When considering your options for higher education, you’ll come across three broad categories of post-secondary education options: Public Schools, Private Non-Profit Schools, and For-Profit Schools. If you are unclear about a school’s designation, you can find this information and more on the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard website: www.collegescorecard.ed.gov
Public colleges and universities are usually the most affordable higher education options, especially when compared to for-profit schools. In recent years, many for-profit schools have been accused of overcharging students for low-quality educational services and engaging in deceptive and aggressive recruitment practices.
Often students who attend for-profit schools:
- pay more for their education,
- drop out without completing their program,
- can’t find an in-field job after graduation,
- struggle to pay their student loan debt, or
- can’t transfer academic credits to reputable schools.
For-profit schools have increasingly become the subject of state and federal law enforcement actions regarding false or misleading job placement claims. In addition, several large for-profit chains in Massachusetts, such as Corinthian, ITT Tech, and American Career Institute abruptly closed their campuses leaving students unable to complete their studies.
Before enrolling in a for-profit school, please consider exploring public colleges and universities, including community college programs. For more information about Massachusetts state colleges and universities, please visit www.mass.edu.
Massachusetts Regulations Requiring Certain Disclosures and Prohibiting High-Pressure Sales Tactics
In 2014, the Attorney General’s Office created new regulations (940 CMR 31.00) that govern for-profit schools in Massachusetts. These regulations require for-profit schools offering Massachusetts programs to provide certain disclosures to prospective students 72 hours in advance of enrollment, including the cost of a program, the program’s graduation rate, and the percentage of students who are not paying their loans. Many for-profit schools are also required to list the percentage of students who obtained full-time permanent employment within their field of study. In addition to giving out the disclosures directly to prospective students, for-profit schools are required to post them on their websites.
The regulations also prohibit for-profit schools from contacting prospective students, either by phone or via text messaging, in excess of two times in each seven-day period. You can read the full text of the regulations here.
If you have trouble locating the required disclosures on the website of a Massachusetts for-profit school, or if you are subjected to excessive recruitment calls, please file a complaint or call our office at 1-888-830-6277 ext. 2.