Imagine America Foundation's Fact Book Shows Career Colleges Offer Advantages to Minorities, Low-Income Students

Washington, D.C. (March 7, 2008) – Career colleges have a tremendous impact on the labor force. They also provide an educational option for students who need to follow a path other than the route to a traditional college or university. These are facts proponents of career colleges have always known to be true. But the release of the Imagine America Foundation’s 2008 Fact Book: A Profile of Career Colleges and Universities sheds new light on trends that aren’t so obvious, including new evidence that career colleges offer both minorities and low-income students significant opportunity.

The 2008 Fact Book provides a snapshot of the for-profit sector of higher education, as well as a comparison of public and private two- and four-year institutions. This year’s Fact Book tells several interesting stories behind the statistics. IAF’s research shows:

  • The career college sector is more likely than the non-profit sector to serve students who are independent, have incomes in the lowest quartile, have parents with an education below the high school level, and are racial or ethnic minorities;
  • Nearly 43 percent of career college students are minorities, a four percent rise from a year ago;
  • 38 percent of degrees conferred at career colleges were to minorities compared to 19 percent at public and 16 percent at private, not-for-profit institutions; and
  • Career colleges made up four of the top ten institutions awarding MBAs to minorities, with half of those producing minority doctorates in business.

In addition to the large number of minority students, career colleges provide a much higher level of student services to help those students persist and succeed in their studies.

“Like others who attend career colleges, these students are thriving by taking courses in a structured, hands-on learning environment not typically available in other colleges,” said John Lee, president of JBL Associates, the organization that performed the research for the Fact Book. “Many students can get frustrated and lose interest in their education without an obvious connection between what they are learning and what they need for an occupation.”

Finally, the biggest cost students have when going to college is the lost wages, or opportunity costs. This is especially important for low-income students.  The shorter time it takes to acquire a degree for students in career colleges is a critical consideration for students with limited resources, said Robert L. Martin, President of IAF. “The chances for success in a career college are equal to or higher than their chances in other types of education.”

For more information about the Imagine America Foundation’s Fact Book or to request copies, please contact Robert L. Martin, President of IAF, at (202) 336-6758.

About the Imagine America Foundation
The Imagine America Foundation (IAF), established in 1982, is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing scholarship, research and training support for the career college sector. Since its inception, the Foundation has provided over $35 million in scholarship and award support for graduating high school seniors, adult learners and U.S. military veterans attending career colleges nationwide through its award-winning Imagine America® programs. The Foundation also publishes vital research publications for the higher education sector, honors achievement in career education and offer faculty development training. For more information about the Imagine America Foundation’s scholarship and award programs, please visit www.imagine-america.org.


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About the Imagine America Scholarship Program: The national leader in scholarship programs available for those pursuing a career education, Imagine America has met with immense praise since it was launched in 1998 by the Imagine America Foundation (formerly the Career College Foundation). In just seven years, Imagine America has become the most recognized high school scholarship of its kind. More than 35,000 scholarships have already been awarded to high school seniors all over the United States. For more information about this scholarship program and other IAF scholarship and award programs, visit www.imagine-america.org.