Alumni of for-profit colleges are split over whether the cost of their degree was worth it, according to a new report from Public Agenda

The report found 38 percent of for-profit alumni believe their degree was worth what it cost, while 37 percent say it was not. The rest said, “It remains to be seen.” 

For-profit colleges face a great deal of scrutiny for their higher-priced degrees, which do not necessarily provide better outcomes for students. 

For-profits have also been troubled by scandals, such as in the mid-2010s, when Corinthian Colleges was investigated for deceptive advertising practices, leading the institution to close and stranding students in debt without a degree.

For-profit colleges tend to be an attractive option to students looking for more flexibility with school schedules, as well as higher acceptance rates. 

The satisfaction with for-profit colleges appears significantly higher among current students. 

Around 80 percent of current for-profit attendees are satisfied with their school, according to the nonpartisan national organization, whereas around 40 percent of alumni criticized their former school for not giving more services such as tutoring, health care, job placement or internship opportunities. 

The report also looked at community college students and alumni as a comparison, finding they had less debt than their for-profit counterparts. 

“Most for-profit alumni and non-completers with loans say that making payments is difficult. But fewer current students with loans anticipate difficulty paying,” the report reads. 

Another key difference between community college attendees and for-profit ones is that more community college students said they heard of their school through their high school guidance counselors, while for-profit attendees found their school through advertisements. 

While some argue against for-profit schools, most attendees don’t support shutting down schools with lower graduation rates, higher costs or poor job outcomes. They would rather schools be required to support their students better. 

The report surveyed 595 for-profit attendees and 406 college student attendees. It was conducted from March 17 to May 22, 2022. The margin of error for the for-profit enrollees was plus or minus 7.3 percentage points. The margin of error for community college students was plus or minus 8.1 percentage points.