Mississippi’s for-profit colleges are largely drawing low income students, students of color and women, putting these residents at risk of incurring more debt compared to their peers at nonprofit schools, according to a new report.
The nonprofit Center for Responsible Lending released “The State of For-Profit Colleges” earlier this month, a report that compares undergraduate enrollment, demographics, and indebtedness at for-profit schools and at state not-for-profit public and private schools. The report found that of the 3,742 students enrolled in for-profit schools in Mississippi, nearly 78 percent are low-income. In the state’s nonprofit undergraduate institutions, 51 percent of students are low-income. For-profit schools also enroll higher percentages of African American and female students, at nearly 66 percent and 78 percent respectively, compared to 38 percent and 60 percent at nonprofit institutions.
The authors of the report say these percentages are concerning because students are often unable to graduate and get jobs in their field if they attend a “poor quality and high cost” for-profit school. Nearly 92 percent of students at for-profit four-year schools take out student loans, compared to 70 percent at private four-year schools and about 64 percent at public four-year schools. Graduates at for-profit schools have a median debt of more than $34,800, compared to $23, 638 for public four-year schools. The report also explains that national studies show for-profit graduates are “less likely to get a well-paying job in their field, compared to nonprofit college grads.”
Nationwide, enrollment at for-profit institution has dropped in recent years and many schools have closed and declared bankruptcy. Officials in several states have filed lawsuits against for-profit schools for leaving students in debt and exaggerating job-placement rates.