklong orientations also include loan counseling, so students know just how much debt they are getting themselves into when they sign up for a course.
It remains to be seen how the for-profit education sector will weather the latest regulations, but if these initial improvements are any indication, it looks like the future will be bright.