The debate raging around for-profit colleges has tended to focus on whether or not the government should keep on providing Pell Grants to students who attend them. Critics have argued that University of Phoenix and other proprietary schools have weak graduation rates that don’t justify the continued investment of public funds. But a new study argues that from the taxpayer’s standpoint, for-profit and private schools actually represent a far better investment than the tax breaks and other funding perks given to state colleges and universities.
The organization the did the study, the Nexus Research and Policy Center, states quite openly that it is funded by U of Phoenix founder John Sperling and that it’s goal is to change the nature of the conversation about for-profit schools. But several respected educators have chimed in to say that the study is of very reasonable quality (Dennis Jones, President of the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems) and and “sound and important” (David Longanecker, President, Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education). Among the study’s findings: Graduates of for-profit colleges can expect to earn $285,000 more over the course of their lifetimes than those without a bachelor’s degree. Read the study on the site of the American Institutes of Research here.