Speaking generally, for-profit colleges are ripoff machines that exist to extract money from unfortunate students in return for a useless “education.” Speaking specifically, a new study demonstrates that this is true.
A new research paper published by that National Bureau of Economic Research examines the employment and earnings of 1.4 million people who attended for-profit colleges. And: “on average associate’s and bachelor’s degree students experience a decline in earnings after attendance, relative to their own earnings in years prior to attendance.”*
[*Clarification: it should be noted that the decline in average earnings of the student group as a whole are weighed down by the students who attend for-profit schools without graduating. From the report: “Certificate, associate’s, and bachelor’s degree students generally experience declines in earnings in the 5 to 6 years after attendance relative to their own earnings in the years before attendance. These negative average effects are largely generated by the high proportion of students do not complete their program of study. Although we cannot control for the endogeneity of degree completion, we find that graduates fare better, experiencing positive earnings effects.”]
Yes—after spending an outrageous amount of money to get a degree from a shitty for-profit college, graduates(*) are rewarded by earning less money than they did before they went to the shitty school in the first place. And even when factoring in the fact that those who earn Masters degrees do better, the entire industry is still a loss for students: “In absolute terms, we find no evidence of improved earnings post-enrollment for students in any of the top ten for-profit fields and we can rule out that average effects are driven by a few low-performing institutions.”
Here we have a great example of an industry that is a leech.