The recent debates in the public forum focusing on the higher education have exposed the controversy surrounding for-profit colleges and universities in the United States. In the documentary “For-Profit Colleges Change Higher Education” in the College, Inc., it is clear that these colleges and universities use various sales tactics which education industry professionals consider unethical as well as duplicitous.
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Not Telling Truth to the Prospective Students
From the documentary, it’s clear that many of the colleges were found to be telling lies to their prospects. For instance, it became apparent that many of the colleges used lies to lure students to enroll into their programs. Students were promised immediate placements after finishing their certifications. Moreover, some institutions claiming to have a lot of connections with employers, students happily enrolled with no suspicion as far as the truth is concerned. Some nursing students were promised high intensity practical placements, which never happened. In a more telling aspect of lies is the fact that some of these institutions go as far as promising jobs that would allow them pay back their education loans given by the federal government. With the help of the for-profit institutions, the students rush into taking loans that later weigh very heavily into their lives because they are unable to pay back.
This kind of lie is deceptive and unethical. When students are deceived to believe that all the things promised during admission will be achieved, but later fail to achieve none of it, then integrity questions may arise as far as educational practices are concerned. The nursing program offered without any practical to the students is a fallacy; leave alone the fact that students were promised high intensity practical lessons throughout their studies.
Unethical Sales Tactics
The documentary reveals how colleges put pressure on their recruitment teams in order to use any means possible to acquire the new prospects. Pushing prospective customers to enroll in the said institutions leads to unplanned educational budgets and subsequently loans. It therefore forces the sales teams to use some misrepresentation of facts to close the deals, which is unacceptable. In reality, the law requires that the recruitment personnel for learning institutions cannot be compensated solely on the basis of the number of students they recruit, which is exactly what happens. While the management wants their recruitment teams to use such aggressive tactics during the recruitment process, it is quite unethical to see how the use of misinterpreted facts plays a role in the mass recruitment of the somewhat unwilling students.
The situation has affected large number of students who have paid huge sums of money to get the higher education they crave for, despite the accreditation controversy. Furthermore, parents also find it difficult to cope with the high cost of such education, and once lured into sending their children to such institutions, where they are over burdened with the repayment of loans. From the documentary, it is notable that many of these institutions use more resources in the recruitment and marketing, which begs the question of the ethics behind the enrolment drive vs. quality and accreditation.
While President Obama’s first time in office saw his government gives over $ 12 billion to the public institutions, this funding has since reduced to as low as $ 2 billion. This has left a gap for the for-profit colleges to capitalize on, emphasizing their marketing skills to attract gullible public. The federal government is thus needed to lay out regulations, in addition to offer more resources to public universities to be more innovative and offer quality education. When more enrolment can be achieved in public and community colleges, then the for-profit institutions will be forced to abide by the law and follow ethical standards in every of their recruitment and educational standards.
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