A “Wage Penalty” for For-Profit Students

Community college students who transferred to for-profits in the early to mid-2000s earned roughly 7% less over the next decade than those who transferred to public or private nonprofit institutions, according to a study by the Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment housed at the Community College Research Center (CCRC) at Columbia University Teachers College.

The authors of the federally funded study note that “students in for-profit colleges have lower opportunity costs in terms of foregone earnings while enrolled in college, but these do not sufficiently compensate for lower earnings growth post-college.”

Some commentators have hailed for-profits for their appeal to “low-income” students and business-like approach to student services, while others have scrutinized them for questionable marketing techniques and encouraging high student debt among students who get little return in terms of pay.




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