How to Offer For-Profit College on the Cheap

The for-profit Rasmussen College has a plan to try and offer a cheaper business degree than local public colleges. The financials of this are a little unclear but, according to a piece at Minnesota Public Radio:

The Bloomington-based chain’s plans for the low-cost alternative program are in the very early stages. But if it succeeds, by the end of next year Rasmussen will offer what amounts to a $24,000 bachelor’s degree. That’s less than half of the school’s $54,000 standard course, not including books and fees.

The new degree would build on Rasmussen’s new $14,000 associate’s degree in business, which uses a form of automated, self-paced learning. It would add a yet-to-be designed $10,000 “completer degree.”

You do it yourself. And just look at what you can do. Under one plan currently in operation, Flex Choice, students take fully online courses at their own pace and “the program uses computer simulations designed to test students’ competency in various areas.” Students have “academic counselors” who can answer technical questions. They are also supposed to be able to answer content questions.

Apparently this business degree should cost about $24,000. Four years of tuition at a public college in Minnesota would cost between $25,000 and $29,000.

But how does that $1,000 saved matter when we consider what the program looks like?

Well it’s a little hard to tell, especially considering the whole point of getting a degree in business is to get a job in business, and there are no job placement statistics for a degree that doesn’t exist yet.

But here’s what one computer simulation looks like

StudentsGraduating

It’s a job interview simulation. I don’t want to discourage innovation but come on, guys. That’s not college; that looks more like video game.

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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