Recognizing the benefits of for-profit institutions

One surefire way to get people talking (and potentially worked up) is to bring up the topic of for-profit education. Much-maligned, for-profit institutions are becoming more and more a part of the norm, and it’s time that we embrace these institutions for what they can offer, while still being vigilant about any unethical practices. For-profits can offer a lot to many people, and should not be summarily dismissed.

Carrie Sheffield has a great opinion piece in Forbes this week about all that for-profit institutions have to offer, and it’s worth a read. My institutions happens to be owned by a larger for-profit, so I understand very well the workings of this kind of organization; I also understand that for-profits are far from perfect. I have a background in traditional libraries at non-profit colleges and will always be a proponent of that system.

That being said, we shouldn’t just ignore for-profits and penalize this industry as a whole. To be certain, there are many for-profits who have gone beyond being unethical; in the last few weeks, we’ve seen what has happened to one particularly large organization that only cared about its own profits and ignored the fair treatment of its students. But that does not each for-profit operates in that manner. Using that logic, we could punish all traditional institutions based on the actions of the administration at Penn State.

My institutions serves many students who had difficulty finding a good education elsewhere; and so many of our graduates now have well-paying and satisfying careers. This does not mean that for-profits should replace non-profits. In fact, these two sectors could potentially help each other down the road, as long as there can be a mutual respect and understanding for one another.

Here is the Sheffield article:

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