What Are For Profit Colleges?

City with text: what are for profit colleges?For-profit colleges are higher education institutions are owned and run by an individual or a private organization. The main aim behind establishing this type of college is to make a profit from it. In these types of colleges, the owner or the shareholders are the ultimate decision makers.

This is completely different from non-profit colleges, that are not owned by any one individual or organization. Non-profit colleges are governed by a board of directors. In these types of institutions, all profits are usually reinvested back into the college. Most colleges in the US are non-profit colleges.

For-profit colleges have gotten a bad rap over the years for their high fees and false promises, but that’s not always the case. There are some for-profit institutions that offer their students an accessible, flexible degree program. The key to getting the most from a for-profit institution lies in doing your due diligence and making informed decisions about your choice of school.

Advantages of For-Profit Colleges

Increased flexibility, higher acceptance rates, and the ability to earn a degree or certificate specific to a trade or skill are some of the biggest advantages of for-profit colleges.

Increased flexibility

Most for-profit colleges offer rolling admissions and a wide range of online offerings. Rolling admissions allow you to enroll in the program of your choice at any time. Online programs allow you to work towards your certificate or degree at your pace from anywhere in the world. This is great for those who want to study while working.      

Higher acceptance rates

The open admissions policy that most for-profit colleges adopt makes it easier for all applicants to get accepted. In most cases, the only requirement is that applicants have a high school diploma or GED certification. This provides a solution for students struggling to gain admission to non-profit colleges with more competitive admissions criteria.

Drawbacks of For-Profit Colleges

We said it before – for-profit colleges are neither all-good, nor are they all-bad. Along with the benefits, there are a number of drawbacks to choosing this path.

Higher cost

This can be a significant factor. The higher cost of attending for-profit colleges has been a subject of debate—and government regulation—for several years. Some studies show that on average, for-profit schools charge almost double the tuition rates of non-profit schools. This may not be the best fit for you if you are looking for an affordable education option.


This is an area that requires careful consideration. The reputation of the college you choose can impact your employment and earning potential. It can also affect your advancement opportunities. Unfortunately, for-profit graduates tend to have higher unemployment rates than their non-profit peers. However, this varies from one industry to another. The best way to navigate this minefield is to read online reviews of prospective colleges. It also helps to get advice from other professionals in the field.

Is a For-Profit College The Right Choice for You?

Considering a for-profit college but are hesitant because of the bad reputation they’ve gotten? Don’t rule out this option completely. While it’s good to keep what you hear in mind, it’s best to verify through your own independent research.

A for-profit college might be the right choice for you if any or all of these situations are applicable:

Lower Grades / Test Scores

Many non-profit schools are highly competitive. Getting accepted with low grades or test scores can be exceedingly difficult. This is where for-profit colleges offer a distinct advantage. With their open admissions policy, you will find it easier to get admission regardless of your grades and test scores.

You’re looking for a flexible study option

Most non-profit schools do not offer flexible study options. If you need to schedule your school hours around your personal commitments, this may not be an option for you. For-profit colleges on the other hand often offer online programs that allow you to study at your convenience. This helps you earn your certification while still attending to your other obligations.

Do Your Research Before Choosing a For-Profit College

When shortlisting for-profit colleges, the first thing you want to make sure is that they offer the exact program you are looking for. Next, compare the total cost to earn your degree. The last, but certainly not least criterion, is the college’s reputation. Read online reviews. Speak to other professionals in the field. Unfortunately, there are for-profit colleges out there that are essentially scams. Do your research. Thoroughly.

Spending some time on your research will ensure that you find a reputable for-profit college that offers a valuable academic experience.

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