Home > Educational Leadership, Higher Education > From an Insider, a Look at For-Profit Higher Education

From an Insider, a Look at For-Profit Higher Education

By Michael Hillyard

With for-profit higher-education institutions coming under fire by dissatisfied students and government investigators, we have heard little from satisfied graduates of for-profits and the institutions from which they earned their valuable degrees. I know they are out there, because I am one.

When I was a Marine Corps officer, in the 1990s, my only opportunity to study military curricula at the graduate level at an affordable price and without interrupting deployments was through the American Military University, which, unbeknownst to me, was a corporation.

The university offered more than an accessible education; its faculty was a “who’s who” of people with military knowledge. I eventually earned a master-of-arts degree in military studies there, earned a doctorate from the University of Southern California, and then joined a staff of 12 AMU employees who supported a cadre of adjunct faculty members who, in turn, taught 600 students. I helped expand the number of programs from the original degree in military studies to more than 60 graduate and undergraduate programs. The market responded favorably, with the student body expanding to 15,000 by the time I left, in 2006, and to 80,000 today. Growth was not a product of aggressive recruiters, call centers, or Internet lead generators. What is now called the American Public University System expanded through referrals from students and alumni, advertising, and field representatives.

Continued at: http://chronicle.com/article/For-Profit-From-the-Inside/127323/

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