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.