Study: For-Profit Colleges are Costly for African American Students


In recent years, a growing number of low-income and minority students have enrolled in for-profit colleges.

A new study from researchers at Johns Hopkins University and State University of New York at Buffalo highlights just how harmful that decision can be for students of color.

Researchers who followed 150 low-income black students from Baltimore discovered that those who attended for-profit colleges ended up with more debt and with fewer job prospects than their peers who attended nonprofit institutions.

By the time the study had ended, only 31 percent of students in the study had received a certification. And those students who had attended for-profit schools had higher loan default rates than their peers at community colleges.

Ironically, students who chose for-profit colleges said they were attracted by claims that they would be able to complete their coursework and enter the workforce in a relatively short amount of time.

“The quick jump into for-profit schools precludes other options that might be less costly and have a bigger return,” researcher Stefanie DeLuca told Inside Higher Ed. “These young people are vulnerable to the flashy ads for these schools and lured in by [the perception of] how quickly they could get jobs.”

Learn more about the study and share NACAC’s What to Know Before You Enroll brochure with students.

Admitted writer/editor Mary Stegmeir welcomes additional comments and story ideas at

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