For-profit college:The slippery slope and student loan debt


As much as the general public wants to blame for-profit universities for false promises, the people who apply to these schools should shoulder some of the blame. People should look into the school that they apply to before they are crushed by student loans. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is suing local for-profit university Westwood College for providing false hope and rising student loans to students in the criminal justice program. When these students graduate, they are hit with the harsh reality: Their degree is from a university that is not accredited.

Accreditation is the act of granting credit or recognition to educational institutions that maintains suitable standards.

I have heard the stories of people who went to for-profits schools only to be crushed by student loan debt. It is sad.

However, it is hard to sympathize with someone who did not find a job because they later found out that the school they went to was not accredited. As someone who will soon have a Master’s degree from a for-profit university, before I signed up I checked to see if the school was accredited and looked to see if I could handle the course load.

The elephant in the room about for-profit universities that no one like to talk about is some of the people who apply to the school get overwhelmed by the coursework. These people usually drop out owing money to a school they obviously had no business being in the first place.


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  • To me, this is just another sign of the paternalism that I'm currently posting about. These kids are old enough to make decisions for themselves, but it seems that when it comes to college stuff, we treat them like babies. They can't decide which classes to take, but must spend at least a year taking pre-requisite material that they will probably never use, and certainly don't want to continue studying. And now we're saying that it's somebody else's fault that they have just found out their college isn't accredited? Come on.

  • In reply to Expat in Chicago:

    Thanks for reading! Exactly! People need to do some research before they take such a leap.

  • Well, here's another elephant...Why does the federal government partner with a school that is not accredited? Without it's federal student loans largesse, would it even be able to stay in business? This is their federal school code number: 030792.

  • Thanks for reading. That is a good question that you pose. It seems like they are in on the fix as well.

  • As a former employee of two for-profit colleges, I know the tricks of the trade that are used on unsuspecting students.We held meetings and training classes telling us HOW TO DUPE people.We were threatened DAILY if we didn't "make our numbers."Many, many subversive & unethical tactics are used to get the students signed up for loans. "Get the signatures on loan papers at all costs" was the mantra of management. And if all else failed, FRAUD was often employed to get and keep Federal money rolling in. We were taught ways to do this, also. The upper management at HQ and CEOs were so brazen and so arrogant that they really didn't care HOW or WHAT, just get the money in there. And apparently they were correct because after over a year of reporting fraudulent practices to the DOE with NO ACTION, I quit in disgust. I now advocate for these students.

    A whole lot is dependent on the types of people they target too. Someone down on their luck or unfocused in life or simply looking to better their lot in the world were always easy targets to sell the dream to. Once the students sign on the dotted line and sit in class, they're on the hook and it's difficult to get out.Mainly because the credits do not transfer and they're already deeply in debt when they realize the scam. Do you remember how naive you were at 18 or 19 years old? So, I cannot agree that these people should be held responsible when trickery, fraud, and unethical practices were used against them.

    BTW, the last for-profit I worked for cost $57,800 for a substandard (defined by recent report by the GAO, not me) ASSOCIATE DEGREE. BS degree was $90,900.

  • In reply to thetruthferret:

    Can you email me at I am working on a story about the attorney general's case against westwood.

  • Lisa Madigan should look into having the Feds come in and apply RICO standards for the not-for-profit universities. If ever there was a racket, it is the accepting of students with now government loans to attend universities with huge endowments.

    The tuition rates keep going up -- University of IL, 4.8%-- and the quality keeps going down. How do these not-for-profits justify these ever increasing expenses when many could actually underwrite the cost of tuition for many students to some degree and have a bundle left over to pay unqualified professors and administrators?

    It is a national disgrace and a scheme worthy and surpassing the mob. But.... Big School is a big donator and supporter of the Asses who run Illinois and the Chief One in the White House. I don't expect Eric Holder to be all over this.

    Universities, whether for-profit or not, need to teach students to LEARN. Then they can begin their education. A degree is the starting point, not the endpoint.

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    I agree Richard and thanks again for reading.

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