A new study comparing graduates of for-profit colleges with those of cheaper community colleges found attending a school like the University of Phoenix or DeVry doesn't impress employers much.
In fact, researchers concluded, the students would be better off attending community colleges for a much smaller tuition price.
The paper was produced by the National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research, with researchers from the University of Missouri and RAND, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Researchers sent nearly 9,000 resumes of fictious applicants to employers in response to job postings in major cities. The fake applicants had attended either a for-profit college, a public community college, or a local high school. According to the Journal:
Employers responded to community-college grads with an interested call or e-mail 11.6% of the time, compared with 11.3% for for-profit college graduates. They asked to schedule interviews with 5.3% of applicants who had community-college credentials, and 4.7% of applicants hailing from for-profit colleges. (High-school graduates received responses 10.6% of the time, and interview requests 4.2% of the time.) None of the differences are statistically significant.
The researchers told Inside Higher Ed their big surprise was that the fake for-profit college grads came so close to community colleges. Multiple federal investigations have shown for-profit colleges have higher-than-average student debt loads, have a poor job placement record and mostly fail to graduate.
A recent study by The Institute for College Access & Success concluded dozens of for-profit schools had more students in default on their education loans than graduates.