January 2010

Research Study Shows For-profit Schools Achieve Graduation and Retention Rates Comparable to Those of Colleges and Universities

Washington, D.C. (January 20, 2010) – Vast college campuses with academic programs requiring rigid, full-time schedules isn’t the picture of postsecondary education that fits for thousands of people across the nation. The juggling act of work, financial and family-related obligations can make it nearly impossible for some to attend a traditional college. More Americans, though, are realizing there are more convenient and comparable options where they can obtain a quality education: career colleges.

With advanced programs and facilities, for-profit schools – or career colleges – measure up to traditional colleges and universities and, in some cases, provide better opportunities of success for students in need. A research study sponsored by the Imagine America Foundation (IAF) shows that students who fall into at-risk categories attending career colleges have comparable and often higher retention and graduation rates than those at other institutions. The Educational Policy Institute (EPI), a nonprofit research organization, conducted research for the Foundation’s Graduating At-Risk Students: A Cross-Sector Analysis. The results show the tremendous impact the for-profit sector of education has in training students for careers.

In compiling the research from January to August 2009, EPI relied on two datasets that represented survey information derived from individual learning institutions and survey data from students. In the IPEDS dataset, information from 6,750 institutions, 41% of which were career colleges, is presented.