State University of New York Institute of Technology
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Ethics of For-Profit Colleges

According to Ethics Newsline contributor Cathy Bartch, there is an on-going ethical controversy over for-profit colleges. For-profit colleges fail to inform students of the huge debts they will incur, low graduation and retention rates they may fall into, and the struggle for stable employment after graduation. Critics are claiming this behavior as unethical. The Huffington Post reported that students from for-profit schools are more likely to borrow and drop out than at non-profit school. According to the New York Times, the majority of enrolled students at for-profit colleges leave without a degree. Also according to the New York Times, most of the for-profit schools' money was spent on recruiting and marketing, profit, and CEO salaries whereas less than 18 percent was spent on instruction. According to the Huffington Post, the Senate report found that the federal government has failed to protect students (as well as $32 billion in taxpayer dollars) from for-profit colleges that sell poor quality education for high prices. The behavior of for-profit colleges is clearly unethical and needs to be prevented. The reaction of the for-profit colleges and theirrepresenting trade association is that existing practices are fair in a global capitalist market and it is unnecessary to warn students of the financial risks of enrolling in one of these institutions. The federal government, state governments, and nonprofits have made attempts to regulate for-profit colleges more carefully. Many state legislatures have proposed and passed laws increasing government regulation on these institutions. The Obama administration and the U.S. Department of Education are currently fighting a legal battle to force more disclosure by for-profit colleges.

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