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Want to Pay a Lot for College But Never Graduate? Go to a For-Profit University.

Written by Steve Rhode

In a recent report, Subprime Opportunity: The Unfulfilled Promise of For-Profit Colleges and Universities the University of Phoenix didn’t fare too well when it came to graduating students. According to the report, only 9% of student enrolled actually graduated within six years.

University of Phoenix, DeVry University, The Art institute, Berkeley College, Sullivan University, Westwood College, International Academy of Design and Technology, School of Visual Arts, The Illinois institute of Art, and ITT Technical Institute were all named in the study.

If there is one thing that the for- profits can virtually guarantee their students, it’s years and years of student loan debt.

The study shows a fact I’ve seen over and over again from readers. Going to a for-profit college is very expensive and leaves you probably without a degree and saddled in debt.

Among students who earn bachelor’s degrees, the median debt at graduation for students at for-profits is $31,190, compared with $7,960 at public and $17,040 at private nonprofit institutions. Indeed, 19 percent of associate’s degree students and 3 percent of certificate completers at for-profits have debt loads greater than $30,000, compared with only 2 percent and 1 percent of students in these programs, respectively, at public institutions. On the other end of the scale, only 4 percent of bachelor’s degree recipients at for-profits graduate debt-free, compared with 38 percent and 28 percent at public and private nonprofit institutions.

READ  I Went to University of Phoenix Without Graduating from High School

About the author

Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.


  • Hi Steve, thanks for sharing your wonderful advice. Sadly, I was reeled in hook, line and sinker. I attended IADT Tampa from 2007-2009 and now owe 93K in student loans. I did graduate and received my degree, but it looks like I will never get our of debt working as a graphic designer in Tampa. I pay over $618 a month in interest only payments! I have used up all my deferments and to make things worse, when I attempted to go for my bachelors at the local community college, none of my credits from IADT Tampa are respected by St Pete College meaning I have to start over. I just joined your online meetup, I hope I can get some advice there.

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