- Why aren’t students considering a wider range of schools? How can they be helped to have a broader view of their options? More needs to be done to help future students understand the value of comparing different schools. Prospective students want and need better opportunities, online and in person, to engage with and evaluate quality indicators and other information about colleges and programs, including information on how different schools are governed and funded. This research also raises questions about whether more needs to be done to level the playing field of higher education marketing. Currently, for-profit institutions dominate the higher education advertisement arena. For prospective students to be exposed to a broader range of information and choices, not-for-profit schools may need to develop smart ways to communicate through advertising.
- Would for-profit undergraduates be equally as satisfied at public institutions where they might earn an equivalent degree but worry less about costs? Or are they better served at for-profit institutions? Adult prospective students who are interested in for-profits are particularly attracted to schools that offer accelerated degree programs, online classes and personal guidance from career counselors, financial aid advisers and tutors. For-profit undergraduates rate their schools highly in these and other quality measures, but they are concerned about the cost of their education— more so than, for example, community college students. Could community colleges and public four-year institutions improve their offerings in these respects, still keep tuition costs low and thus become a viable alternative for for-profit students? Many promising initiatives are attempting to make community colleges more labor-market oriented, efficient and cost-effective. If successful, these programs could mean significant shifts in the higher education market toward public sector institutions.
- How do students’ experiences and prospects vary depending on what type of for-profit they are attending and the kind of credential they are pursuing? And do employers’ views vary across employment sectors? It will be important for future research to examine how the views and experiences of students and other stakeholders vary across different types of for-profits, geographic regions and labor markets, degree programs and other factors. Future analyses should also explore whether the perspectives of employers toward for-profit and other colleges vary depending on employers’ job sectors and the types of positions they hire for. Such research can help foster an increasingly sophisticated discussion abo