Frontline: College, Inc.

This piqued my interest because well… I work for public higher education running an online class system. There are twin subtle pressures to both compete and remain aloof depending on people’s assumptions about money and quality. I personally just hope we do whatever is necessary to provide the highest quality service for students.

This was an interesting comment in a Chronicle of Higher Education jobs forum about this episode. Lots of people dislike traditional colleges, especially those which teach job skills. Colleges of Education often teach future K-12 and technical school educators the occupational skills necessary for becoming successful.

I have no problem with a program of this nature. I just wish they would also focus on cash cow programs within traditional universities. I don’t see a huge difference between colleges of education and the Phoenixes and Trade Schools. You know the difference between State University X and an online or for profit school? No beer drinking frat-boy imbeciles pissing away their parents money supporting what is essentially an academic front for a football team. I suppose you can feel morally superior in some way to these programs if you’re able to ignore the gigantic mascots that adorn every facet of your institution, symbolizing an assemblage of nearly illiterate students that represent the public face or your institution by stuffing a ball into a hoop or kicking it.

The Frontline press release (bold added by me):

FRONTLINE INVESTIGATES THE RISE OF FOR-PROFIT UNIVERSITIES AND THE TENSIONS BETWEEN THEIR WALL STREET BACKERS AND REGULATORS

FRONTLINE Presents
College, Inc.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010, at 9 P.M. ET on PBS

www.pbs.org/frontline/collegeinc

www.facebook.com/frontlinepbs

Twitter: @frontlinepbs

Even in lean times, the $400 billion business of higher education is booming. Nowhere is this more true than in one of the fastest-growing—and most controversial—sectors of the industry: for-profit colleges and universities that cater to non-traditional students, often confer degrees over the Internet, and, along the way, successfully capture billions of federal financial aid dollars.

In College, Inc., airing Tuesday, May 4, 2010, at 9 P.M. ET on PBS (check local listings), FRONTLINE correspondent Martin Smith investigates the promise and explosive growth of the for-profit higher education industry. Through interviews with school executives, government officials, admissions counselors, former students and industry observers, this film explores the tension between the industry—which says it’s helping an underserved student population obtain a quality education and marketable job skills—and critics who charge the for-profits with churning out worthless degrees that leave students with a mountain of debt.

At the center of it all stands a vulnerable population of potential students, often working adults eager for a university degree to move up the career ladder. FRONTLINE talks to a former staffer at a California-based for-profit university who says she was under pressure to sign up growing numbers of new students. “I didn’t realize just how many students we were expected to recruit,” says the former enrollment counselor. “They used to tell us, you know, ‘Dig deep. Get to their pain. Get to what’s bothering them. So, that way, you can convince them that a college degree is going to solve all their problems.’”

Graduates of another for-profit school—a college nursing program