Retaining students at for-profit institutions often has a different meaning than retention at not-for-profit colleges and universities.
Accountability meetings are not about ensuring students are succeeding; the meetings are about ensuring the admissions department meets their budgeted numbers and that the academic affairs department is retaining students. The question has to be what methods are being used to retain students. If the methods violate academic integrity then are we really serving the students, the academy, or the public who funds these institutions?
Many schools invest heavily in student remediation, student success, and quality faculty. This does not always seem to be the method for-profit institutions choose to follow. Marketing is the lion’s share of the for-profit’s budgets along with settling the large number of lawsuits they seem to incur from dissatisfied customers; students who are left unemployable and unable to repay the government because of the debt they have incurred.
Many of the students that enroll in for-profit schools are those that would not be accepted into a traditional college or university. Would these students be better served by a community college? What do you think? Read Senator Harkin’s report just released on the subject.