College Trap: Do For-Profit Schools Adequately Serve Students?

Ann McClure's picture

Sarah Koran was excited about applying for entry into the veterinary technician program at Madison College in 2010 but her application was denied. That meant hopes of starting the popular associate degree program, which often has a waiting list, was likely pushed down the road for two years.

So instead of putting her life on hold, she decided to investigate other options and was thrilled to learn that Globe University in Middleton, which is part of the burgeoning for-profit higher education industry, also offered a vet tech degree — and she could start classes almost immediately.

Although the total cost of that two-year program at Globe (about $51,000) would be more than four times the price she could expect to pay at Madison College (about $12,200), Koran was eligible for $5,500 per year in federal grant aid and figured it was worth it to take out student loans to help pay for the rest.

"They were like, 'Oh, we know it's expensive but you're going to get a great education and a great-paying job,'" says Koran, noting she now realizes vet techs tend to earn between $10 and $15 per hour after first graduating, not exactly big bucks.

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