Fifty-four percent of students who enrolled in the 2008-2009 school year withdrew by summer 2010. Over the past three years, almost 2 million students have withdrawn from for-profit colleges. None of these students gained a degree or certificate, but almost every one of them left with debt that is not dischargeable in bankruptcy, and which could bar them from getting future student loans.
With huge marketing costs, executive salaries and administrative overhead, the amount spent on educating students is stunningly low. The average for-profit school spent $2,730 on instruction for each full-time student in 2009. Not-for-profit institutions spent more than 2.5 as much on instruction and public institutions spent nearly twice as much.
The H.E.L.P. investigation has also uncovered instances of spotty or non-existent career placement services. Despite advertising their career-focused programs that will lead to good jobs, out of 30 for-profit schools that the Committee asked for information, three do not have any career placement services – including the largest operator Apollo. Another four schools have three or fewer career services employees to handle tens of thousands of students.
Bridgepoint Education, Inc., for example, employs just one person charged with job placement for more than 78,000 students. Of course, this lean staffing does not apply to the sales side: Bridgepoint employs 1,703 recruitment sales staff, with plans to add hundreds more this year.
Internal For-Profit School Documents collected by HELP Committee