Survey Of Career College Graduates’ Satisfaction

Career College Central summary:

  • Students and graduates of career colleges give their institutions high marks for teaching quality and scheduling flexibility, but nearly a third of the alumni conclude that, given the colleges’ relatively high costs, the investment isn’t worth it, according to a report released Monday by Public Agenda, a nonprofit research group. The report, "Profiting Higher Education? What Students, Alumni, and Employers Think About For-Profit Colleges," was financed by the Kresge Foundation. It was based on responses from a representative sampling of about 800 prospective students, 200 undergraduates, 250 alumni, and 650 employers, as well as the findings of focus groups with employers and adult prospective students.
  • On the plus side, students cited caring instructors, small classes, and efficient programs. The results were mixed when it came to the perceived value of the colleges’ degrees. Thirty-seven percent of the alumni said the degrees were "well worth it," while 32 percent said it "really wasn’t worth it." Thirty percent said the jury’s still out. About half of the employers saw no difference in quality between for-profit and public colleges, but among those that did differentiate, "employers tended to favor traditional institutions, with many saying that they’d prefer to hire a candidate from a reputable state school versus one from a for-profit school," the report said.
  • Carolin Hagelskamp, Public Agenda’s director of research and the report’s lead author, acknowledged that the study had been conducted during a rough time for job seekers, a factor that could have colored their perspectives on the value of their degrees. Still, she said, "many graduates of for-profit schools put some blame on their schools for not adequately preparing them for the job market."

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