Increasing Access to Quality Education

So after reading the comments from a post on Change.org about the issues in For Profit Education I been thinking of ways these schools can impact the system.  Some of the comments focused on the issue of the For Profit schools not telling the truth to their prospective students.  Some of the commentators were concerned with the high debt ratio and a couple were concerned about the quality of education.  So I went ahead an looked up a couple of the mission statements for these for profit schools.  Surprisingly enough many of the schools did mention “quality” education as a core value.  However, most schools also focused on accessibility and flexibility for the working adult.

It seems like the issue for some of these For Profit schools is measuring Quality; everyone has a different standard.  It makes it difficult to compare apples to apples. These learning institutions are full filling part of their mission to access a broad range of people needing education.  They have lofty marketing budgets and television advertisements which allows them to reach a wide audience.  This is important especially in places where local colleges are few and far between.  I mean this in the most literal sense.  I would gather that there is a higher concentration of colleges in the north east verses the mid-west.

For Profit schools do have a demographic, a viable pool of prospective students that really are limited in their access to quality education.  A single mom living in Philadelphia, PA has access to 10+ schools in a 15 mile radius than a similar single mom living in Bismark, ND.  With that point illustrated I’d like to focus on how investors could still profit from reaching these “remote” citizens seeking and education.

I’m thinking testing the use of new technologies.  Testing out new ways to learn.  I think Kaplan University was on to something there.  Private and State Schools don’t have the means to test out these new innovations they are still working out the kinks of their distance learning programs.  In the mean time some of these schools offer full degrees online.

What if the traditional schools were able to incorporate some of these technologies into their programs; with out the hassle of testing?  Online books are a new push, what if the platform for electronic books was developed by these for profit schools.  Then implemented on other fronts of the education system.  What if every child in America at some point in their elementary education read the same exact electronic book?  What would that be like…I think it do more than just change the face of learning.  (That idea is another post).

I’m struggling to remember, but there are some book publisher trying to focus on keeping books up to date in regards to real time research.  What would a biology class look like if your discussing the most recent studies in genetics?  If your going to use tax payer funds can I get a return on my investment?

What do you think? Could for profit schools focus on innovation as a means to create profit instead of high tuition fees and “swindling” of tax payer funds?

Some Mission Statements: University of Phoenix, Kaplan University, Westwood College, Agrosy University

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One thought on “Increasing Access to Quality Education

  1. ranavain says:

    I think that they might well could (to answer your question about focusing on innovation instead of swindling), but I worry about these institutions. When you have a profit motive, there’s always the concern that you’re “supposed” to do what’s best for the bottom line in the short term, even if innovation would increase revenues in the long term.

    I do, however, think there are some interesting implications for accreditation. Maybe these schools should have accreditation that are different, to reflect different priorities? Or maybe not. Who knows? 🙂

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