FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OTTAWA, February 19, 2015 – The Ontario provincial government’s decision to shut down a large chain of private career colleges is indicative of larger systemic issues with for-profit institutions in Canada. The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) is questioning the merit of private career colleges, and the value of public funds directed at those institutions that do not meet the basic standards for quality and affordability. Private institutions are associated with high levels of debt and higher levels of default on loans than any other type of post-secondary institution. The evidence consistently suggests that these institutions have low returns and high risks for its students.
“The programs offered by private, for-profit career colleges do not lead to significant improvements in income compared to their high cost and debt loads”, said Travis Gordon, Board Chair for CASA. Income levels for those attending private institutions are no better on average than workers with only a high school education. “This fact is extremely worrisome. Graduates from private institutions are twice as likely to default on their student loans compared to those attending a college or university institution”, said Gordon. “Even those students whose schools are not shut down risk being victimized by receiving low value instruction at high prices”.
Private for-profits institutions drain government financial assistance funding from the public system. This negatively affects the affordability and accessibility of public post-secondary education in Canada. CASA believes that Canadians should not be burdened with the costs associated with bad repayment rates and the risk associated with private post-secondary institutions and low value programs.
There is a lack of information at the federal level about which private career colleges offer the best value for money, and which charge students high tuitions for degrees that offer little to no benefit. “These schools need to be held accountable for their low value programs”, notes Gordon. The low return on investments for students does nothing to encourage a post-secondary education system that is affordable and of the highest quality.
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Established in 1995, the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) is a non-partisan, not-for-profit national student organization composed of 22 student associations representing 280,000 post-secondary students from coast to coast. CASA advocates for a Canadian post-secondary education system that is accessible, affordable, innovative, and of the highest quality.
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Matthew Rios, Government Relations and Communications Coordinator
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