It is a commonly held belief that education is the catalyst that allows individuals to improve their earning potential and quality of life.
One of the types of institutions that has encountered public scrutiny in recent years is the for-profit higher education business model. These schools provide certificate and degree programs, with the majority of their student body often enrolled in associate’s degree programs.
While the programs may be similar in nature to the traditional community college, the cost is often significantly more expensive. Additionally, the for-profit education sector tends to have less favorable graduation, job placement, and student loan default rates than their counterparts.
So what does this mean from a financial perspective? At a minimum, prospective students should conduct a cost-benefit analysis before choosing a school and degree program. This concept is not specific to for-profit institutions; it is a practical consideration for students attending traditional colleges, as well. After all, there is nothing more discouraging than being saddled with student loan debt with few prospects of a viable way to pay for it.
When calculating the value of the education from your prospective school, conduct objective research to answer the following questions before making a final decision:
Research has shown that a large percentage of the for-profit graduates secure jobs that pay marginally better than a high school diploma, and are more likely to default on their student loans than their counterparts who attend traditional schools. Current and prospective students are wise to investigate the expected earnings of those with their degree and compare that to the cost of acquiring it.
Education is an investment in one’s future, but it should be researched.
Life is a journey. Plan for it.