Choose wisely when selecting a degree program

July 14, 2010

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Online for-profit (proprietary) colleges and universities are coming under fire from quite a few directions. The U.S. Government Accountability Office, for one, may soon begin an investigation at the call of lawmakers on the hill. Even Saturday Night Live is getting in on the blanketing perception that online universities are fake institutions that pump out diplomas – or at least PDFs of them.

All joking aside, for-profit institutions are in their fair share of hot water. Recent press reports are raising lots of questions about the validity of proprietary institutions, namely that more than a quarter of all Title IV loans – Unsubsidized Federal Stafford loans, Federal Pell Grants, Federal Perkins Loans, Federal Supplement Education Opportunity Grants and Federal PLUS loans act as revenue for proprietary institutes, accounting for some $26.5 billion dollars. Also worth noting: the number of for-profit students has increased by 500 percent since 2000.

About 10 percent of college students attend for-profit schools. The concern from all this comes with the default rates of for-profit students; they constitute 44 percent of all students who default on their student loans. (It’s estimated that, by 2020, the government will lose $275 billion on Title IV loans.)

But consider this statistic: UW-Platteville, as a public institution encompassing both online and traditional students, has a student loan default rate of 0.63 percent. That can mean a few different things, all of them good for you.

Our students don’t have trouble repaying their loans because

  • UW-Platteville students are well-prepared to enter the workforce when they graduate
  • UW-Platteville students are a cut above the rest because they have to be; our programs are rigorous and carry the same weight as our on-campus degrees
  • UW-Platteville students are backed by the brick-and-mortar campus in Southwest Wisconsin and are supported by personal advisors and student service representatives

By choosing a quality online program, you will be better-prepared than most of your for-profit attending peers. You will soon have a degree that you can be proud of…and you won’t have to fake a heart attack when someone asks the name of your alma mater in an interview.

If you want to learn more about the industry that is proprietary institutions, check out of few of these other, independent blogs.

For-Profit Education Gains from the Pain of Customers and Sales Staff
– DailyFinance: an AOL money and finance site

Facing Cuts in Federal Aid, For-Profit Colleges Are in a Fight
– The New York Times

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