Trade Schools

Posted by Judy Anne Cavey on Jan 17, 2011 in , , | No Comments


Students Lured Into Trade Schools and Debt

In his article in The New York Times, Peter S. Goodman stated concerns about trade schools, “One fast–growing American industry has become a conspicuous beneficiary of the recession: for–profit colleges and trade schools”.

Schools that train students for careers in areas such as health care, computers and food service, enrollments are climbing as people anxious about declining job prospects borrow aggressively to pay for tuition that can exceed $30,000 a year.

Beware of schools which promise
much, but deliver little.


“But the profits have come at substantial taxpayer expense while often delivering dubious benefits to students”, according to academics and advocates for greater oversight of financial aid.

Many critics say these schools exaggerate the value of their degree programs, selling prospective students on “dreams of middle–class wages while setting them up for default on untenable debts, low–wage work and a struggle to avoid poverty”, Goodman states. The schools are gaining growing federal student aid dollars, including Pell grants awarded to low–income students.

“If these programs keep growing, you’re going to wind up with more and more students who are graduating and can’t find meaningful employment,” said Rafael I. Pardo, a professor at Seattle University School of Law and an expert on educational finance. “They can’t generate income needed to pay back their loans, and they’re going to end up in financial distress.” Goodman concludes, “For–profit trade schools have long drawn accusations that they overpromise and underdeliver, but the woeful economy has added to the industry’s opportunities along with the risks to students, according to education experts. They say these schools have exploited the recession as a lucrative recruiting device while tapping a larger pool of federal student aid.”

What are other options?

Check into your local community college’s programs, or ask employers for an internship, or if they provide on-the-job training. If you’re interested in a specific trade, ask an independent for a position as an assistant or apprentice, allowing you to be mentored by them in a situation where you learn while you earn.

See for more information about schools.