NC’s For-Profit Colleges Burden Rather than Boost Students, Says CRL report
High costs, low graduation rates, and complaints trigger CRL analysis
As higher education costs continue to rise, new research by the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) analyzes the debts and outcomes resulting from a wide-ranging choice of institutions – both public and private nonprofits and for-profit colleges located in North Carolina. NC Student Loan Calculus found that choices in higher education can either be a boost or a burden to students and their families.
“When borrowers who attend public and private colleges leave school,” states the report, “they can afford to repay their loans. By contrast, North Carolina’s for-profit post-secondary institutions are more expensive and borrowers are less likely to be able to repay their loans when they leave. … [T]he question is not merely one of dealing with outstanding debt, but rather whether the underlying degree is a product that is one of value.”
Data for the most recent year available shows that North Carolina’s 79 for-profit, 2-year and 4-year institutions enrolled 21,579 students. Students at the 2-year, for-profit institutions graduated with 170 percent – $16,533 – of the debt load of comparable 2-year public colleges at $9,728.
Less than half of the state’s for-profit student borrowers – 42 percent – are able to make their college loan repayment, the percentage of borrowers who are able to pay even one dollar towards the principal of their loan after three years. By comparison, 70 percent of student borrowers from the state’s private colleges and 62 percent of public college borrowers are able to make their loan repayments.
The state’s for-profit colleges are also disproportionately African-American. At 51 percent of enrollment, it is a level almost two times greater than those at the state’s public and private institutions. This high minority enrollment is in spite of the fact that North Carolina is home to 10 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The public HBCUs also have average completion rates that are nearly triple the graduation rates of students enrolled in 4-year, for-profit colleges.
“This report seems to be telling us that students of color are being targeted by these for-profit colleges that have a history of low graduations, high debt, and leave students with few if any marketable skills,” said Mrs. Andrea Harris, Founder and Senior Fellow at the North Carolina Institute of Minority Economic
Development, also known as the ‘Institute’. “At the same time, North Carolina’s HBCUs upwards of a $2 billion impact on our state in addition to their long and proud record of producing not just graduates but contributing members of society that give back.”
“Somewhere an educational disconnect has occurred and it must be stopped,” continued Ms. Harris. “We are hurting too many people who are part of a population that suffered the most from the recent recession. Abuses of their youth should not be allowed.”