For-Profit Schools Are Not Improving the Earnings of Their Graduates

In “Gainfully employed? New evidence on the earnings, employment, and debt of for-profit certificate students,” Stephanie Riegg Cellini (Brown Center on Education Policy) reports on her work with Nicholas Turner (Federal Reserve Board of Governors). They studied 14 years of earnings for more than 800,000 federally aided certificate students to determine how well for-profit schools are doing.

“Our results are striking: Public sector students outperform for-profit students on nearly every measure, suggesting that the overwhelming majority of for-profit students would be better off attending a public institution. But what if attending a public community college is not an option? Our results suggest that many for-profit students would be better off not attending college at all. On average, for-profit certificate students do not generate enough earnings gains to offset the debt they incur.”

For the full study, see “Gainfully Employed? Assessing the Employment and Earnings of For-Profit College Students Using Administrative Data,” by Stephanie Riegg Cellini and Nicholas Turner.