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- Just under half of graduates who attended an online nonprofit said they were very satisfied with their college, compared to 70% of graduates who attended an online nonprofit. new survey from Public Agenda, a nonprofit research and public engagement company.
- When respondents who were somewhat satisfied are included, the gap narrows: 88% of for-profit and 97% of nonprofit online graduates said they were very or somewhat satisfied. Still, satisfaction with nonprofit programs surpassed for-profit programs in nearly every metric researchers used, including good instructors and offering effective leadership. Fewer than 4 in 10 for-profit graduates surveyed said their degree was worth it. Among nonprofit graduates, the rate was nearly 6 in 10.
- The only factor in which nonprofits outperformed was in providing hands-on support for students applying for financial aid, according to the alumni surveyed. Despite this, 62% of for-profit graduates said it was difficult to repay their student loans, compared to 44% of nonprofit graduates.
Online degree programs are an important part of making higher education more accessible, but not all programs work the same way, said Andrew Seligsohn, president of Public Agenda. in the statement.
“Online for-profit programs don’t deliver,” Seligsohn said. “Graduates are impressed with the quality of education they received, especially compared to graduates of online programs at for-profit public and private colleges.”
Online Profitability Graduates are clearly divided on what they believe are the priorities of their alma mater. Half said their college prioritized profits, while the other half said it prioritized student education.
Among graduates of online nonprofits, the distribution is less even. More than two-thirds of those graduates, 69%, said their college prioritized educating students, while 31% said its primary goal was to make money.
From March to May of last year, researchers interviewed 386 adults who had completed an online degree or certificate program in the past 15 years — 217 attended a nonprofit institution and 169 attended a for-profit college.
In general, most respondents reported that they felt confident before enrolling that their job prospects would improve upon graduation. However, non-profits seemed to inspire more confidence from the start, with 78% of non-profit graduates expressing such confidence compared to 61% of non-profit graduates. Finally, only 39% of for-profit online graduates said their degree was worth it, compared to 57% of nonprofit online graduates.
And accreditation played a bigger role in college choice for graduates of nonprofits than for graduates of for-profit programs, the survey found.
Among nonprofit alumni, 72% recommend that prospective students pay close attention to accreditation status, with 66% saying they did so when applying. Only 49% of for-profit graduates said they paid special attention to whether the college was accredited, but 61% said prospective students should consider it when choosing where to attend.