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.

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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