For profit colleges; for profit universities; risk factors to attainment; non traditional students; social mobility; educational inequality; sociology of education; higher education; grade inflation; academic preparedness; quantitative; propensity score matching; beginning postsecondary survey
This study uses the competing Burton Clark's "Cooling Out Theory" and Daniel Bell's "Theory of the Postindustrial Economy" to examine the function that for-profit colleges and universities (FPCUs) play in American higher education and how it is different from non-profit traditional colleges and universities (TCUs). This was done through three sections of analysis. The first examined if students who enroll at these FPCUs are less academically prepared than those attending non-profit traditional colleges or universities. The second tested if academic preparedness is associated with postsecondary performance at FPCUs to the same degree it is at TCUs. The final section of analysis looked at FPCU graduates to see if they have different short-term job outcomes when compared to traditional college graduates. This research utilizes The Beginning Postsecondary Survey 2009- a restricted-use longitudinal data set produced by the National Center for Education Statistics that followed 16,700 first-time college enrollees from 2003 until 2009. This data set includes information on student demographics, academic performance, enrollment history, and job outcomes. The results of this study indicated that when compared to traditional college students, FPCU students are less likely to be academically prepared for college and are more frequently characterized by risk factors that previous research has shown makes it less likely they will complete their degree. This research also found that unlike TCUs, high school academic performance is not associated with post-secondary performance or likelihood of degree attainment at FPCUs. Finally, it was observed that FPCU graduates were less likely to have jobs related to their degree and earned less income than TCU graduates, but had about the same degree of job satisfaction.
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Carter, J. Scott
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Campus-only Access)
Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences; Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic
Baird, Andrew, "The Social Function of For-Profit Higher Education in the United States" (2014). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1201.