For-profit education is better than we thought

From today’s Inside Higher Ed, there is now a revised version (pdf) of the Kevin Lang and Russell Weinstein paper which was very critical of the returns from for-profit education.  The new results are more like this:

The two economists, who were not available for comment, apparently tweaked their methodology and came to a different conclusion about the relative value of credentials earned at for-profits.

“We find no statistically significant differential return to certificates or associates degrees between for-profits and not-for-profits,” they wrote in the paper, which was released last month.

Certificate holders from for-profits tended to fare slightly worse in the job market, according to the study, while associate degrees from for-profits were worth slightly more than those from nonprofit institutions. Hence no clear winner emerged.

The revised paper still included some worrisome findings about for-profits. Those colleges are typically more expensive than their nonprofit counterparts, particularly community colleges. For-profits charged an average of $6,300 more in annual tuition for certificate programs, according to the study’s sample, and $6,900 more per year for associate degrees.

“The return on investment is undoubtedly lower at for-profits,” the paper said.

At least this time around, the real world falls in line (somewhat) with the theory.


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