Are For-Profit Colleges Good or Bad for Students of Color? [Reader Forum]

A Colorlines reader explains both the appeal and the darker side of for-profit colleges.

By Nia King Jan 07, 2013

We begin this weeks’ Reader Forum with a thoughtful and thorough response to an older article entitled, "Are For-Profit Colleges the Answer for Black Students?"

Kathleen Jungck writes:

Not all for profit colleagues are created equally, and when evaluating cost, please realize that many public universities are heavily subsidized by taxpayers. Buyer beware.I pursued my master’s from a for profit on-line college, Capella, that was priced competitively with the a local public Tier 1 research university that DID not offer a degree in the area I was pursuing. Capella was highly accredited – ABET, NSA, (ISC)2 and others in my field. The financial aid process was even better than the Tier 1 on ground public university my oldest child is attending.

Fast forward a year, and the on ground for profit college I taught IT courses for as an adjunct professor had unacceptable business practices. They held grant, financial aid, and scholarship money hostage, and billed students for the entire program if they dropped out or transferred at any point. For a BS – IT Networking program, that was ridiculous. I believe the practice was a hold over from their other short term programs – Medical Assistant, Dental Assistant, HVAC repair, and so forth. Most of my students were seeking out that for profit college because there were not enough available slots in the local community college or university due to budget cuts. I quit after one unit — loved the students (50% were students of color, 75% were older students, and neither impacted their achievement), but I couldn’t support the business practices.

Also, please remember there are more than just "black" and "Hispanic" students of color who face discrimination in college entrance and job search, especially in the tech fields. Many of my students were First Nations, and several were veterans. While I personally may not be a "person of color", many in my extended family are, which include both black and First Nation ancestry.

More recent stories that caused a stir on the Facebook page include the woman deported after winning the jackpot in Arizona, the new Oxygen TV show "All My Baby’s Mamas", and blackface (as well as red-face and yellow-face) at the Philadelphia Mummer’s Parade. Here’s what you had to say.

Regarding the casino deportation, Denise Caramagno said:

Wow, they don’t mind TAKING money from undocumented people but win and you get deported?

Elaine Robles:

Conflicting statements..they’re not in the deportation business and want Mexicanos to feel welcome, yet they are turned over to Border patrol?

Ernest Hopkins:

Valuable information for others who might find themselves in a similar situation. One more reason why comprehensive immigration reform must happen sooner rather than later. Families should not be disrupted this way but everyone must take precautions until the laws are changed.

In regards to "All My Babies’ Mamas," Melissa Nunes said:

This makes smoke come out of my ears. I hate back door racism! It is the most chickenshit kind. Exploiting a stereotype to make money is deplorable. I am calling my cable provider to complain about Oxygen and I urge others to do the same. The bonehead executive who greenlighted this project needs to be fired. Can you imagine what people outside this country think of us? This is just mind boggling!

Regarding racism at the Mummer’s Parade, Laura McMillan said:

That’s a pretty impressive combination of racist and incomprehensible. How do things like this ever make it through a committee, costuming, choreography, and practices without somebody raising concerns?

Dave Austin:

This is why Philly natives hate the Mummers.

Melanie Abray:

I hate this parade and the day long brouhaha it creates in my neighborhood. The people who participate are trashy as hell. They stagger in and out of their clubhouses on 2nd Street all day getting rip snorting drunk in front of their children. They leave those dumbass costumes, or parts of them, on and keep parading down the street (which is not even the official parade route) long after the actual parade is over. Good luck getting to any of the stores on the east side of second street. One of the clubs was busted for running hooker nights once a month. They make Archie Bunker look like a reasonable, educated, enlightened man.

William A. Smith:

And it was like that when we lived in Bucks County from 1982-1989. I went once, and that’s EXACTLY what it was like Melanie!

Each week, we round up the best comments in our community. Join the conversation here on, and on Facebook and Twitter.