For Profit Education


For-profit education is a form of education system that is not different from the one offered by the public sector but it is primarily ran by private investors who are interested in making profits. The syllabus offered may be the same but there are quite wide arrays of differences that distinguish this type of education from the traditional one. Per se, for-profit education has recently grown in the United States of America and far more in various parts of the world. For-profit institutions are ran and operated by individuals who are profit oriented and they mostly seek to satisfy the needs and demands of students, parents, and investors who interact with these businesses in one way or the other. Over the years, these institutions have erupted in various parts of the U.S in large numbers mainly because of the enormous returns that accrue to this education that has attracted many investors to venture in this form of business. For-profit education provides various opportunities to benefit both the investors and those seeking education in one way or the other. As such, individuals have recently sought to associate themselves with for-profit institutions from different perspectives. For-profit education has quite a number of advantages and disadvantages as will be discusses later in the essay. However, recent research carried out on the same topic have unraveled that these for-profit institutions have greater advantages than disadvantages that outweighs those in public institutions in various facets. This has undoubtedly contributed to a range of individuals wanting to link themselves with this sector rather than the public sector. Additionally, the flexibility and competence inherent in these institutions attracts students from diverse backgrounds at lower costs.

Thesis: This essay explicates the nature of for profit education in line with the categories of for profit institutions, the pros of this education, and the cons of for-profit education.

Categories of For Profit Education

There are three main categories of for-profit institutions that are distinguished according to the levels of education. The first category is the one that encompasses both the primary and the secondary education levels. This category is also known as the Educational Management Organization (EMO). It offers educational facilities to young people ideally from the age of four to around sixteen. Hentschke, Oschman, Snell (2002) opine that this type of for-profit educations is widely spread not only in the U.S but also in various parts of the world an in the recent years, they have escalated in numbers. Educational management organization work hand in hand with chatter schools where most of its operations everywhere are financed by funds availed from the public. This explains why these institutions have augmented numbers because of the fact that large sums of money can be raised within a short period.

In addition, the second category is called the post-secondary educational institutions whose main operations are driven on business grounds in a bid to earn as more profit as possible. these type of institutions carry out heavy advertisement through the media in a bid to attract students from as far as possible. Post-secondary institutions raise their funds from students enrolment in the sense that, the funds depend on the number of students enrolled. Therefore, this elucidates why these institutions have to undertake rigorous advertisements for the sake of attracting as many students as possible so that they may be able to collect funds to finance their operations.

Bennett, Lucchesi, Vedder (2010) reiterate that the final category is K-14 to K-20 institutions, which encompasses those institutions of the higher learning such as, technical institutions, colleges, and universities progressively apropos the type of degree sought. Notably, for-profit institutions offer educational programs in specific areas purposely in the preparation of students to take up job responsibilities in the job market. In addition, for-profit education is in most cases financed by the federal government, which could be in the form of subsidized student loans, grants, and other forms of financial aids as and when necessary.

Advantages of For Profit Education

For-profit education has many advantages, a fact that explains why there have been an escalating number of for-profit institutions in the recent past. The numbers are nevertheless increasing even at the present, as competition among these institutions stiffens. Deming, Goldin, Katz (2012) agrees that for-profit institutions have augmented efficiency because of the fact that these institutions engage in financial competitions with others, which encourages them to absorb better and qualified teachers and trainers that are competent enough to deliver quality education to the students. As such, they are able to attract as many students as possible. For-profit institutions engage in stiff competition among themselves for clients and as such, they endeavor to perk up their services in all facets possible. In the event of seeking to attract clients, these for-profit institutions try to run their operations in a smooth manner while avoiding any flaws that might taint their image. They also endeavor to act and run their operations responsibly as far as corporate and social responsibilities are concerned.

Moreover, these institutions attempt at all costs to provide proficient services to their students in the quest to create and maintain a good public image in a bid to retain as well as attract a large number of clients. As such, they ensure that they incorporate competent trainers and teachers with an outstanding personality that the institutions will use as a bait to draw clients from various parts. Moreover, Lemann (2010) is of the view that these institutions implement and install modern facilities that in turn help to improve their efficacy in the long run enabling them to make more profits as they increase their services both in numbers and in quality. Notably, increased efficiency among these for-profit institutions helps to deliver quality education to clients, which in turn prepares them to face a world of sophistications where they can apply the acquired knowledge to solve various problems in various fields.


Additionally, for-profit institutions offer competent programs that can be completed within a short period. Besides, these institutions are more flexible and receptive to the desires and wishes of their clients in the sense that they allow students to attend classes at their convenience. They also provide opportunities to adult students who are already working such that they can conveniently attend classes at their preferred time after work. These adult students can still attend their jobs in during the day and pass-by to attend classes in the evening. This in turn provides opportunities for adults intending to further their education unlike in traditional public schools where such convenient study programs are rare to find at any given point in time. Accordingly, Hentschke, Oschman, Snell (2002) assert that for-profit educational institutions have the advantage in that the ability to obtain grants and funds from the federal government can be used to develop and implement appropriate educational facilities, which helps in preparing students to become innovators who can start and run their own businesses later after school. Besides, the availability of various educational and training facilities contribute to the development of skills for the adult students such as the provision of computer packages, which enables them to face various problems in their line of work.

For-profit institutions make effective policies and decisions with regard to their profitable operations in the long run. As such, they are able to secure various profitable opportunities, which not only benefit them but also benefit the clients in that various programs are developed in a bid to enhance career progression. Therefore, in the quest of trying to attract customers as far as educational programs are concerned, these institutions become vast with innovative and competent programs that seek to provide clients with imperative and relevant knowledge that they can use to develop and improve their lives. Additionally, competition among these institutions leads to financial competitions, which in turn translate the ability to access good educational programs at lower costs due to lower fees payment. Effective policy and decision making enables these institutions to venture into efficient operations and avoid losses.

Disadvantages of For Profit Education

However, despite the aforementioned merits associated with for-profit education, there are a number of identified setbacks as discussed below. Certainly, studies have unveiled that performance from student of for-profit institutions perform poorly compared to other institutions because of the fact that most for-profit educational schools are market oriented and therefore, they would everything to attract as many clients as possible. Linebarger (2013) asserts that for-profit institutions in most cases engage in drilling exercises whereby students are trained how to pass exams and not trained with a primary aim of getting knowledge. Drilling is in most cases evident in the educational management organization, which entails the primary and secondary students. That is, students are trained on how to tackle short-term problems with regard to passing exams rather than equipping them with the relevant skills and knowledge that they can be able to apply in the real world and be able to solve problems as and when they arise. As such, they have been noted to be incompetent in the job market-a fact that has contributed to their lack of unemployment in the corporate world. Additionally, these very students have been found to have higher debt record than students from other institutions. This is because of the fact that these students have higher rates of default in the payment of their loans compared to others.

Additionally, Deming, Goldin, Katz (2012) affirm that for-profit educational institutions offering educational programs with a period of two or less years have higher completion rates. However, it has been identified that in instances where the courses take up to four or more years such as degree programs, for-profit educational institutions have higher records of school dropouts. This contributes to increased levels of school loafers, which increases the rate of unemployment and thus lowering the efficiency of a country's economic performance. Moreover, for-profit institutions have a tendency of deceptive advertisements aimed at attracting more clients and yet, the case is not the same as witnessed in many sales and marketing strategies applied by many of these institutions.


In conclusion, the foregoing discussion has presented an in-depth analysis of the various findings and facts about for-profit education. The essay has explicated on the three types of for-profit institutions, which include educational management organization that encompasses both the primary and the secondary level. The second one is the post-secondary institutions, which is a business-oriented institution that seeks to provide training programs to students who have finished the secondary level of studies. This category has a short time span with an approximately two to three years. The last category as elucidated in the essay is the K-14 to K-20, which provide higher learning opportunities to students from diverse backgrounds. As explicated in the essay, these for-profit institutions are financed by the federal government through grants and other financial incentives. Additionally, the essay has tackled the advantages and disadvantages inherent in this education. Some of the identifies merits are, increased efficiency, flexibility and higher responsiveness, increased innovation, and effective decision making and policy implementation as well as provision of greater opportunities to the poor students from minority families and communities. The identified disadvantages include lower performance among students, students face high unemployment, and deceptive advertisements. It is relevant that individuals consider both the benefits and disadvantages of for profit education before deciding to settle for it.


  1. Bennett, D. L., Lucchesi, A. R., Vedder, R. K. (2010). For-Profit Higher Education: Growth, Innovation and Regulation. Center for College Affordability and Productivity , 1-60.

  2. Deming, D. J., Goldin, C., Katz, L. F. (2012). The For-Profit Postsecondary School Sector:Nimble Critters or Agile Predators? Journal of Economic Perspectives , 1-28.

  3. Hentschke, G. C., Oschman, S., Snell, L. (2002). Education Management Organizations: Growing a For-profit Education Industry with Choice, Competition, and Innovation. Education Management Organizations , 1-16.

  4. Lemann, N. (2010, November 10). Bloomberg, Murdoch, and Education. Retrieved August 20, 2013, from The New Yorker:

  5. Linebarger, M. (2013, July 11). For-Profit School Scams: New Yorkers are the Victims. Retrieved August 20, 2013, from New York Amsterdam News:

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