DON’T BE A TARGET FOR PREDATORY LENDERS. The nation’s soaring student loan debt crushes learners with staggering interest rates and the constant worry about making payments. Millions of Americans are impacted, owing big, with nothing to show for it. The U.S. Department of Education calculates that for-profit schools account for about a third of all student debt.
It’s easy to see why: most for-profit schools target lower income Americans like Darius Tabrizi (see link below) who are anxious to gain skills and credentials for job readiness, but struggle with poor or no credit. Students borrow from these schools at soaring interest rates to pay for the over-priced tuition. While Tabrizi is among the victims, he is now on the offensive to expose these schools that lure unsuspecting poor students, leaving them with payments they cannot afford and no job prospects. Tabrizi convinced a local electrician firm to take a chance on him, and his boss immediately sent the new hire to get his certification from a reputable school. Tabrizi is earning good money as a waterfront electrician, and can expect even higher earnings once he passes his next set of occupational tests. But he still has $30,000 in debt to a school that did nothing more than bankrupt him. Tabrizi warns others off the scamming schools.
Media and regulators report on school after school overcharging students who either drop out or graduate with poor skills and no job prospects. On average, almost three quarters of for-profit school grads earn less than high school dropouts. But these "schools" keep drawing in unsuspecting students by bragging about graduation and job placement success. Choose your school carefully by doing the research. Here's how:
Beware of predators Be skeptical of for-profit schools and so called "career colleges." Thoroughly research an institution before enrolling. Use search terms like "for-profit" or "reviews". Read online reviews, try to connect with past students, look up graduation rates and average student debt. Don't trust the college's Wikipedia page or website, as for-profit colleges often lie about job placement rates. Check out this list of for-profit colleges under investigation. A better alternative to career college is community college or a state university.
Contact national organizations for help Government organizations such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau offer valuable information about career colleges and student debt.