West Virginia’s For-profit Colleges

The Head of the higher education division of the state of West Virginia is getting worried about for-profit colleges. According to an Associated Press article in the Wheeling News-Register:

Chancellor Brian Noland of West Virginia’s Higher Education Policy Commission said he’s concerned about the rise of private, for-profit colleges in the state.

Noland said those schools often cost a student more to attend than nonprofit or public colleges. He told The Charleston Gazette… [that for-profit colleges] are more interested in their bottom line than the education of their students.

“My big concern here is that if I’m a first-generation West Virginia college student from a rural county, I may not know the difference between the University of Phoenix, DeVry, Alderson-Broaddus and Glenville (State College),” Noland said. “It’s all a college.”

This concern echoes those of many for-profit critics: these colleges enroll students who are uninformed and unlikely to complete college.

While Noland apparently doesn’t think that the industry itself is a problem, pointing to the West Virginia-based American Public University, which is a for-profit education company, as a model program he did suggest that something, somewhere, should change: “Something’s clearly in need of revision,” he said.

Well Noland, you’re the chancellor of the West Virginia Higher Education Commission; if there’s anyone in responsible for reforming how for-profit colleges do business in West Virginia, that would be you.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer