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GUEST: Tressie McMillan Cottom, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Virginia Commonwealth University. She has been a columnist for Slate and an online contributor to the Washington Post and The Atlantic. She worked in enrollment at two for-profit colleges and is the author of the book Lower Ed: The Troubling Rise of For-Profit Colleges in the New Economy
BACKGROUND: The 45th President of the US once ran a for-profit college – Trump University – that had to shell out millions of dollars in settlements over class action lawsuits alleging massive fraud.
For-profit colleges are a growing industry with the University of Phoenix and Corinthian Colleges as the most recognizable among them. Millions of students in the US are enrolled in schools that generate profits from higher education.
But are these institutions really delivering on their promises of education and good job prospects, or are they simply “diploma mills,” that leave students in debt and still unable to find decent jobs?