Online Colleges are Threatening Florida’s For-Profit Universities

By  //  April 11, 2019

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U.S. Universities Finding It Difficult to Close the Gap With Their Global Competitors

From Massachusetts to California, as many as two dozen state university systems, individual flagship campuses, and other public universities are talking publicly (or quietly) about undertaking ambitious online learning initiatives.

From Massachusetts to California, as many as two dozen state university systems, individual flagship campuses, and other public universities are talking publicly (or quietly) about undertaking ambitious online learning initiatives.

Many of these colleges are focusing such efforts in order to improve enrollment and revenue growth, while others look to provide improved accessible education to working adults.

Many of these universities are finding themselves far behind the pack, since some regional and international players like Southern New Hampshire, Arizona State, and Western Governors Universities, among others, have long since tapped into the online college course industry.

These universities are called mega-universities

On top of that, universities who have yet to offer courses online look to reclaim or retain (in some cases) the growing number of state residents either taking courses online or planning to do so in the future.

Being that most virtual learning providers offer 100 percent online study, universities still in the developing phase or just now entering the industry find they’re now competing on a global level.

Less Money and More Problems

For years, Florida Universities have struggled overall to maintain some other value besides being located in The Sunshine State.

If the Florida higher education system wasn’t in dire straights already, a Florida prep school administrator has just been linked to the Mark Riddell college entrance exam scandal.

For the state’s for-profit colleges, having the Riddell fiasco hit so close to home couldn’t have come at a worse time. Over the past few years, a number of for-profit colleges were forced to close their doors, leaving tens of thousands of students high and dry.

The latest one in the spotlight being Argosy University, which ran campuses in Florida, Virginia, California, Illinois, Arizona, and a few other states.

After the U.S. Department of Education removed it from the federal financial aid program, around 540 Florida students who attended Argosy were left without receiving their hard-earned degrees, as well as stuck to pay for loans they took out to attend the now-defunct university – if it even deserves to be called one in the first place.

However, Argosy University wasn’t the only one the Feds gave the proverbial boot; dozens of other so-called universities from around the United States were forced to shut their doors after the government refused to fund 8,700 different academic programs featured by 800 colleges that failed to meet the guidelines set forth in the Obama administration’s 2017 “gainful employment” mandate.

According to an article published by CBS News, “programs are considered failing if their graduates on average pay at least 12 percent of their yearly earnings on student loans, or 30 percent of their discretionary income.

Programs can lose access to federal funding if they fail twice within three years, or if they fall into a lower “warning zone” for four consecutive years.”

More than likely, this rule stems from the fact that, in the past, universities had a bad habit of hyping up their programs to potential students and in ad campaigns, promising guaranteed job placement upon graduation and a certain amount of annual income.

Of course, when universities are promising $50,000 a year working as a nurse fresh from graduation, people desperate for a better life jump on the idea.

It’s not just for-profit colleges in Florida having a rough time; universities across the United States are no longer competing locally for resident students but nationally and internationally.

U.S. Universities Finding It Difficult to Close the Gap With Their Global Competitors

It’s not just for-profit colleges in Florida having a rough time; universities across the United States are no longer competing locally for resident students but nationally and internationally.

And when talking about global competition, it’s not merely about competing for local students either. Successful online schools invest a lot in offering easily obtainable programs for foreign students as well.

With online enrollment continuing to grow, those schools that are successful at attracting new students have tens of thousands of undergraduates enrolled.

Additionally, online universities offer postgraduate courses as well, such as JCU Online, one of Australia’s largest online universities which offers numerous masters programs. Most of these courses cost much less than those at brick-and-mortar colleges since online operations have much less overhead.

Michael M. Crow, president of Arizona State University, one of the largest mega-universities in North America (with 28,000 enrolled undergraduates) told the Chronicle that those who say there is a shortage of online students are stating a “fallacy.”

Crow points out that there are a lot of employed adults who have gone to college in the past but had never graduated. With technology ever evolving and employers requiring people to keep up, it’s “an unbelievable market,” he says.

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