For-profit school scams: New Yorkers are the victims

By MAHOGANY LINEBARGER | 7/11/2013, 2:17 p.m. | Updated on 7/11/2013, 2:17 p.m.

“This is where you can see what the priority is. If you feel like you are being pressured, you should not enroll,” Magida said.

Rodriguez said that he was initially interested in studying auto-body mechanics but was “convinced” by a representative to study heating, ventilation and air conditioning. Only a month after he provided all the necessary paperwork, the school applied for federal financial aid on Rodriguez’s behalf, and he started classes a little over a month later. Rodriguez said that in the end, he still was not able to find work in the field that he studied. He works the same job he had before attending the for-profit technical training program.

Many students who choose for-profit schools are promised a career but are left with debt. Students often need both federal funding along with private loans; however, at the end of a program, students are not able to pay back this debt with the job they have or because they are still unemployed.

It appears that for-profit education and debt go hand in hand. According to a 2008 Department of Education survey, 96 percent of for-profit school graduates leave with debt. Between 2009 and 2010, for-profit schools received 25 percent of federal aid.

The skills that for-profit schools teach also tend to be a major issue. Many have found issue with the out-of-date skills being taught in certain programs. Students also find that after they complete the program, the skills they were taught are not the skills they need. Rodriguez said that at his school, the equipment was a major issue.

“The building was kind of run-down, and the equipment was already messed up from other people using it.”

With all this information provided by the media, one might question why young minorities would even consider for-profit schooling. The answer to this question has much to do with the constant, aggressive advertising that draws students in. Advertising targets young people of color and foreigners. NYLAG attorneys say that doing research is the key to weeding out the scams.