Money for non-profit schools in Sacramento comes from taxpayers directly and indirectly from the government to the student. For-profit schools are receiving more finds from the GI Bill than non-profit schools, according to the September 22, 2011 Associated Press article by Justin Pope, For-profit colleges getting more GI Bill dollars. The new Post 9/11 G.I. bill, is supposed to help veterans pay for an education and acquiring job skills. Compare the money to large offerings by the government such as Pell Grants to students at local colleges such as UC Davis and CSUS.
Sacramento veterans are easy targets for for-profit school recruiters. The veterans have benefits. Money is the motive in many cases. And there’s a loophole in the “90-10 rule.” Look up that rule because it requires colleges to receive at least 10 percent of their revenue from non-government sources, and is intended to make them prove their value by attracting private dollars. The G.I. Bill money doesn’t fall under the category of government support under the 90-10 rule. Why? The dollars originate with taxpayers.
Large for-profit chains enroll students across the country and are far bigger than any not-for-profit institutions. Veterans are free to choose to use their benefits at any properly accredited school they choose. Locally, in Sacramento, veterans are being aggressively recruited by institutions that generally have higher costs, default rates and dropout rates. For-profits enrolled roughly 25 percent of veterans using the program but received 37 percent of the GI Bill funds.
Instead the bill enriched large chains of for-profit colleges, according to figures released Thursday by Senate Democrats arguing for tighter regulation of the sector. For Sacramento students at for-profit schools, it means that more students will be asked to take out loans for ten to thirty thousand dollars to pay for job skills they could have learned at community colleges such as American River College in Sacramento/Carmichael or Sacramento City College, Consumnes College, or any of the other local community colleges. Data on the first two years of the program show more veterans — and more of the government dollars that follow them — went to for-profit chains.
Of the $4.4 billion the Department of Veterans Affairs disbursed during the 2010-2011 academic year, $1 billion went to just eight for-profit schools. The top seven recipients were all for-profit institutions. The largest single share went to the University of Phoenix, which collected $210 million through the program, up from $77 million a year ago. G.I. Bill funds for each of the other eight top for-profits also more than doubled from the previous year.
Do new reports show that for-profit schools are receiving more funds from the GI Bill than other institutions? If so, then why are students having such a brutal time finding jobs after graduation? Is it the economy, the schools, or the students?
As President Obama is outlining an education plan where states would be allowed to ask the Education Department to be exempted from some of the NCLB law’s requirements if they meet certain conditions, at the same time the government would be enacting standards to prepare students for college and careers and setting evaluation standards for teachers and principals.
Now, if Sacramento, and the rest of California asks for an exemption because it’s precisely the type of student who goes to a “for-profit” school who has a harder time finding a job after graduation because of the student’s inability to get accepted by a nonprofit school, is that considered discrimination against the low-achieving, low-performing student who otherwise is not able to get into a nonprofit school?
Or would it have more to do with a student of average achievement and average income parents who simply wants to save time by going to a for-profit school because a job skill can be learned quicker than if a student goes to a two-year community college for the same type of job skills?
Would an inclusion or exclusion in NCLB mean that Sacramento schools would have more or less money for students coming out of the military and seeking quick job skills to help support their families and themselves? The state of education for nonprofit schools in Sacramento, Davis, and the rest of Northern California is affected by budget cuts, fewer course offerings, impacted majors in the areas where there are a shortage of trained personnel, for example, nursing and physical therapy, and massive cuts in funding for education at the college level.
A student can pay thousands to learn dental assisting at a for-profit school, for example and then find a job. Or a student can pay thousands of dollars at a for-profit school to learn culinary arts and not find a job other than working in a fast-food eatery, but it’s up to the student to find out how many people do have satisfactory jobs in a field before borrowing money to go to a for-profit school when the same skills can be learned at a community college for far less money.
The problem in Sacramento is that the major at a nonprofit college may be impacted with long waiting lists for the courses that lead to job skills in healthcare or other areas where there are jobs available that don’t require experience beyond an internship.
Let’s take a look at one example of what happens when a student borrows tens of thousands of dollars to learn culinary arts at a for-profit school and then can’t find a job or finds a job in a fast-food eatery at night for low wages, a job that didn’t require any college training.
Why borrow $30,000 or more to pay for a 7-month course in culinary arts specialties at some for-profit culinary schools when you can attend a community college culinary arts certificate program in the Sacramento area at American River College for only $26 per credit at the present time? American River College has among the most respected culinary arts programs in northern California. The program emphasizes business theory and hands on cooking. Classes focus on job skills and professional fine dining cuisine. The program can be completed in 18 months, including a semester working in the kitchen of The Oak Café, the college’s 4-star restaurant.
See the sites, Culinary Arts and Capital Campaign. If you’re interested in culinary arts in order to become a pastry chef or open your own bakery or restaurant, it’s a start where you won’t have to borrow $30,000 or more to pay back some of the for-profit schools that recruit students from among recent high-school graduates.
American River College has a vision-an expanded facility that will more than double its teaching capacity, according to the Capital Campaign website . This vision will ensure the Hospitality Management/Culinary Arts program remains a premier training center, providing hands-on job training for students, and serving as a primary link to the local community.
In addition to more labs for teaching specialty areas, more classrooms for instruction and more storage, the new facility will transform the 500 square-foot Oak Café into a 2000 square foot multi-use venue, a working restaurant with significant revenue potential, a training ground for students, and a community meeting and conference space. Hundreds of students as well as many community groups will benefit from the new Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management Institute.
Frustrated graduates from some culinary schools, unable to find jobs, sue for settlement
Why this is important for those interested in working in food-related careers, is because frustrated graduates unable to find jobs are suing some for-profit California culinary schools that required them to pay or borrow around $30,000 for a seven-months long course. Check out the article by Terence Chea, Associated Press, that’s reprinted in today’s Sacramento Bee (September 5, 2011), “Irate grads sue culinary schools.” Also see the same article online since Sept. 4, 2011, Culinary school grads claim they were ripped off – GreenwichTime.
Why borrow and spend tens of thousands of dollars to learn how to hold an $8 an hour job in a bakery or restaurant if that’s the only job you can find? According to the article, “Culinary school grads claim they were ripped off – GreenwichTime,” some former students are suing certain for-profit cooking schools to get their money back, saying they were misled by recruiters about the value of culinary education and their job prospects after graduation. Read the article online for details on who’s being sued and why by former students.
For example, if you take out a loan for thousands of dollars for a course lasting less than a year and then find that the only job you can find is an $8 an hour night shift in a bakery, you’re left with, for example, a $30,000 loan to pay back for a seven-month course in culinary arts. For that $8 an hour night job instead of becoming a chef or opening your own bakery or eatery, you’re obligated to pay back the loan. Where are you going to find more money to open a business? Or do you plan to become a caterer? Are you going to borrow more money to start a catering business? If you’re a recent high-school graduate, who would lend you money other than for more education?
That amount of money is similar to what you’d have to pay for a year of medical school. You’d be better off at a community college. For a food-industry job, you’re competing with community college certificate program culinary graduates for the same job, as well as part-time workers who want full-time jobs. Most of the time, that bakery or restaurant will hire the part-time workers first before they’ll turn to recent graduates.
On top of that you have the millions of out-of-work people with experience. It becomes a competition for who has the most energy and health to withstand the stress of culinary arts as an occupation. That may leave out older students who are perceived as having less energy to work the most difficult shifts where the openings may be.
In 2004, the student interviewed in the article was a recent high school graduate, dreaming of opening her own bakery, when she enrolled in a 7-month program in pastry and baking arts located in San Francisco. Recruiters convinced her it was a worthwhile investment and helped her borrow $30,000 to pay for it. After finishing the program, the only job she could find paid $8 an hour to work the night shift at an Oregon bakery.
The results focus on the fact that working at the bakery didn’t require any certificate or degree. And she had to relocate to Oregon to find an $8 an hour job working nights in a bakery. On top of this, she then became obligated to repay the $30,000 loan the school obtained for her.
That’s what happens when high-school students are not able to research whether jobs actually exist capable of paying enough money to pay back a $30,000 loan. The student now plans to attend community college. If you look at Sacramento high schools, you wonder whether the students receive the type of vocational counseling where they can learn that there are more jobs open in some areas than in other areas.
For example, the student now plans to become a nurse or dietitian. Even if anyone attends a community college, it’s important to find out whether jobs are open for dietitians compared to nurses if a decision has to be made on two counts: whether you’re suited by personality, aptitude, and physical stamina/health to become a nurse or dietitian and whether there are more jobs open for nurses than for dietitians in the area or city in which you want to work. Ask former students what type of job they found after graduation. Did the market change since then? How has their education helped them find and keep jobs?
As for the lawsuits, under a pending $40 million settlement in state court, the chain of culinary schools has agreed to offer rebates up to $20,000 to 8,500 students who attended the academy between 2003 and 2008. Read the Sept. 4, 2011 article, Culinary school grads claim they were ripped off – GreenwichTime. So, if you’re interested in food, try a community college first. At least it costs you less, even if the tuition rates keep going up.
The problem with some, not all, for-profit schools is that when high-school students or recent graduates are lured by TV programs featuring chefs traveling around the world or lured by dreams of working as gourmet chefs/cooks or opening their own restaurants or bakeries, the reality of how difficult it is to find even a minimum-wage job in the food industry can turn into financial difficulties. Students struggle to find jobs to pay off loans. Culinary arts is known for low pay and long hours, and most jobs don’t require a certificate in culinary arts that costs the student hefty loans.
After school, you may find yourself working for $8 an hour all night long in the food industry, while the same loan could have paid for training in a field that still has shortages, such as a career for an R.N. with a graduate degree who works for a university training nurses, if you had a PhD in nursing education.
Many high-school students aren’t told how to train for jobs that are in demand when they need a job right away, and loans for $30,000 are easy to find if the school tells you how to apply. Or students may not enjoy reading books. They would rather cook and start work in less than a year out of high school. Regardless of your ‘major’….you have to learn which programs are more likely to leave you with huge debts and few, low-pay, part-time or no jobs at the exact time you need to find financial independence and move out of your parent’s home.
What’s the track record of for-profit schools? According to the Associated Press article of September 22, 2011, For-profit colleges getting more GI Bill dollars, about 60 percent of more than 400,000 students withdrew from school within one year of enrolling at the eight for-profit schools that collected the most G.I. Bill funding. Figures refer to the total number of students.
Quite a number of the for-profit schools are doing excellent jobs. Just check them out regarding results. You can check out the website of the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU). Maybe you’d like to take a job as a recruiter and find out what happens to the students, as there are numerous students who do find jobs. Just check out the consumers’ satisfaction rates.