For-Profit vs. Public College: The Pros and Cons


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For-Profit vs. Public College: The Pros and Cons

What’s the difference?

● A “for profit” college is privately funded
○ Number one goal is the requirement of providing financial returns to investors
○ Investors and stakeholders are often in it to make money
○ Average of $8 per student spent on research
○ Tuition is more expensive ($31k/year after grants)

● A public college is largely funded by the state
○ Number one goal is serving student needs
○ Independently operated: able to focus on quality education
○ Average of $5,887 per student spent on research
○ Tuition is less expensive ($27k/year)
● Highest Graduation Rates:

For-Profit Schools

○ Empire College School of Business – 86.8%
○ WyoTech – 85.7%
○ Full Sail University – 85.4%
○ Concorde Career College – 82.9%

Public Schools

○ University of Virginia – 92.7%
○ University of CA at Berkeley – 91.1%
○ University of Michigan at Ann Arbor – 89.7%
○ University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – 88.1%

5 For-Profit Pros

● Scheduling Flexibility
○ More night, weekend and online courses available
● Diverse student population
○ Most students are adults who are returning to school
● Simple Admission Process
○ The goal is to get as many students as possible, so admission is easy
● Minimal Prerequisites
○ For-profit schools don’t focus on prerequisites the same way public schools do
● Speedy Graduation
○ Shorter semesters + no summer break = graduating much faster

5 For-Profit Cons

● Mostly online
○ Limited interaction with a professor and other students
● Shaky Reputation
○ Degrees from for-profit schools are not always accepted by employers and in certain fields
● Cost of Tuition
○ These schools tend to be much more expensive and don’t offer financial aid
● Student Support
○ Amenities of public schools are not available (housing, mental/medical health services, dining, tutoring, social programs)
● Focused on making a profit
○ For-Profit schools are exactly that. The focus is money over student instead of student over money

5 Public Pros

● Affordability
○ State funding makes initial cost cheaper and there is usually financial aid available
● Exciting Environment
○ Public schools are wide awake at all hours with plenty of diverse social programs
● On-Campus Employment
○ Many students can find work at school bookstores and restaurants while they’re in school
● Experienced Professors
○ Public universities tend to draw distinguished educators who are experts in their field
● Challenging Courses
○ Professors often raise the bar by going beyond standard education

5 Public Cons

● Getting into classes
○ A large student population means classes fill up quickly and you may not get what you want
● Getting information
○ Correcting issues with your transcript, parking badge, dining card, etc., may be difficult due to the staff to student ratio
● Connecting with professors
○ Professors will have hundreds of students. Access to them may be limited and difficult
● Getting lost in the shuffle
○ Students who are introverts often feel isolated and unnoticed in the crowd
● Less focused environment
○ Many public school students are straight out of high school; not yet ready to take higher education seriously

public vs private college