By Goldie Blumenstyk
On top of all the forces now weighing against the for-profit-college industry—continued government scrutiny, falling enrollments—there’s one that hasn’t grabbed any headlines but has the potential to upend some of the most visible players in the sector: robust and inventive competition.
MOOCs for credit, new ventures like the competency-based degrees from Southern New Hampshire University’s College for America, and online programs like the one the University of South Carolina is creating with its Palmetto College are some of the emerging ventures that now offer as much (or more) of the convenience and flexibility that were once for-profit colleges’ chief selling point.
By the end of 2013, at least 87 percent of the United States population will have the option of taking online courses from an in-state public or nonprofit college, according to an analysis from Deutsche Bank Securities. The same analysis shows that “progressive nonprofits”—those active in online education, like Western Governors University and Liberty University—have been growing in enrollment by at least 15 percent a year since 2006, while for-profit colleges’ online-only enrollments began to fall off sharply in 2009. In many cases, those public and nonprofit options are far less expensive than the for-profits are.
[ Full article available at The Chronicle of Higher Education: http://chronicle.com/article/For-Profit-Colleges-Consider/139851/ ]