Lower Ed

The Troubling Rise of For-Profit Colleges in the New Economy
Narrated by: Lisa Reneé Pitts
Length: 8 hrs and 29 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (43 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

More than two million students are enrolled in for-profit colleges, from the small family-run operations to the behemoths brandished on billboards, subway ads, and late-night commercials. These schools have been around just as long as their bucolic not-for-profit counterparts, yet shockingly little is known about why they have expanded so rapidly in recent years - during the so-called Wall Street era of for - profit colleges.

In Lower Ed, Tressie McMillan Cottom - a bold and rising public scholar, herself once a recruiter at two for-profit colleges - expertly parses the fraught dynamics of this big-money industry to show precisely how it is part and parcel of the growing inequality plaguing the country today. McMillan Cottom discloses the shrewd recruitment and marketing strategies that these schools deploy and explains how, despite the well-documented predatory practices of some and the campus closings of others, ending for-profit colleges won't end the vulnerabilities that made them the fastest growing sector of higher education at the turn of the 21st century. And she doesn't stop there.

©2017 Tressie McMillan Cottom (P)2017 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"With great compassion and analytical rigor, Cottom questions the fundamental narrative of American education policy, that a postsecondary degree always guarantees a better life." ( New York Times Book Review)

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Fascinating

Loved it every aspect of the people's perception on how to pursue Higher Ed to get ahead was meticulously laid out. Your conclusions are spot on , every person minority in particular should read this book.

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Illuminating, great work.

The author/researcher makes this expose and analysis accessible to lay readers, it's valuable to higher ed faculty/administrators like me who have more knowledge of all the word of traditional institutions.

With solid socio methods (explained throughout and in the final chapters) she shows how, to some extent, the rise of for profit institutions resulted from income inequalities and systemic policies which (while they provide opportunities for disenfranchised groups) are also predatory and socioeconomically regressive.

Cottom explains credit transfers and the unfortunate firewall between for profit and non profit works, she shares her experiences applying to for profit colleges, interviews students and FPC employees, and she even worked at two before getting her PhD at Emory University. This study came out of her dissertation work.

The conclusions about racism and sexism are more speculative (but likely true).

I recommend this to anyone wanting to better understand large trends in job training and also the unique vulnerability of the lower socioeconomic classes. There are suggestions -- explicit and implicit-- on how we might better serve these groups.

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Now that's a dissertation

The author's work is so impactful (and it shames those of us, cough cough, whose dissertations were not valuable in the way this was). This is a detailed, thoughtful, and thorough analysis of for-profit education that is driven by original research including strong use of qualitative research models. I have been following this issue closely, particularly with the implosion of Argosy, but I learned so much from this book. Also I have said before and said again that I would be perfectly happy if Lisa Reneé Pitts narrated every book on audible. She is, bar none, the best narrator I have listened to (she narrates, also, the amazing Color of Money, and she delivers the words of wise black women with ferocity, but I wish they would use her more often and not as a niche narrator). This book is an easy recommendation.