And speak out against the Gainful Employment proposal. Here's Dr. E. Faye Williams, National Chair of the National Congress of Black Women:
Statistics show that for-profit colleges educate 13 percent more women and nearly 50 percent more minorities compared with public colleges. For-profit colleges have also welcomed non-traditional students, such as adults who cannot afford to drop their jobs or commute long distances to attend a community college. Career colleges offer unique flexible course schedules and online classes to meet the needs of adult learners - for instance, 30 percent of students at for-profit colleges are single parents, a much higher percentage than other schools.
Moreover, career colleges produce students who are immediately ready to enter the workforce in high-demand fields such as health care and computer/data processing, which are creating an estimated 1.8 million new jobs through 2016. And for-profit colleges boast a graduation rate nearly 20 percent higher than community colleges.
Critics also complain that career colleges make money from federal financial aid. But career colleges are better stewards of that money compared with their public and not-for-profit counterparts. Taxpayers receive a 9% return on each dollar per community college graduate and 18% per career college graduate. The typical career college student costs $7,000 less per year to educate compared with community college students. Moreover, students at the largest for-profit career institutions have loan-repayment rates virtually identical to those of community college students.
President Obama will have to overcome great obstacles if he wants to achieve his goal of graduating five million additional college students by 2020. However, the Department of Education must realize that for-profit colleges are part of the solution, not part of the problem.