The National Consumer Law Center’s 2006 publication "Student Loans" (see also the 2009 Supplement) pointed out that for-profit schools signed up many, graduated few, but left most all (graduated or not) saddled with substantial student debt which experienced much higher default rates than student loans originated by students attending non-profit public and non-profit private colleges and universities.
Consequently, it was no suprise to me when the NY Times reported on Wednesday, November 24, 2010, that the Education Trust (a non-profit research and advocacy group) which is a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funded organization, released a report entitled "Subrime Opportunity" which charges that such for-profit schools like the University of Phoenix deliver "little more than crippling debt" citing federal data taht suggests only 9 percent of the first-time, full time bachelor’s degree students at the Univeristy of Phoenix, the nation’s largest for-profit college, graduate within six years.
I quote from Tamar Lewin’s 11/24/2010, NY Times Article (page A18) "Report Finds Low Graduation RAtes at For-Profit Colleges": "…only 22 percent of the first-time, full-time bachelor’s degree students at for-profit collees over all graduate within six years, compared with 55 percent at public institutions and 65 percent at private non-profit colleges. Among Phoenix’s online students, only 5 percent graduated within six years, and at the campuses i Cleaveland and Wichita, Kansas, only 4 percent graduated within six years.…for-profit students graduate with so much more debt than community college students. Many either default on their loans, or struggle to make payments but find that their lives are taken over by debt. In a separate study also released Tuesday [11/23/10], the Pew Research Center reported that almost one-quarter of those who received bachelor’s degrees at for-profit schools in 2008 borrowed more than $40,000, comapred with 5 percent at public institutions and 14 percent at not-for-profit state colleges."
Interesting, Mr. Lewin points out that (as perhaps a sign of subtle protest) Melinda Gates resigned from the board of the Washington Post Company, which gets most of its revenues from its for-profit higher-education unit, Kaplan, Inc. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/24/education/24colleges.html?