Community colleges respond to for-profit criticism

How similar?  Not so much.

Just How Similar? Community Colleges and the For-Profit Sector
Community colleges have become frequent targets of the public relations and sponsored research arms of the for-proft college industry. To a limited extent, these attacks have diverted attention from a raft of government, media, and former student criticisms of the for-proft higher education industry. As the German military theorist Carl von Clausewitz put it, “the best defense is a good offense,” and this seems to part of the for-proft sector’s strategy.

Community college CEOs are put off at the thought of a distracting sideshow debate with for-proft colleges over the relative merits of the two sectors. First, it wastes limited resources. Second and more importantly, analysis of the sectors reveals more differences than similarities, including their educational offerings.

This policy brief examines some of the variables that differentiate community colleges from for-proft institutions—not to win a debate or to suggest public policies that might logically emanate from those differences, but to show why commonly drawn comparisons between community colleges and for-proft institutions are far less meaningful than some might suggest. The distinctions are drawn in terms of oversight, service, and fnancing.


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