On Doonesbury and for-profit colleges: the numbers.

Last week Garry Trudeau focused his daily Doonesbury strips on the high debt, high CEO pay, and low grad rates associated with for-profit colleges. I wrote about it here with links to the first three strips, and you can click to see the Thursday and Friday strips.

Since some of those numbers seem outrageous at first reading, especially since they’re presented in a comic strip, I included links to the news article sources, including the Harkin report and a NYT article.

Last week Pro Publica also published an article on the same topic:  The For Profit Higher Eduction Industry, By the Numbers. Written by Suevon Lee, here’s part of the intro:

The report has provoked some pushback. The Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities, a membership organization composed of accredited for-profit schools, issued a statement criticizing what it saw as “continued political attacks” on the for-profit sector. Saying the report “twists the facts to fit a narrative,” it went on to challenge several figures.

It didn’t contest the following numbers.

Go read the piece. Trudeau got it right — the numbers are outrageous.

One reason why this is a big story:  Industry growth.

766,000 = number of students enrolled in for-profit higher education schools in 2001
2.4 million = number of students enrolled in for-profit higher education schools in 2010
225 = percent by which enrollment at for-profit colleges grew between 1998 and 2008
Two reasons why, if you know someone interested in taking a for-profit college course, you might suggest the local community college.
1.  Cost of education.
$35,000 = average cost of a two-year associate’s degree at a for-profit college
$8,300 = average cost of an associate’s degree at comparable community college
2.  Loan — and debt.
96 = percent of those enrolled in for-profit schools who take out student loans
13 = percent of students at community colleges who take out student loans
35,202 reasons for-profit colleges will work hard to recruit students plus 78 million reasons to ignore them:  Recruitment and lobbying.
35,202 = number of recruiters hired by 30 for-profit higher education companies in 2010 — roughly, one recruiter per 49 students enrolled at a for-profit college
3,512 = number of career services staff employed by for-profit schools in 2010
$78 million = amount Apollo Group Inc. agreed to pay in December 2009 to settle a whistleblower lawsuit for tying University of Phoenix recruiters’ pay to student enrollment
7.3 million reasons why, if you’re offered an executive position, you’ll do better at a for-profit than a non-profit:  Executive compensation.
$7.3 million = average compensation of CEOs at for-profit higher education companies in 2009
$3 million = average compensation of five highest-paid presidents of non-profit colleges and universities in 2009
$1 million = average compensation of five highest-paid leaders of large public universities in 2009
Meanwhile, this week Trudeau explores the world of Walden University wondering what will happen if it goes public. Start here and watch out for the fighting flashdrives.
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One response to “On Doonesbury and for-profit colleges: the numbers.

  1. Pingback: Building Democratic Learning « WikiQuals

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