New report calls for study of Nebraska’s for-profit Colleges

For Immediate Release                          
December 28, 2015


Contact, James Goddard
Economic Justice Director, Nebraska Appleseed
(402) 570-9462 (cell)


New report calls for study of Nebraska’s for-profit colleges

High student debt, default rates, and limited performance measures warrant Legislative inquiry


LINCOLN — A new report released today by Nebraska Appleseed reveals concerning outcomes for Nebraska’s for-profit colleges and calls for a Legislative investigation into the industry.

The report, “The High Cost of Higher Education: The For-Profit College Industry in Nebraska,” examined key metrics of the state’s for-profit institutions, 12 of which receive some form of state aid. The results were concerning, with for-profit institutions faring worse than their non-profit counterpart colleges in several areas including:

  • Higher costs to attend non-profit colleges
  • Lower student retention and graduation rates for non-profit colleges
  • Lower post-graduate earnings for students of non-profit colleges.

“Several troubling, nationwide trends that have been exposed among for-profit colleges nationally make it important to understand the performance of these schools in Nebraska,” said Nebraska Appleseed Economic Justice Director James Goddard, one of the report’s authors. “We know for-profit colleges in Nebraska create opportunity for some, but it is important to be able to conclude whether for-profit higher education in Nebraska is working for students and whether we should continue to support for-profit schools with taxpayer dollars.”

The report examined tuition and fees for the 2013-14 reporting year and illustrates that for-profit, non-degree granting colleges in Nebraska charged nearly seven times more than community colleges and over two and a half times more than state colleges and the University of Nebraska.

Furthermore, there are too few requirements regarding the publication and reporting of student outcomes at for-profit schools, and there is little authority for oversight of for-profit institutions that don’t have a physical presence in Nebraska, such as online colleges.

The report calls for the Nebraska Legislature to investigate the actions of the state’s for-profit colleges to get a better understanding at how they are serving Nebraska students.

“Additional information regarding the for-profit college industry is needed in order to determine whether for-profit colleges in Nebraska are engaging in the same problematic practices that have been discovered in other areas of the U.S.,” Goddard said. “We urge the Legislature to begin an interim study that would examine the practices of these for-profit institutions and the use of state grant dollars that help fund them.”

For more information, contact Nebraska Appleseed Economic Justice Director James Goddard at (402) 570-9462 or email

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