Don't Get Trapped by These Higher Education Scams

By Qiana Chavaia on 12 February 2016 0 comments

Television and radio are inundated with for-profit post secondary educational institutions peddling degree and career programs, many of which do not lead to gainful employment. Schemes like these are ripping off taxpayers and leaving students with heavy debt loads — as opposed to an improved quality of life.

In the March 14, 2014 press release, the Obama Administration announced that it will enforce new regulations to improve higher-education programs, especially at for-profit colleges that have not done well by their students. Here's how you can avoid those traps altogether. (See also: 5 Sobering Facts About Student Loan Debt)

1. Don’t Let Prestigious School Names Deter You

Depending on the program, the majority of schools have relaxed admissions standards for their certificate programs. So, you may want to consider completing a certificate program to prove yourself and receive recommendations before applying to a two-year or four-year degree program. Even Harvard offers certificate programs that anyone can take. The per class cost is higher, but course materials are the same and some classes are taught by some of the same professors.

2. Don't Wait for the Government to Protect You

Start by protecting yourself. Accept that there are no shortcuts and that it may be more challenging for you to attain your goals and commit to doing it.

3. Beware of Ads That Mention Financial Aid

Financial aid is available at any two-year or more accredited institution. Overt messages about the availability of financial aid are meant to help close the sale rather than inform you of the opportunity.

4. Take Your Time Commitment Into Consideration

High dropout rates are among the factors associated with predatory education. Are you seeking a two-year associate degree, four-year bachelor's degree, vocational diploma, or certificate? Research your desired field of study, preferably one in growing demand according to the U.S. Department of Education, and seek a program at a college or university with a long history and solid reputation. These days, colleges and universities across the country offer two-year degree and certificate programs that can be obtained online.

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