Seattle Campus News

Seattle Campus News | February 12, 2013

From the Academic Dean: Non-Profit vs. For-Profit

When researching graduate degree programs, it’s crucial that you look and understand the profit status of a university.  For-profit universities are essentially businesses that provide educational opportunities with the intent to grow and make money.  Non-profit universities are educational institutions that foster educational growth without the intent to make money.   While both non-profit and for-profit do make money to operate, the difference is that the money in a non-profit goes back into the school, and the money for a for-profit goes to investors.  The differences in the environment and offerings can also vary.  Traditionally, for-profit universities targeted working adults offering on-line courses and flexibility mainly in technical or vocational fields while non-profit universities offered a more traditional college experience focused on academic or research courses.  While there is crossover today in both models, it’s crucial that a student look at the value of their degree and reputation of their university.  Also, with more and more on-line offerings, it’s important to distinguish that on-line is no longer analogous to for-profit (as it once was). Accreditation status is one indicator that can help a prospective student assess whether the university they are looking at has high quality standards.  Qualifications of the faculty are another way a prospective student can assess the quality of the degree or university.   In general, for-profit schools can sometimes have a negative image as is referenced in this article in Time magazine:  http://business.time.com/2012/01/09/for-profit-schools-agile-predators-or-just-business-savvy/

Before deciding on the degree and university, take a close look at the profit status and assess if the college you are considering will offer you a high quality education for the cost associated.

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