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Can For-Profit Tech Colleges Be Trusted?

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the trust-no-1 dept.

Education 557

snydeq found a story questioning "the quality of education on offer at institutions such as University of Phoenix, DeVry, ITT Tech, and Kaplan in the wake of increasing scrutiny for alleged deceptive practices [PDF] that leave students in high debt for jobs that pay little. 'For-profit schools carry a stigma in some eyes because of their reputation for hard sales pitches, aggressive marketing tactics, and saddling students with big loans for dubious degrees or certificates,' Robert Scheier writes. 'Should IT pros looking to increase their skills, or people seeking to enter the IT profession, consider such for-profit schools? And should employers trust their graduates' skills?'"

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557 comments

well (-1, Flamebait)

Ryanrule (1657199) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406222)

Can you trust someone who has something to sell? NEVER.

All Schools are for some kind of profit (2)

zoomshorts (137587) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406370)

Why would you say something as stupid as that? Did you not pay for your schooling, or do you have no schooling?
End of story, let us ALL ignore your accomplishments. Sound good?

Re:All Schools are for some kind of profit (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406452)

Why would you say something as stupid as that? Did you not pay for your schooling, or do you have no schooling?
End of story, let us ALL ignore your accomplishments. Sound good?

Lots of people pay nothing for their schooling. For example, many Europeans (e.g. those in countries where education is completely free) and students whose education is paid for by charities, scholarships etc.

Re:All Schools are for some kind of profit (2, Insightful)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406598)

Education is never free and those who receive a "free" education seldom appreciate it as much as the one who had to earn (and pay for) that education. That said educational institutions are far too costly in the US IMO.

Re:All Schools are for some kind of profit (5, Insightful)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406838)

>

those who receive a "free" education seldom appreciate it as much as the one who had to earn (and pay for) that education.

Please support your ideological thesis with a statement of fact.

I believe there to be millions of Doctors and Engineers with publicly-funded educations, in nations all over the world, that appreciate this very much. As do the societies in which they live.

Of course, they are not so unfortunate, as to live in the United States.

Re:All Schools are for some kind of profit (1)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406620)

It's "free" in the sense that you pay for it many times over the rest of your life by high taxation to support the weight of the system.

Re:All Schools are for some kind of profit (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35406694)

You seem to be under the impression that your taxes are high. Compared to levels in other countries, and to historical US levels, they are not.

You also seem to be under the impression that a large part of your tax bill goes toward supporting higher education. It is a small percentage.

Some people (1)

zoomshorts (137587) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406840)

Some people can make the BEST of what they learned by doing. Many cannot. This is not
the point I was trying to make. I always appreciate people who need no formal training, they
tend to do, rather than expect a piece of paper to bolster their abilities, they are the exception, rather than the rule.

Re:well (2)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406438)

"Never trust salesmen" is good advice (especially in the used market like amazon or ebay).

I would just add:
- Penn State, Maryland State, Virginia Tech, etc are ALSO salesmen

as always depends on the person (2)

alen (225700) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406226)

i know someone who went from zero to a good java dev after going to a similar college with a tech program. otherwise we'll be like europe where if you don't do well on the high school tests they give you will never go to college and never have a chance to change your life in the future

yeah, I don't care about the school (4, Interesting)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406344)

I'm doing hiring for my team. I don't care too much about the education: if the candidate can do a decent job on the coding quiz, they could be a Spanish major for all I care.

Re:yeah, I don't care about the school (2)

1s44c (552956) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406584)

I'm doing hiring for my team. I don't care too much about the education: if the candidate can do a decent job on the coding quiz, they could be a Spanish major for all I care.

Dam right. Formal qualifications are not so relevant since books and other sources of knowledge became affordable for all. People who want to learn will and those that don't are not going to be changed by expensive schooling.

Re:yeah, I don't care about the school (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35406682)

>> Dam right....People who want to learn will and those that don't are not going to be changed by expensive schooling.

I think you meant to spell it as "Damn".

Re:yeah, I don't care about the school (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35406806)

I'm doing hiring for my team. I don't care too much about the education: if the candidate can do a decent job on the coding quiz, they could be a Spanish major for all I care.

Dam right. Formal qualifications are not so relevant since books and other sources of knowledge became affordable for all. People who want to learn will and those that don't are not going to be changed by expensive schooling.

Well we can see who went to the shcool without a proper english program.

(note: I also went to one of these schools.)

Re:yeah, I don't care about the school (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35406702)

I employed a Spanish Major but he insisted on being called "El Coronel" and I can't stand social climbers.

Re:as always depends on the person (3, Interesting)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406420)

I've known people on both sides of the spectrum, but I can definitely say that if you come out of a University of Phoenix or DeVry program you're going to face a hiring stigma. Deservedly or undeservedly, these programs have a reputation that ranks decidedly below basically any traditional four year institution. They don't seem like a great deal considering the high cost, but when you compare that to what a candidates other options are (or lack thereof), it still might be a good plan. It sure would suck to have to pay back those loans on a desktop support kind of job salary.

Does not follow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35406422)

otherwise we'll be like europe where if you don't do well on the high school tests they give you will never go to college and never have a chance to change your life in the future

There are plenty of legitimate colleges (both universities and community colleges) that offer education for adults beyond typical college age. We don't need for-profit diploma mills for that.

Re:as always depends on the person (2)

floop (11798) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406442)

You should change that to "...never go to college for FREE". It's true that if you test poorly the government doesn't give you a free ride. You can sill pay. Heck you can even come to the US on a student visa and attend ITT. You would be better off buying a few books, a good laptop, attending local programming user groups and trying to work on open-source or mechanical turk projects.

Re:as always depends on the person (5, Interesting)

koyangi (926760) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406454)

It can be a foot in the door (albiet a rather expensive one). We have a pre-sales support engineer from DeVry. He did not have the grades/money to go to GA Tech, so he worked as a test technican while he went to DeVry. He is very good at what he does but I mostly attribute that to his intelligence rather than anything he learned at DeVry.

His degree allowed HR to "check the box" for college education and thus his manager was allowed to interview him and find out that he could be trained as well as tie his own shoes. The customers love him and he often finds very creative solutions to difficult problems. Had he not attended DeVry then he never would have made it past HR or, if he had gotten a job here, it would have been on the production floor.

Re:as always depends on the person (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35406656)

Once upon a time, you could do labor, manufacturing, or other societies other necessary nontechnical functions, and live comfortably. Back then our society was a little more self-sufficient (relative to extra-national pressures). Of course, what we need now is more degrees, programmers, more profits, more debt, and some overseas slave labor to do all that stuff for us.

Wait 15 years, when programming is cheaper to do with AI. Then all the heavily indebted graduates of these programs will be cut out of the job market just like the college graduates of the 90's and 00's are now. They've been up-selling education as the path to the American dream for decades, but we're behind the curve. Now millions of twenty somethings graduate college with tons of debt (it was all gonna be worth it, they said) and no jobs. Graduate programs were the next necessary thing (masters is the new bachelor's, they said). The debt is, unlike every other kind of debt (corporate, credit cards, pretty much everything), is non-dischargable.

Unemployment is 9%, unless you count the people past their 99 weeks, or the people working part time jobs and using food stamps. Then it's more like 20% And what's next? They're going to raise the fucking retirement age. Add 4 or 5 years of the largest generation to the workforce. Brilliant. Here's news, if you're in your 20's, you're royally fucked. And it's all because of the the wasteful, irresponsible, and selfish governance of your parents' generation, and their parents'.

They ought to lower the retirement age to 60. Get old, out of date people out of the workforce, divert defense into social security (their wars, their money, let them pick one), and help the next generation get into the workforce.

Look at the middle east and ask whether you want a whole generation of young people unemployed and bitter. It doesn't end well very often.

Re:as always depends on the person (1)

medv4380 (1604309) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406762)

I have to agree. A Tech school can work out even with the bad stigma of it. If you send out a resume some HR will simply round file you if you have nothing after high school listed. Even if they saddle their students with too much debt sometimes it helps to get your foot in the door. On the other hand 10 years ago I had two options. I could go to BSU which had the reputation of putting out CS majors who couldn't program to save their lives or a Tech School. I picked the Tech School rather then wait for BSU and the other local collages to get their acts together. I unfortunately didn't have the money to go out-of-state.

Re:as always depends on the person (3, Interesting)

fermion (181285) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406824)

Any open admissions institutions has the problem of accepting students and then not delivering a product. It is the nature of beast, Ethically, open admission institutions have the obligation of insuring that the student can succeed within the parameters of the school. This is even the case a good private K-12 schools. Students are asked to leave if they do achieve success.

What has traditionally been the case is beyond this. ITT has been in trouble for at least 15 years because it appeared that they aggressively recruited students, encouraged the students to maximize student loans, without any regard to the ability of the student to enjoy any level of success in the program. It seems that University of Phoenix merely expanded this model of student loan harvesting from the technical school to the University. I am sure that ITT and U of Phoenix both provide a valuable educational experience. What I am not so sure of is if they should be allowed to use federal student loans to provide such services.

Here is the thing that I am sure is never told the incoming student at ITT or U of Phoenix or any of the private diploma mills. A federal student loan never goes away. The student has to pay it back. No bankruptcy, no forgiveness. And the loans are relatively high interests rates, which accrues always, even if one has a delay in payment. The 50K many of these instituions charge can easily become 100K. It is easy to argue that such institution exist solely to transfer money from the federal tax payers purse to the coffers of private corporations. I would not do so. I would only say that in a free market in which these private for-profit institutions are competing, why would we need a federal loan program if they were in fact providing value. Sure, for non profit school such things can keep things fair and allow all qualified students to get an education. But if we are not talking qualified student, and any student, I think the private market would make much more reliable decisions. At least the student would be able to declare bankruptcy, and institutions with a high rate of bankruptcies would not longer receive loans. The free market, in this case, would work.

It's hard to gain credibility... (2)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406234)

... when the creators of Robot Chicken make fun of you in their latest series, Titan Maximum:

Willie: I can help! I have a diploma in mechanical engineering!

Palmer: *sarcastically* From DeVry.

Re:It's hard to gain credibility... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35406296)

It's also hard to gain credibility when you quote robot chicken.

Re:It's hard to gain credibility... (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406486)

It's also hard to gain credibility when you quote robot chicken.

Good thing I was quoting Titan Maximum, eh?

Re:It's hard to gain credibility... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35406510)

It's also hard to gain credibility when you quote robot chicken.

Robot Chicken is the snarky critic of our time, in a few centuries it'll be the Shakespeare or Chaucer that everybody uses to see what life was REALLY like.

Non-Profit? (2, Insightful)

Joe Mucchiello (1030) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406254)

All other colleges are non-profit? Harvard is non-profit? Really?

Re:Non-Profit? (5, Informative)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406432)

Harvard is a private non-profit. Colleges are either public (state run, taxpayer subsidized) or private (no state funding, money comes from tuition, donations, endowments). Private colleges can either be for-profit or non-profit, which is a tax designation. non-profit colleges will gladly help you rack up 6 figures of debt for a completely useless degree.

Re:Non-Profit? (1)

idontusenumbers (1367883) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406544)

A tiny group of indviduals make emense gains from the status and continued oporation of Harvard. It isn't fair to call an orginization that pays their empoloyees well over market rate a non-profit. Harvard falls into this category. It's official tax status may be non-profit, but idealogically speaking, it definitly is for-profit.

Re:Non-Profit? (1)

JamesP (688957) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406718)

Exactly

There's nothing wrong with being for-profit.

But they probably won't charge you 10 years of debt for that, as opposed to the 'big-name' non-profits.

I think the point here... (2)

sean.peters (568334) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406794)

... is that for-profit colleges have a particularly bad track record of ripping off their students. Some of the horror stories include continuing to auto-register students for classes after they've announced their intent to withdraw, and charging them for it - even though they've long since stopped attending the school. Then the student gets hit with a gigantic bill for an education they haven't even received.

Can non-profit schools rip off students? Sure. But it seems that many for-profit institutions are particularly egregious and horrible about this.

Re:Non-Profit? (4, Insightful)

shis-ka-bob (595298) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406476)

There is an entire new class of educational institution that Wall Street has dreamed up. They basically use college students to suck up government and private loans. The money from the loans get deposited into the university. The students get an online degree that probably doesn't get them a job. But the student in 100% liable for the loan. You cannot even escape with bankruptcy. But the investors who never gave the student nothing more than a worthless sheet of paper is protected. This scam artist like Phoenix University are mere doppelgangers, they lack the substance of a reputable University like Harvard.

Re:Non-Profit? (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406680)

Right, at Harvard it isn't the investors who make the money, it is the administration. That is much better and more reputable.

Re:Non-Profit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35406836)

You don't have to take out a loan to attend Havard. Their endowment will pay your tuition.

Re:Non-Profit? (3, Interesting)

Artraze (600366) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406550)

THIS. Where are my mod points? The entire point of a college is to make money; even for state schools. This has become particularly bad in recent years where college has become less about higher learning and more about getting that piece of paper that shows that you payed and are now eligible to do anything beyond grunt work.

I, for one, welcome these "for profit" schools: They are like a parody of the existing system, showing how a diploma is really just about paying the money and playing the game. I am cautiously optimistic that the weakness of their 'shovelware' degrees will wake people up to the fact that every other institution is fundamentally the same.

Re:Non-Profit? (1)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406796)

A lot of this has to do with the legal definition of what makes profit and non-profit. You won't find Harvard being publicly traded on the NYSE for instance, but you can trade in DeVry stocks (NYSE: DV).

Nonprofits don't share their surplus profits with share holders.

For profit schools are not the only ones (4, Insightful)

jimbolauski (882977) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406256)

that leave students in high debt for jobs that pay little

The majority of liberal arts programs would fall into that category.

Re:For profit schools are not the only ones (1)

Smidge207 (1278042) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406616)

Money = Work/Knowledge so the less you know the more you make
Perhaps, but you'll have to work much harder for that money... ;-)

Re:For profit schools are not the only ones (2)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406622)

It doesn't matter whether you go to the Ohio State University, Harvard, DeVry, ITT Tech or ANY higher education institution. They ALL want your dollars.....they ALL try and get you in there no matter what including getting you to accept student loans. They ALL do this.....whether they are for profit or not. Anyone who doesn't think so is kidding themselves.

Re:For profit schools are not the only ones (1)

JamesP (688957) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406738)

Well it's your choice

Like it's your choice to buy a hundred thousand dollar gaz-guzzler giant SUV

At least the SUV is cheaper and you can torch it and pretend it was stolen (not that I'm advocating insurance fraud)

No you cant (2)

Gaijin42 (317411) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406262)

But you also can't trust public colleges, and for the same reason.

Public colleges in general cost SIGNIFICANTLY more than these tech schools, and the job prospects for 4 year grads are dismal. Go to grad school (especially in something like English, Art, and the Humanities), and your only job prospects are probably working for the same school that gave you the degree.

Even formally "instant upper class" things like law school are not a good payout anymore.

Re:No you cant (4, Insightful)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406484)

Your prospects for salary are based on how rare your skillset is multiplied by how useful it is to a private firm that exists to make money. A doctorate in philosophy might be rare, but it isn't useful to a lot of software companies. A software company might need secretaries, but there are many millions of people who have that skill set. Having one of the two doesn't mean you deserve a great starting salary, you have to have both things going for you, and as people try to achieve that, salary structures change in some industries over time. They only remain the same for jobs where entry barriers are always relatively high or relatively low.

Re:No you cant (0)

Gaijin42 (317411) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406666)

I agree, and this somewhat reinforces my point.

Liberal arts colelges, for the most part, dump out hundreds of thousands of interchangeable people with no real skills. There are of course exceptions. Doctors, engineers, some of the scientists (although many are just recycled into faculty), some of the tech people (although in my experience any person with a masters or phd in comp sci is 100% worthless on the job)

Tech schools are focusing on areas where there are more shortages of workers (or at least the impression of shortages of workers). Now, they of course have a perverse incentive to make the shortage appear worse than it is, and continue its existence even after the shortage is no longer there. But they are responding to at least some level of market dynamics, which by and large traditional schools are insulated from completely.

There is a reason all schools (private and public) do not publish good salary or job sector data. They just give the number of people having any job. You might have gone to school for engineering, and be serving fries - thats a win to the school

Re:No you cant (4, Informative)

jayme0227 (1558821) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406508)

I don't agree with your statements, and neither does this chart. [bls.gov]

Re:No you cant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35406826)

That chart seems biased. It only counts the earnings of full-time, salaried employees, but I'd be surprised if it counted part-time employees as unemployed in it's unemployment rate.

Furthermore, the fact the people who currently have PhDs currently have better employment prospects doesn't mean that this fact would hold true if everyone started obtaining PhDs with little demand in order to get better jobs.

Garbage institutions. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35406268)

These things are the biggest rip offs I know of. They claim they can fast track you to intelligence and place you in a good job. In reality, they take thousands upon thousands of dollars of your money, and when you're done everyone throws your resume straight into the bin if they see that name on it. They budget more for TV commercials with 'successful' graduates than for real education. (If you've ever noticed the dates they show on the commercials, they are pre-crash. I'm pretty sure the 'success stories' they tout have since been laid off.)

Re:Garbage institutions. (2)

grapeape (137008) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406628)

Around here we call them puppy mills. You wouldn't believe how many Devry graduates I have interviewed over the years that thought their MCSE and Devry Certificate was their prerequisite to writing their own ticket. I had one get really angry with me when he came back after not being hired, I explained I was really looking for experience over paper and suggested he intern somewhere or try to hook on with a larger firm that had "entry level" positions. When hiring I usually come up with a short "quiz" mainly to get an idea of their troubleshooting skills...this particular guy actually told me "it wasn't in the books".

Re:Garbage institutions. (1)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406760)

It can be a stepping point....if you know WHAT the heck your doing. Certs from ANY vendor mean diddly if you can't do the job. Degrees CAN help....EVEN from DeVry but you must STILL be able to do the job. Nothing is automatic.

With that said, I think ALL colleges....public and private...charge WAY too much. I am going to rack up 30,000+ of debt and then only make 40-50K per year? You kidding me?? Going to Med or Law School is even worse. In those you will rack up close to 500K in debt....before you have your first client!

So, it doesn't matter what school you go to....it's damned expensive and you get little to show for it other then knowledge and even then you may not be able to get a job where you can purchase a house, a car and pay your loans and other living expenses at the same time.

Aren't all colleges 'for-profit'? (2)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406272)

Excuse my ignorance, but with all the tuition hikes in recent years, it seems to me that all colleges are 'for-profit'.

Re:Aren't all colleges 'for-profit'? (1)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406494)

Lucky for them, the government provides financing to everyone, so they can charge however high of a rate they want.

Re:Aren't all colleges 'for-profit'? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35406640)

No, they are not for-profit. If they were, then there would be somebody pocketing the profits. Instead these schools either, don't make a profit and survive off of government money or they put the money in a school endowment that is then used for things like scholarships, buildings, or general expansion/improvement. The key difference is that no owner or investor is getting a check at the end of the day. University of Phoenix for example is not only a for-profit, but it is a publicly traded company.

Re:Aren't all colleges 'for-profit'? (2)

shis-ka-bob (595298) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406646)

There are no investors that are expecting a direct payback from their investment in a not-for-profit university. Lawyers and investors know exactly what it meant by the term. Are universities cheap? Heck no, but it isn't to generate a profit for investors. Does Daddy Warbucks expect something in return for creating an endowment? Probably. Does he expect a direct return on his investment? No. Are the research faculty at a medical college well compensated? You bet. Is there pay excessive? That is a judgment call you have to make. Does their pay constitute 'profit"? No. Words have meanings, and 'profit' has a particular meaning. Most universities are not for profit.

in general (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35406282)

One should never trust anyone doing anything for profit. He will do the minimum possible for the maximum gain, including deception to the extent he can deceive you without you finding out.

Re:in general (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406638)

Whereas the person who is doing things non-profit is working for motives that you probably do not know and therefore you have no way to truly know where their interests lie, so you do not know how to protect yourself against a conflict between your interest and theirs.

I'm not following this (1)

E-Rock (84950) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406288)

There are problems in how they recruited students, so the skills of the students who finish are in question? How does one lead to the other?

Re:I'm not following this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35406482)

Because some of the 'problems' in recruiting students have been along the lines of enrolling homeless people with the intention of the school getting the federally funded scholarships. In order to KEEP GETTING these federally funded scholarships, the institution has to maintain a certain percentage of graduates. If you are curious, look it up yourself and you will see that along with some other quite dubious practices.

It is not a stretch to then have doubts about their claimed graduation rate. That is, if a 'piece of paper' is all that you use to judge someones worth to your company.

It all depends... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35406322)

It all depends, I've taken classes in both environments and I think education quality depends more on the professor versus the institution.

In the "traditional college" environment I found that the full-time professors they employed were great at teaching theory, but lacked in terms of practical experience. In the for profit environment I found that a much higher percentage of the professors only taught part time because they actively worked in the field. This let them teach theory that was backed up with real world experience. However you also had people who were excellent at what they did, but could not teach themselves out of a paper bag.

Ripoff (2)

kugeln (680574) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406334)

Our hiring practices generally exclude anyone not coming from a "real" accredited college. I'd rather hire somebody from a community college than anyone that went and sold their soul to ITT Tech or Devry--it shows a profound lack of common sense and planning ability. It's right up there with hiring somebody that lists "Geek Squad" on their resume. Pass...

Re:Ripoff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35406576)

I know quite a few people that went to ITT or the like and do quite well in their field. Some people (including myself) went to one because:
1.) High School bored me (so I didn't do as well as I could have)
2.) You need to have a piece of paper to be looked at seriously when starting out in IT.

Of course, I've been in the business for 10+ years and done everything from helpdesk to Cisco and Juniper router administration to consulting for Java and .net applications. Including rolling out AD, administering windows and linux mailservers, dns, etc... .

I'm now running internet and intranet facing Application Server Clusters for a very large bank.
If you're willing to overlook a resume because you don't like the school, then it's your loss and I'd probably not want to work for you anyway.

That said, if high school did more than regurgitate the same things I learned in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade, then I might've been more interested and done significantly better....

Re:Ripoff (1)

kugeln (680574) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406742)

I think you covered a small part of the problem--It's always dependent on the person--if they have other "high" points, they have a better chance, but a systemic problem I've observed with the tech school "grads" is a proclivity to work consulting gigs where their work experience is 6-12 months per "job". And most seem to lack a real direction to their career. A Job To Pay The Bills is what most seem to be looking for... In the past 10 years, I've received much more "quality" out of my Community College grads, but I guess like everything there's a bit of YMMV in that.

Re:Ripoff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35406690)

I am not sure I sold my soul. Maybe you can confirm.

I graduated with a 2.0 from high school. I setup 50% of the computers for our entire school including managing the other students who were helping.

I didn't want to go to community college because it felt like the 13th grade. I went to school, out of state, and "graduated" with an AA in "computer networking". I learned how to build, code and administer the three major systems (Windows, Linux and Novell).

The only people I know who make more money than me have Master's degrees or higher, if we are using money as barometer of success.

Personally I think hard work + desire + drive = success.

DeVry is very expensive (5, Insightful)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406388)

DeVry is STEEP for an ABET-T accredited program. One could go to a State school and obtain an ABET-E Engineering degree for a LOT less than the cost of DeVry.

What these colleges have over the State schools; however, is the complete lack of selectivity. They will let just about anyone in, and it'll be up to them to sink or swim. Most of them sink, and some of them swim, and I have no doubt that a very small percentage of bright people, who are otherwise inadmissible to a State School due to circumstances not related to their academic performance, do very well for themselves. That's a tiny tiny percentage though.

It's not all bad, but the lack of selectivity means most students will fail, and do so owing a lot of money. It's not entirely the school's fault. They should, however, raise the admission standards at least a little bit.

Short answer: No (5, Informative)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406396)

Long answer: In the United States at least, if you have no college degree but are interested in putting in the time, money, and effort needed to get one, you will get the biggest bang for your buck at your local community college, possibly followed by some time spent at a nearby branch of your state university system. It's not MIT, RIT, Caltech, Stanford, etc, but it's going to be a pretty solid college education at a very reasonable price, and cost considerably less than the clowns at ITT or DeVry or University of Phoenix will charge you.

The only real exception to this rule is if you qualify for significant financial aid that allows you to attend a fantastic technical school at the same or lower cost than your government-run schools.

Re:Short answer: No (1)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406556)

MIT, RIT, Caltech, Stanford

RIT is a tier down from the others listed, both in terms of prestige and price. It is probably a much better bang for your buck.

Re:Short answer: No (5, Informative)

e9th (652576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406602)

One BIG problem with the for-profits is that once you start with them, you're stuck. As ITT-Tech [itt-tech.edu] puts it:

It is unlikely that any credits earned at an ITT Technical Institute will be transferable to or accepted by any institution other than an ITT Technical Institute.

At least with even a community college, there's a good chance that many or most of your earned credits, especially at the 100 or 200 level, will transfer.

Watch This PBS Frontline Documentary Titled (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35406398)

College, Inc. [pbs.org].

Yours In Akademgorodok,
Kilgore Trout

Not just for-profits (2)

emagery (914122) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406424)

Probably ~not~ but I would argue that the university system isn't immune to monetary temptations either; I went to a state university system, came from a working class family that could not afford to help me out... though the compsci and physics programs were challenging and rewarding (and well respected), the financial aide department was apparently (for lack of any rational alternative probability) offended at a 'poor' boy coming to their school. They raked me over the coals, lied through their teeth, and set me up for a lot of unnecessary pain including myriad courses audited due to their shinanigans preventing me from being able to afford the textbooks! This may sound like whining, but compare this to my wealthy ex-girlfriend at the time who came from out of state (re: triple tuition costs) who, in spite of a much more shallow and far less lustrous academic background, got a free ride through school. To her credit, she maintained it well... I'm not blaming her. But the school played serious favorites with what their fiscal equations must have indicated that she was better odds in terms of alumni donations to the school. They rewarded her and punished me based on equations and assumptions, best as I can figure. Well, now she's working in a department store and I'm writing code that empowers a million plus people, and that school's behavior has taken on something of a self-fulfilling prophecy; they'll never get a donated cent out of me.

Re:Not just for-profits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35406516)

Girls almost always get a free ride through college, and if the finaid department doesn't arrange it, they can just pole-dance (as long as they're reasonably hot).

Basically, fat ugly girls get scholarships, hot girls get scholarships or pole dance. That's how it works.

I knew a couple of girls in college who paid their way through school dry-humping desperate-but-affluent Georgia Tech nerds at The Cheetah. It was not all that uncommon.

Are the Ivies and top10 any different? (2)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406440)

Ivies are costing 50-60K per year now a days. Met an alum of U-Chicago who was shocked to learn his alma mater charges 55K per year.

The most refined form of socialism practiced in USA in the admission/financial aid policies of the Ivies. It is all, "If you have the money pay the full price even if you are the top student being admitted. If you don't have money you a get a full free ride, even if you are at the bottom of the admitted students".

The really rich dont care. The poor dont care they get benefited. It is the frugal middle who did all the right things, who took sensible size mortgage, squirreled away the money, took less expensive vacations and cheaper cars and did everything your grandma told you to do, are being punished for good behavior. With incentive system so warped, is there any surprise America is on the decline?

Re:Are the Ivies and top10 any different? (3, Insightful)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406536)

Do student loans really help people, or do they just inflate the cost of colleges across the board? I'm 34 and still in student loan debt, probably until I'm 40+

Re:Are the Ivies and top10 any different? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35406554)

"Sensible size mortgage" - that's zero. A $100,000 30-year loan at 5% interest takes $193255.20 to pay off. The real win is avoiding rent payment by living with somebody who owns their own place outright. Basements work well as any slashdotter should know :)

Re:Are the Ivies and top10 any different? (1)

orphiuchus (1146483) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406580)

...
The really rich dont care. The poor dont care they get benefited. It is the frugal middle who did all the right things, who took sensible size mortgage, squirreled away the money, took less expensive vacations and cheaper cars and did everything your grandma told you to do, are being punished for good behavior. With incentive system so warped, is there any surprise America is on the decline?

This is one of the best descriptions of this problem I've seen lately. The middle class in America is getting laid off and losing their houses in exchange for studying hard and getting a degree then working hard once they got a job. The rich are still rich, and the lower-class, aside from immigrants, is largely made up of people who are content to accept the quality of life that a trailer and a welfare check brings. ... This is depressing.

Re:Are the Ivies and top10 any different? (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406776)

That is a pretty uninformed rant. Ever heard of early admissions or legacy? We've had 2 recent Presidents who lucked up into Ivy enrollments and gentleman-C'd their ways to big fat Golden Ticket that is an Ivy league degree. The Ivy League schools are still powered by privilege. I'm also assuming that never had to worry about paying for college if you think that people without the money for tuition magically get a free ride.

College aid for poor students is so that kids with parents either unblessed with wealth or too financially incompetent to assure college education for their children still have a chance in life. And, unlike the odd impression you've got about paying for college, it's not easy by any means for the financially limited. Ask around, you'd be surprised at the people who've come up thanks to our government's investment in people at all social levels.

I'll share an anecdote about a roommate from college. She was overall pretty cool, attractive, worked really hard, and unlike the average dingbat keg-standing through college, she had her head together. If you asked her, she'd tell you she paid her own way through college. Now keep in mind:

  • She didn't pay her own rent
  • She didnt pay her own utilities
  • She didn't buy her own books
  • She didn't pay for her own car

Who knows where her tuition money came from considering she only worked about 10 hours a week in the sorority. Now, in her mind she probably did make "sacrifices" by not being able to go on that Cancun Spring Break trip with the rest of the sorority sisters. These are all the little things that some of us who had more opportunities seem to forget.

Call it "socialism" if you want, but it's worked for the past 50 years.

Heard from a graduate of both (1)

Wokan (14062) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406450)

My father has attended both "public" colleges and for-profit colleges and says that both seem to offer very similar educations and difficulty of completion. He's gotten degrees from each (a bit of an over-achiever at times) and hasn't had any problems regarding the pedigree of his degrees when it comes to finding jobs or contracts.

Maybe for-profit colleges do lead to a higher loan default rate, but that could be because a lot of the people defaulting on the loans are people who just weren't ready or able to learn at the pace required for college study. More scholarships and grants that don't turn their noses up at the for-profits could help reduce those loan defaults, but it wouldn't help those who enroll who just aren't prepared to learn.

Never trust nobody (1)

spudnic (32107) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406490)

The quality of the many recent graduates I interview from traditional colleges and universities is atrocious. They have no analytical skills what so ever and expect to come in making big bucks and leading projects. The ones that I did hire sit around all day worrying about how they could have used super duper new programming paradigm X and take forever to complete what should be simple development tasks. They shut down if a design spec given by a customer is not perfect rather than working with the customer to clarify or work through the issue.

Argh! You kids get off my lawn!

Can the big non Tech only ones be Trusted? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35406520)

Can the big non Tech only ones be Trusted?

look at Northwestern University $55,000 year for sex ed?

why is SEX SD in COLLEGE?

At least they posted the corrected version (1)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406522)

The original report was overly harsh and quickly got picked apart for purposefully twisted wording. Regardless, the report is highly flawed because it attempts to attribute a problem to all for profits while the investigators targeted four specific for profits. In other words, they cherry picked.

Worse, after they used the original report to generate a lot of negative press once the updated report was put out very little was mentioned of the change. Basically it was a tool of some agenda driven politicians to put out a message they want. While some of the findings are true the interpretations of the interactions between undercover investigators and the schools left a lot to be desired.

It also was a convenient foil to distract the public from the fact that so called not for profit schools have very rates and when backed by scholarship money that sets limits on what it pays simply move costs over to a new category called "fees" which essentially let them charge whatever they want. This is a very big problem in Georgia where HOPE pays out a specific amount but colleges get around it by charging fees for anything they can think they can get away with.

Should you go to a for profit. You should go to the best choice you can afford if that is what you want and you determine in your best interest. Some careers practically require it while others merely require it for advancement beyond certain points. It all comes down to, did you get what you paid for and is the cost relative to what you expect to make? The rule of thumb I have always read is, do not invest more into school than what you can make in a year from the actual job.

No different than most schools (1)

Ogive17 (691899) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406540)

My brother got his Associate's from ITT and Bachelor's from DeVry. Yes, his student loans will take awhile to pay off but the job he landed pays well and he often travels, so the company covers all those expenses. Before he was married he was always on the road, practically getting 20-40 hours of paid OT each week while having all lodging/food expenses covered.

On the other hand, my cousin is an optometrist. Her school loans topped $100k, she has to work 2-3 part time jobs just to fill her time, and none of those have great pay or benefits. The schools she went to are very respected.

So can you trust the "for profit" schools. I'd say you can trust them as much as you trust any other school. It's up to the student to make the most of the opportunity.

But if all you need is to fill a check box... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35406560)

...one of these schools is fine. 15 years experience designing and managing networks but no degree or only an Associate's? Take a few online courses to get a Bacehlor's and fill in that check box employers look at. A degree from Phoenix AND experience sounds better than just experience to me.

Non-profit Online School comment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35406566)

I work for, and am a graduate of, a non-profit online school that is both regionally and nationally accredited, and you wouldn't believe how many students we get coming to us from these for-profit schools. It's amazing how many people have no idea what they are actually getting themselves into, and by the time the debt load is so crushing that there's no escape, they realize that they didn't do anything but pay a lot of money for something that is completely irrelevant. Education shouldn't be something that costs untold thousands of dollars a year, nor should it be just theory - there needs to be a balance of quality, cost, and relevance. Once someone finds that (we're trying, and we're a heck of a lot closer than most)... I'll leave guessing up to you at this point.

I went to ITT... (2)

N1tr0u5 (819066) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406568)

I will never recommend any for-profit paper mill to anyone, particularly ITT. I've got 40k worth of debt for the majority of classes entailing being a teacher reading a book to us. There were only two teachers that were worth a damn (Hi Mr. Miller and Mr. Richie) and I took three classes under them, total. Going there went something like this: First three quarters: This is pretty basic stuff, guess I get to the meat of things later. Second three quarters: Well, this seems to be as good as it gets, I've already spent almost 20K, may as well finish it out. Last two quarters: Regret. At least I'll have a diploma. Not to mention there was a guy in the classes that did nothing but surf the web for nothing but entertainment sites, did poorly on all the tests, didn't turn in homework, but still managed to get on the honor roll. I hate that place with all my heart and I chalk it up one of my life's biggest lessons/mistakes. I wish I would have paid 1/10 of what I did and gone to community college for the same education.

schools are schools (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35406574)

Full disclosure: I went to a for-profit tech school. (I flunked out of Ranken Tech's architectural technology program, but ended up with a job as a drafter that I held for 12 years, and have recently transitioned into another drafting job)

It's generally in these schools best interest to flunk out anybody that doesn't perform. Yea, they'll take anybody, but they only want the qualified people to finish and go into the workforce with their name attached. It makes it a whole lot harder for them to maintain their high job placement numbers if they graduate non-performers.

Having worked with several other people who have gone to tech schools and to traditional schools, I'd say it still just as much as ever depends more on the person than the university. If someone knows their shit and is good at what they do, they can be anywhere along the spectrum of college dropouts to full-on traditional college degree holders, and employers won't give a damn. If you do your job, and do it well, where you went to school means very little. All college did for me was get my foot in the door. The fact that I'm damn good at what I do and that employers talk to each other is what has made me a person in demand in my field.

Everybody Wins (1)

ddd0004 (1984672) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406612)

I had a boss who got both a bachelors and masters degree from american intercontinental university. It seems like he maybe got both degrees (some sort of IT/Security nonsense) the same year too or only one year apart so that might be a red flag. His application of security techniques was terrible in the code he wrote. They may have tried but it didn't take in his case. But that being said, I guess it worked out well for him. He got a Manager/Lead job with little experience. He was also friends with the division VP and several other people the VP had hired too.

I guess it worked out for me too. I challenged some of his decisions and he resented that so I got all sorts of crap and a good job became downright painful. I went an got a better job and a better wage.

Charter schools. (0)

FriendlyPrimate (461389) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406618)

Slightly off topic, but...

This is what really scares me about the Republican push for charter schools in this country at the expense of public schools (I live in Raleigh where the Chamber of Commerce is heavily involved with the push for for-profit charter schools). Public schools can be pretty bad in places, but at least education is the primary focus of the school. For-profit colleges and charter schools are primary interested in profit, not education.

Sure, you can make the argument that charter schools won't be profitable if the kids don't get educated. However, there are LOTS of opportunities for charter schools to game the system (e.g. only accepting students likely to make their graduation rates and test scores look good compared to public schools) and put profit ahead of a well-rounded education for all kids.

I simply don't TRUST for-profit schools, and they would have to be heavily regulated before I do.

NON tech schools do a bad job with tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35406668)

http://it.slashdot.org/story/11/02/27/1530247/IT-Graduates-Not-Well-Trained-Ready-To-Go?from=rss

there will have to be a marker event (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35406670)

Someone with a fair amount of credibility will have to start one, let's say Bill and Melinda Gates or GE (General Electric), then people will suspend judgement on that particular one. If that works, then it will blaze a trail for others willing to apply the same kind of hiring standards and controls. For now, the industry is considered a diploma mill.

Public (1)

ossuary (1532467) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406678)

I don't think we can really trust non-profit schools either if they have a desire to grow or become nationally recognized. They can still push through those that should never have graduated just to get more student notches on their belt when they apply for federal grants.

Employers and Trust (1)

DnemoniX (31461) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406704)

I used to work at an internationally renowned medical facility who regularly treats world leaders. They actively encouraged employees to enroll in online campuses such as the University of Phoenix and Kaplan, to continue their educational development and help further their careers. I know several IT professionals there who started off answering phones at the help desk for $12/14 and hour and now through online education and hard work are now managers earning $90-100K+ after only 10 years. It comes down to the individual, how hard you work, how dedicated you are to your education, and what you take away from the material you are presented. That is what makes a true professional, not the pedigree of your degree.

No Difference (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35406706)

There is no real difference between "for profit" and regular colleges. They both have a product to sell. They both have costs which they need to cover. They both want to build a reputation.

I suppose some here will automatically distrust any venture that wants to make a profit, just as I automatically distrust any venture which is ultimately beholden to the government, and thus politics. But that is all beside the point. If you graduate from DeVry you will know something about computers and you will be in debt. If you graduate from anything from SUNY or Cal State up to Duke, UVA or Rice (basically anything short of the ivys) you'll be 6 figures in debt and your communications degree won't open many doors. The issue is higher education -- its costs have far outpaced its rewards.

Diploma Mill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35406756)

For the most part, they are diploma mills. There are occasionally a few people who know what they're doing that graduate from there, but the majority lack critical thinking skills, which are needed to figure out anything beyond the standard formulaic scripts that a help desk IT position needs to follow. It's probably why these people are willing to give up cash for these places in the first place.

ITT Tech & DeVry (1)

irreverant (1544263) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406778)

I went to ITT Technical Institute to get my Associate of Applied Sciences and am going to DeVry University for a Bachelors in computer science. So take it from someone that went there - First, the cost is extremely expensive; even for an AAS which I could have received from Pima Community College. The difference is that my AAS is specialized. I didn't have to take a humanities course or a psychology course, this was a huge benefit to me. I had already had experience in the small-form factor computing industry not to mention experience with servers, routers and enterprise level network infrastructure. The degree allowed me to refine my skill set and my computer practices. Second, the people that feel their getting shafted are the same type of people that would feel they get shafted from their educators at a public institution. They chose to go into computer science because they figure, "...hey it's computers, i use them everyday and I figure they should be easy to learn about." That's a quote from one of my fellow ex-students. They don't realize that computers like any skill set requires some type of training whether it be private self taught training or through a get-to-know-your-computer-class training. They start taking the classes which are intermediate to advanced level class concepts and are completely lost. These are also the type of people that don't put much effort into their education so conversely, they don't get much out of their education. Third, there is a misconception that public universities such as U of A and ASU and Caltech are not for profit institutions. Their out there to get your dollar just the same way the for-profit institutions are. What it depends on is what your looking for in a program, institution, and education. Some people don't want to spend credit hours on a degree that has you take humanities and sociology courses. I needed an advanced program that would allow me to get into my field faster. Just so happens I started my own company. Finally, It falls on the individual to have due-diligence to look into what's offered at their ITT/DeVry/U of Phoenix to make sure it's a good fit for them. Don't go into something without doing to research first. That's just reckless decision making.

White Collar Votech Schools (3, Interesting)

Above (100351) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406808)

Many years ago Vocational Technical schools churned out welders, plumbers, electricians, and all sorts of other skilled trades by the boatload. Not everyone was cut out to be a white collar employee, and so if you didn't go to college you could choose these schools to learn a trade and get the skills necessary to get a good job.

These programs have fallen by the wayside along with America's manufacturing. We don't need as many of those workers, so we don't train them.

There is a new economy though, an information economy. Yesterdays Professional Engineers are today's MCSE's and CCIE's designing information systems. These high end jobs still require a college education, as much for the non-technical (e.g. communications) skills as for their technical parts.

For each one of the architects of the information age there are hundreds of technicians. Just like a P.E. may have designed building built by a crew of 1,000 skilled workers in the past, today an information architect designs a data center built by hundreds. These "for profit colleges" specialize in associates (2 year) degrees with the tech skills necessary to fill these jobs. They tech the technical bits, but go really light on the reading, writing, and math skills that would actually give people the fundamentals; just like VoTech schools of old. The welder of old didn't need to know at a 14" beam was required for the weight load and how to calculate it, just how to lay down a perfect bead. The information tech of today doesn't need to know why there's a three layer switching fabric, just how to run Cat5 cables and test them.

Where the "for profit colleges" mislead people is they want them to think they are getting the same education as a 4 year traditional college. They are not. Look at the curriculum online or talk to people who have attended one. These institutions teach you how to do, not how to think.

Somehow it became stigmatized to have not attended college. Never mind that I've seen plenty of 6 figure skilled tradesmen, and seen plenty of 4 year college graduates struggle to get a $40k job. If these schools marketed themselves as VoTech they would be more honest, but no one would go. They are forced into marketing themselves as something they are not, and then folks are surprised, and disappointed with the output.

I've done both (1)

Amigan (25469) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406820)

I have a BS/MS from brick-n-mortar schools, and a PhD from an on-line institution. This institution got caught up in the "diploma mill" congressional hearings several years ago, and has since gone belly up :-( I can tell you from personal experience that I worked *harder* getting my on-line degree than I did on either of the two earlier degrees. Granted, I was a working professional pursuing the degree this time around, rather than a single, straight from high school, student.

I wasn't saddled with heavy debt, but the fact that the institution I attended required you to pay for the entire degree in the first 10 months was there as an incentive to actually do the work required. They also had an additional fee for every month past their expectation that you didn't finish. The goal was to get you to complete. Unfortunately, since the degree is non-accredited, I cannot use it as proof to any local Universities if I want to be an Adjunct Faculty.

Having the additional degree did help me get my present position.

  • BS Computer Science (Univ of South Carolina - 1983)
  • MCS Computer Science (Texas A&M University - 1985)
  • PhD Computer Science (Kennedy-Western University - 2002)

jerry

I also went to ITT... (1)

Halifax Samuels (1124719) | more than 3 years ago | (#35406844)

I graduated from my local ITT Tech with a Bachelor's Degree in Information Systems Security as the valedictorian of my class. It took me a year to find a job and not only do I feel like I am COMPLETELY unprepared for a simple IT job but I was also informed that I was hired mainly because the senior IT guy here said he thought we'd get along well (and we do, which is nice), so that basically means I got lucky and my credentials had nothing to do with it. I've got a sizable debt still, but I haven't been out of my old retail job for a full year yet. 30K a year is double what I made in retail, but not quite what I was expecting (I am entry-level, though). All-in-all, I liked that the teachers worked in the field and really did know their specific subjects inside and out (for the most part), but I didn't like anything else about the school.
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