Who Profits? Students’ Experiences at For-Profit Colleges
New Public Agenda Survey Conducted by SSRS
Findings in Brief:
- Just one-third of for-profit college attendees prioritized affordability when choosing a college, yet few of them believe that cost is an indicator of quality in higher education. Only 23 percent of for-profit college attendees believe that more expensive colleges provide a better education. Yet fewer for-profit attendees (58 percent) than community college students (74 percent) say they paid a great deal of attention to information about affordability when considering college. And only 32 percent of them prioritized affordability when deciding where to enroll, compared to 59 percent of community college students.
- Few for-profit attendees applied to more than one college. Just over half say they learned about college through sources provided by or controlled by colleges themselves, such as advertisements or college websites. Those who spoke to recruiters gave mixed reviews. Eighty-three percent of for-profit college attendees say they did not apply to or seriously consider more than one college. Nineteen percent of them used interactive websites that allowed them to rank and compare colleges. But at least 60 percent of them say they learned about colleges from sources provided by or controlled by colleges themselves, including advertising, colleges’ websites, or recruiters. Among the 29 percent of for-profit attendees who spoke with a recruiter, reviews were mixed. Thirty-nine percent say the recruiter helped them understand how to apply to college, but 40 percent also say recruiters pressured them to enroll.