McMillan Cottom, Tressie. Insider’s view of for-profit colleges, race, class, and education justice. Huffington Post. 2012 Jan 13. Available from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tressie-mcmillan-cottom/for-profit-colleges-kaplan-university_b_1205464.html. Accessed 2012 Jun 19. Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/68YWELxr7.
Drawing on her experience as an admissions and financial aid counselor in the for-profit education industry, McMillan Cottom denounces the industry for recruiting underprivileged prospective students by playing on their fears and insecurities. For-profit colleges benefit from tax-supported federal financial aid programs while keeping their business and instructional practices secret. While some for-profit instructional programs lead to clear occupational goals, others extract high fees from students and financial aid programs by dangling the prospect of socioeconomic upward mobility without any clear mechanism for achieving it. McMillan Cottom calls for transparency in the curricula and instructional practices of the for-profit educational industry, and for rejection of victim-blaming stereotypes of prospective students as “losers” or “lazy” and in need of motivation by fear. Instead, society should help to overcome structural obstacles to their advancement.
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