Not-for-profit vs. For-profit
Many students don’t think about whether the school they’re planning to attend is a not-for-profit or for-profit institution, but you should, because each institution can provide a very different educational experience.
For-profit institutions are run by private, profit-seeking companies or organizations, and predominantly offer vocational, career or technical programs. For-profit institutions are usually nationally accredited. They advertise aggressively due to their reliance on student attendance for financial gain. Often times this need for a constant influx of new enrollments can lead to weak admission and academic standards. Another potential drawback of for-profit schools is that they usually lack the traditional university staples including extracurricular activities, like sports teams and student organizations, because of budgeting concerns.
Not-for-profit schools are typically traditional 2-year and 4-year universities. They are regionally accredited higher learning institutions. Not-for-profit universities are academically oriented, and have higher standards of acceptance than their for-profit counterparts. Not-for-profit schools are driven by academic performance guidelines to receive funding. They don’t rely as heavily on advertising to attract students, and are considered to be more prestigious degree granting institutions.
Accreditation is Important
Regional accreditation is a measurement the US Department of Education (DOE) uses to ensure that schools meet rigorous and up-to-date standards of education and professionalism. All schools must be accredited, and their curriculum must pass approval with a DOE-approved accreditation board.
One major disadvantage of for-profit schools being nationally accredited is the inability to transfer credits. Not-for-profit schools are regionally accredited, and because of these more defined regional accreditation standards, credits for similar courses will usually transfer between schools.
Across the Divide
Not-for-profit universities build off of a dedication to education and community. They are schools built off of tradition, and educational values. Seeing their name on your diploma means that you have been held to the highest academic standards and found success. They believe that the purpose of an educational institution should be to educate, not to turn a profit.
When you are selecting a higher learning institution to pursue your education, make sure to look into the accreditation as well as a school’s academic history. After all this is your education.