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For-Profit Colleges Found To Have Favorable Graduation And Retention Rates

Compiled By CityTownInfo.com Staff
January 28, 2010

cap and gownA study released this week by the Imagine America Foundation has found that students at for-profit colleges achieve graduation and retention rates comparable to those at other institutions.

"The education community cannot and should not ignore this sector of higher education, because it will play an increasingly important role in our nation's ability to retool and prepare for increased competition from Asia and other areas," noted Watson Scott Swail, president and chief executive of the Educational Policy Institute and the project's main investigator, who was quoted in The Chronicle of Higher Education. "The world is changing, and globalization requires us to explore other options for postsecondary education."

The EPI conducted research for the study by using data from 6,750 institutions, of which 41 percent were career colleges. The results indicated that students who face challenges such as no high school diploma, single parenthood or low income have a better chance of obtaining a degree at a career college.

"In the current down economy, more Americans than ever have turned to a higher education process that provides them with more than an education, but also real employment possibilities," said Robert L. Martin, president of IAF, who was quoted in a press release. "Our research confirms that institutions that are flexible and willing to meet students on their terms are part of an educational approach that's gaining momentum in our nation. Our career college institutions are graduating trained workers into the labor force--and they are doing so at comparable and in some cases higher rates than traditional colleges and universities."

The study said that career college students were more likely to continue their education at the two-year level than at other institutions. At two-year career colleges, 72 percent of full-time students were found to return the following year, compared to 57 percent of students at public two-year schools and 68 percent at private, nonprofit two-year institutions. The retention rate for part-time students at two-year career colleges was 60 percent, compared to 42 percent at public institutions and 56 percent at private schools. For students at the less-than-two-year level, the retention rates at all institutions were similar.

The study also found that two-year career colleges had the highest graduation rate at 59 percent. At public two-year institutions, the rate was 23 percent, and at private two-year schools, the rate was 55 percent.

The study's results may very well be viewed as more evidence of the importance of career colleges. Recently, some officials recognized that private, for-profit institutions serve as viable alternatives to state and community colleges.

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