For Profit Colleges vs Non Profit Colleges

October 18, 2014 by Amanda Owens

for profit colleges 2Just pick a college with the degree you want to earn, and enroll, right? Not so fast. With today’s plethora of non profit and for profit college choices, choosing the wrong college can have a big impact on your professional and personal future. Before you dive into studying and taking exams, do your research on the pros and cons of each type of higher learning institution.

Non Profit Colleges

Non-profit colleges do not have owners. They are able to concentrate on providing high-quality education to their students. They are usually affordable, and their tuition rates are comparable to that of public universities. Non-profit universities are institutions like community colleges and state universities that receive research funding, scholarship money, and other types of funding from private organizations and governments. The money they receive is spent on students, staff and faculty, research, and facilities. Faculty members design their own curriculums and lesson plans, and the atmosphere on campus is often that of a community.

For Profit Colleges

Profit is the motivating factor for for profit colleges. They have shareholders. Their goal is to make money, so they don’t spend as much per student as non-profit colleges. Their tuition is often significantly higher than non-profits, and they may not offer as many scholarship opportunities. They do not have research facilities, and their libraries are often small. Their teachers are often less well-paid than at non-profit colleges as well as less-qualified. Furthermore, for profit curriculums are often set in stone and created by an academic advisory committee, and they are very job specific. You typically won’t find a student studying history at a for profit college.

Pros and Cons

Some positive aspects of for-profits is that they tend to cater to first-generation, minority and non-traditional students, unlike non-profits. They teach specific job skills and are more in-tune with labor market needs. Yet, it is important to remember that many of the same certificate and degree programs for-profit schools offer are also offered at non-profit institutions.

For-profits also offer more flexible scheduling than traditional, non-profit colleges, which can be good for working adults. However, non-profit colleges also offer online and flexible scheduling programs. In addition, non-profit colleges are usually regionally accredited, giving assurance that the education you receive is recognized nationally, unlike many for-profit colleges.

Name recognition is another area to consider. For-profit colleges do not have the name recognition that non-profits do, so it can be more difficult to find a good job after graduation. Graduates of for-profit colleges typically earn less than their non-profit university counterparts.

Finally, the graduation rates for non-profit colleges are statistically much higher than they are at for-profit colleges due to factors such as having more career and general support services. Before you take out any student loans to attend a for-profit college, check its graduation rates, the types of jobs and salaries their graduates get, and ensure there are adequate support services to help you graduate on time.


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