Career colleges endured another tumultuous week, which began with the resignation of Harris Miller, the chief executive of the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU). InsideHigherEd.com reports that "Miller characterized his departure after four-plus years as very much his own, motivated in large part by exhaustion after nearly two straight years of nonstop political battling over the future of the for-profit-college sector and federal attempts to regulate it more aggressively."
The recent legislation has prompted some critics to ask the larger question, "What is a college grad worth?" The Christian Science Monitor reported a few weeks ago that "[u]p to now, many schools have relied mostly on their reputations or resources (faculty, buildings, sports, etc.) as a measure of their worth, not the earning power of graduates or their ability to pay back loans. But an 'accountability movement' has been gaining, even inside higher ed."
Today we see even more evidence of this movement. The Orlando Sentinel reports that students at career colleges are taking on debt they can't handle. "For-profit schools often charge much-higher tuitions, which means their student end up deeper in hock. Nationally, more than 90 percent of students at for-profit colleges borrow to bankroll their educations, compared with 13 percent at public colleges. With jobs scarce and wages stagnant, it's harder than ever for students to repay their loans."
That's true for all students, not just those who attend career colleges. Nonprofit colleges are not exempt; they too have driven up their tuition, saddling students with few prospects for employment remunerative enough to comfortably service debt. The problem is endemic, and to blame the for-profit education sector alone is to commit a grievous oversight.