School is Cool - Finding the Best School For You

Part 1: For-Profit Schools are NOT cool! What Schools NOT to go to!

Posted on Thursday, 29/05/2014
By:Professor Gateaux

Hopefully after reading my first blog, (can you think back to that piece of genius-ness? You can  read/re-read it here) you have now decided higher education is for you. Alright, I have convinced you, where do you go now?

Picking a college is tough! You're sitting at home all innocently waiting for your show to come on and chances are you will see a college commercial. The longer you stay up the more commercials you'll catch. If you had a dollar for each commercial you saw in a 24 hour TV binge you would probably afford to get a pizza, some wings maybe even a dessert delivered, and freaking tip. What I'm saying is that you're bombarded with colleges and universities trying to convince you to go to their institution. It's on TV, billboards, radio, everywhere!!

cat watching tv
Need to watch ALL the TV.

How do you decide which one is the best for you? Well let's talk about the differences, I have my preference but you be the judge.  I'll tell you about each type of school in the next few blogs then do a recap! Ready, let's go!!

Okay let's start with my least favorite, actually you could say the one I hate the most (I don't do nice, I'll tell ya how I really freaking feel!!) are FOR-PROFIT schools. These are the ones with the fanciest commercials. It you ever go to a college fair or to a convention they're the ones with the coolest things (pencils, staples, frisbees, you know free stuff). They're stuff is so awesome that at most college fairs they have out-lawed (no lie!) giving students college swag because the state schools couldn't compete. Makes you speculate it had to be really bad if they had to make a law against it...

Prisoner Cat

For-profit schools have a lot of money to advertise and give out fun college swag because they have MONEY!! Hello, F-O-R  P-R-O-F-I-T. They make money. They're prices are ridiculously high. Hell, even trying to Google to accurately get their price is hard to do without having to register or provide your info. SHADY ALERT!! For-profit schools can cost a good $375-$600 a credit. A credit is approximately an hour you're "in-class", most classes are about 3 credits, full time enrollment is 12 credits so multiply $600 by 12 and you're looking at paying $7,200 per semester. That's hardcore! Not only that if you take $600 and multiply it with 60 credits (the approximate credits needed to finish an Associate's) or 120 credits (the approximate credits needed to finish a Bachelor's) then you're looking at $36,000 for an associate and or $72,000 for a bachelor. Holy crap!! That's a lot.

Cat attacking Cash
Don't let this cute kitty fool you, throwing away money is no laughing matter!

Why are these schools so darn expensive? Well they're main goal is to make money. It's just another business and the product they're selling is a college degree. You want a degree? Come on down, pay a small fortune, take classes whenever you want, online or half online and half in person, finish your degree in 2 years, just fork over that $$$!  Now you know how they can afford all those darn commercials (during the superbowl, holy cow man!) and all that free stuff. That profit they're making off their product goes towards their stock, goes towards their CEO, someone is getting rich off it, like I said for-profit.

A Cat dressed as a CEO

If you learn anything about me, I personally do not believe on the richer getting richer, especially off the backs of poor students trying to get educated. I personally do not recommend these for profit schools, while they promise to help you find a job (some technically guarantee a job--albeit nothing out of this world) and it's so true that some employers don't care where you get that diploma, it's just so damn expensive. You're going to be paying off those loans forever. You do know if you don't pay off your loans by the time you reach retirement the government can take the monies from your social security check. What the fuuuuu-nky? More about loans in another blog.

Okay so I think I've emphasized the price enough let's move on to other reasons I hate them. How do I hate thee, let me count the ways...

Another thing you have to be careful with is accreditation. Schools have an accreditation process and it is very important if you are shelling out big G's. There are groups that check out schools and make sure that schools are legit and they verify that enough people are graduating and that enough people are paying off their student loans and not defaulting. That number is important because studies show students who are satisfied with their education and career, pay off their student loans. People who feel ripped off and don't find good careers with their degrees default on their student loans, which is the worst kind of loan to default. Shoot, it's safer to default on a loan from the mob (I'm kidding don't take out loans with mobsters or loan sharks, or cats who dress as sharks who ride vacuums).

Shark Cat Giving Chase on a Rhomba

Accreditation is important and schools have to continually reapply and update their practices every 10 or so years. Serious stuff. Well when you see these commercials they always say "accredited" and that makes you feel better. Umm hello, there are different types of accreditation and some are good and some are useless. When they say they're nationally accredited and you think that's the best...WRONG! You and I could buy a van, put some books in it and probably get accredited. National accreditation will not be accepted by other institutions so it's useless. Listen to me folks REGIONAL ACCREDITATION is where it's at. If you're ever in doubt to see if the school you're interested in is regional accredited just Google the school's name accreditation and you'll find it. As long as it’s one of the regional accreditations listed on Wikipedia article than yay it's regional.

New for-profit schools are always popping up and remember when I said accreditation had to be renewed; a lot of these places can easily lose that accreditation. Nothing pisses me off more than when a student has spent thousands of dollars on a school and are trying to transfer to where I work and I have to tell them we won't take it (most schools only take regional accreditation) because their school lost their accreditation. See this article about shady University of Northern Virginia 

I don't know, I think I've made my point enough about how much I don't like these schools. Don't hate me if you got your degree at a for-profit school if you have a job and you're happy, great! You're the exception, but the majority of people aren't as lucky. Even the Department of Education has cracked down on these schools because students are taking out these large loans and they're not paying them back or they're not completing the degree...not bueno.  This is an issue that has been going on for years, example, look at this comic strip from 2012!

Doonesbury Comic Criticizing For-Profit Schools

So yeah now I think we exhausted what school to avoid. Check back to see what school you should consider, here's a teaser....NOT for-profits :)

I’m going to name names of what are considered for-profit schools. You ready?  If you click on the school's name (it's a link) you'll be directed to an article or website talking about some of the abuses or some of the complaints about these schools (in case you don't believe me).

Now, don’t confuse for-profit schools for all online schools.  There has been a big push for schools making themselves available online to compete with the for-profit schools.  These are big famous schools like Penn State University who now offers online programs.  These schools are NOT-FOR-PROFIT, they’re traditional schools just catching up to the times and making themselves available.  Kudos to them.

Okay, class dismissed.

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