More on for-profits

This time from Florida.

For-profit schools grow -- as do complaints
For-profits are also adept at personalized customer service, especially at the outset. A community college may tell you what form you need to fill out to receive federal financial aid, but at for-profits, recruiters will fill that form out for you.

Overzealous for-profit recruiters have been criticized in other parts of the country for mining homeless shelters for prospective students. That practice doesn't appear to be common in South Florida, though recruiters here have been faulted for how they conduct visits to local high schools.

At Dr. Michael Krop Senior High School in Miami, a guidance counselor says he's tried to rein in those visits -- but with little success.

``They like to go into a classroom, and then they'll give a presentation about careers or something of that nature,'' said Robert Roddy, Krop's college assistance program advisor. ``I call that basically a captive audience. . .the students don't really have much of a choice, they basically have to listen.''

Roddy says he has told recruiters that he prefers they set up shop in a more-neutral location on campus, such as Krop's auditorium or cafeteria, where students can obtain information if they wish. But some schools, including Brown Mackie College, which leases space from the Miami Herald Media Company, are still working their way into the classroom, Roddy complained.

``A lot of times they're doing it behind my back, through the English departments,'' Roddy said. ``This is a very common practice.''

Brown Mackie spokesman Steve Dobbins said the college was simply following an arrangement it has had with a particular teacher at Krop for about three years, and that a Brown Mackie representative would reach out to Roddy to discuss the proper protocol.

``We want to maintain a positive relationship with our communities, in particular our high schools,'' Dobbins said.

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