States where for-profit colleges have the lowest student completion rates

Jan. 29, 2019
Federal statistics show that for-profit schools tend to have completion rates for students that are significantly lower than public colleges.

Students attending for-profit college continue to be less likely to graduate than their counterparts at public institutions, the Center for Responsible Lending says.

The center has analyzed government data that show students from for-profit higher education institutions carry more debt regardless of whether they graduate, and they default on that debt at higher rates.

“For-profit colleges typically cost much more than comparable programs at public institutions,” says Robin Howarth, a senior researcher at the center. "And yet, they rarely help students find the career opportunities they promote or to achieve the economic security that many of us believe should be the outcome of hard work and the pursuit of an education.

“These students, who tend to be older than the average college student and may be holding down jobs and raising children, often end up in heavy debt and discouraged about their prospects, with no degree or one of little value even after years of perseverance.”

The center's analysis uses data from the Fall 2018 release of College Scorecard by the U.S. Department of Education.

Some states do not have for-profit colleges, so the comparison between public and for-profit schools cannot be made in every state. But among most states with for-profit colleges, the completion gap between for-profit and public institutions was significant. The statistics show that North Carolina had the lowest student completion rate—16.3 percent. In comparison, students at public higher education institutions in North Carolina had a 56.4 percent completion rate.

Here are the 10 states whose for-profit colleges had the lowest completion rates.

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy, senior editor, has written for AS&U on a wide range of educational issues since 1999.

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