The Benefits And Drawbacks Of Private For-Profit Schools
by TheCommuter 16,945 Views | 48 Comments Senior Moderator
Prospective students are often faced with the decision of which school to attend. Many of these students are considering attending private for-profit institutions of higher learning. The purpose of this article is to explore the benefits and drawbacks of private for-profit schools.
- 13 Published Jun 13, '12
An increasing number of prospective students are becoming rather fed up with the long waiting lists, lottery-style admissions practices, tedious prerequisite courses, difficult entrance exams, and other aspects that frequently characterize the competitive process of getting admitted into the nursing programs at their local community colleges, state universities, and private not-for-profit universities.
Do any faster alternatives exist in the realm of higher education in the United States? Does any other type of institution exist that can possibly save a student some precious time while adding a degree of much needed convenience in his/her already harried life? This is where the private for-profit trade schools come into the picture.
Some of you have probably viewed the tantalizing commercials that advertise these private for-profit trade schools while watching daytime television. Start training to become a registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, massage therapist, respiratory therapy technician, medical assistant, dental assistant, X-Ray technician, or dialysis technician. A rewarding healthcare career can be yours in as little as one year!
Private for-profit institutions do serve a well-defined purpose in higher education in the United States. Some benefits certainly proliferate for the numerous pupils who choose to attend these types of schools. However, the for-profit trade schools are also full of drawbacks. I will readily list the benefits and drawbacks below.
Benefits for those who attend private for-profit trade schools:
• Waiting lists are typically nonexistent: Most of these schools offer almost immediate admission without having to languish on a waiting list.
• Lottery-style admissions are unheard of: I'll reiterate that most of these schools enable students to be admitted with minimal red tape.
• Some trade schools do not mandate that prerequisite courses be taken and passed prior to admission: Instead, the classes become 'corequisite' courses that pupils take alongside their nursing courses.
• In many cases, the entrance exam requirements are lenient: I personally know of a school that allows prospective students to take the NET test monthly (for a fee) until they pass.
• The school's 'campus' is usually small and easy to navigate: While most community colleges and universities are located on large campuses with multiple buildings, many private for-profit trade schools are set up in office parks, strip malls, or other convenient spaces.
Drawbacks for those who attend private for-profit trade schools:
• Tuition is prohibitively expensive: Frequently, the tuition for many healthcare programs exceeds the graduate's projected first-year earnings. A generic BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) program flourishes at one of these schools with tuition of $132,000.
• Lack of regional accreditation: The overwhelming majority of private for-profit trade schools are not regionally accredited, which negatively affects transferability of credits earned. Most of these schools are nationally accredited by entities that only accredit other for-profit institutions.
• Lack of nursing accreditation: Many private for-profit trade schools are not accredited by the NLNAC (National League For Nursing) or the CCNE (Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education).
• Employment opportunities are limited: The Veteran's Administration, Department of Defense, and other federal employers shy away from hiring RNs whose nursing programs lacked nursing accreditation.
• An unspoken bias is present: Some hiring managers admit, on the condition of anonymity, that they will toss a resume into file number thirteen (a.k.a. the wastebasket) if a private for-profit trade school is listed.
As you can see, the decision to attend a private for-profit trade school is permeated with a whole slew of benefits and drawbacks. However, each benefit and drawback should be pondered carefully, and no snap decisions should be made. After all, one's choice to go to a for-profit trade school can have implications that will last throughout the remainder of one's natural life.Last edit by Joe V on Jun 13, '12
TheCommuter is a moderator of allnurses.com and has varied school and workplace experiences upon which to draw for her articles. She was an LPN/LVN for for years prior to earning RN licensure.
TheCommuter joined Feb '05 - from 'Fort Worth, Texas, USA'. Age: 33 TheCommuter has '8' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'acute rehab, long term care, and psych'. Posts: 27,721 Likes: 40,030; Learn more about TheCommuter by visiting their allnursesPage Website
14Jun 14, '12 by SummitRNGreat post commuter! Thought I'd add a bit. The bottom line is that these schools sell a dream to make a buck. That would be find, but often the deal is a fraud and the for-profits are just screwing over their students for a buck.
- The books and uniforms are included in tuition!
- Great Simulation Labs
- Subpar Clinical Sites
- Lower graduation rates
- Questionable NCLEX pass rates
- No Federal Employment
- Lack of Scholarships
- Lack of Reinvestment
Last edit by SummitRN on Jun 14, '120Jun 14, '12 by TT2sevenoften they take less then stellar students and with herculean efforts like remediations and repeat reviews and tons of tutoring get them to move through until they get to where they can't pass a class or the exit Exam. And now they student owes the goverment tons of money ( ours the tax payers) they they can't pay back.4Jun 14, '12 by lovedijahI'm shocked that people pay $132,000 (plus interest) for a BSN. That's insane.
- Deceptive Practices
Yet, some of these schools allow you to start 6 times a year. In the time you spend waiting to get into a public school, you could be a year into a private program. Some people NEED to start working and making money ASAP. I think these private schools open up doors for students, that would have otherwise been closed. Possibly, forever.
Oh you're a working mother and can't attend morning or afternoon clinicals? Come on down to Bob's RN School!
You can't get a 95 on the TEAS? Come on down to University of Nurses where we have no entrance tests!
It costs money to make money, so I can understand that logic for some people. If I need to feed my family tomorrow, Bob's RN School here I come! I'll worry about the rest later.
Also, I have to snicker at these federal jobs and that being a downside. I wouldn't hold my breath if someone with an oxygen tank was standing right next to me, on getting a federal job. It is HARD. My husband is AD Air Force and hoping to get a federal job after his contract is over. I'm already preparing myself to move to who knows where to the next duty station because even with degrees in engineering and a veterans preference.. it's probably not going to happen! It is hard.
Also that fact that credits won't transfer? I have the giggles. Please. After paying 132,000 or 73,000 for a BSN- I doubt most of these people are trying to continue their education with all the money they must be paying to Sallie Mae or Direct Loans each month. It's a sad situation and I think lots of people can't even think of continuing their education with all the loans they took on to get a degree from these money snatchers. It's a mess.0Jun 14, '12 by mmc51264I considered going to one those schools for Medical Assisting. It was going to cost 37K for the 2 year degree. I don't think I would ever make that as a yearly salary. I opted to see if I could get into the local CC ADN program and I am SO grateful that I did not go through with the CMA! I have a BS in Biology and they were only going to take so many credits. I only needed the CMA classes, well they wouldn't make their money that way! They did tell me that they would hire me to teach the program after I graduated b/c I have a Masters in Teaching and you can't get an advanced degree in CMA, so I woudl be qualified.
I am glad I did the ADN. Now I am an RN and have way more possibilities that if I had stuck with the other. I did borrow the max in loans (about 20K) but I know that I will make more than that as a nurse.
I went to a private-for-profit school for my Masters. Big mistake. 60K and now there are teacher cuts everywhere (hence the reason I had to go back to school) I can't say what the technical for profit schools are like, but the one I went to was really nice and they did prepare us well for our careers.9Jun 14, '12 by Nursedenveri graduated from denver school of nursing a for profit school last year. maybe they are the exception to the rule but i would say (and so have many of my peers at the hospital where i work) that i was better prepared in the skills area then most of the new grads from older not for profit universities. i also passed my nclex easily the first time. it is true that dsn has starts four times a year, making it have almost no waitlist and it does have the most up to date sim lab and simulators available. i think this equipment cost the school a ton of money that they decided to invest back in the school for students like me to get the best training available. it also has higher nclex pass rates than most of the established not for profit universities that charge as much if not more per credit than dsn. i hope to hear from my friends soon that are still attending dsn about their pending nlnac accreditation that should be granted soon, but even without it i know they already have graduates in masters programs at several major universities like duke, tulane and cu bethel college of nursing and university of california irvine. my point is this, i’m proud to be a graduate of dsn and i think every student should do their homework before they pick any school based on the integrity, quality and results the school has to offer, not whether they are a non or for profit institution.