For-profit colleges find new market niche

The for-profit online institution Kaplan University has an offer for California community college students who cannot get a seat in a class they need, reports the New York Times: Under a memorandum of understanding with the chancellor of the community college system, they can take the online version at Kaplan, with a 42-percent tuition discount. The opportunity would not come cheap, however; Kaplan charges $216 a credit with the discount, compared with $26 a credit at California’s community colleges. Supporters of for-profit education say the offer underscores how Kaplan and other profit-making colleges can help accommodate the mushrooming demand for higher education. At the same time, government officials have become increasingly concerned that students at for-profit colleges are far more likely than those at public institutions to take out large loans—and default on them. For better or worse, the tough times for public colleges nationwide have presented for-profit colleges with a promising marketing opportunity. “We thought, in light of the budget crisis and the number of community college classes which are being canceled, if we have that same class here, we would give students the opportunity to take it at Kaplan,” said Greg F. Marino, president of Kaplan University Group, a profit-making business owned by the Washington Post Company…

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