Even in lean times, the $400 billion business of higher education is booming. Nowhere is this more true than in one of the fastest-growing — and most controversial — sectors of the industry: for-profit colleges and universities that cater to non-traditional students, often confer degrees over the Internet, and, along the way, successfully capture billions of federal financial aid dollars.
In College, Inc., correspondent Martin Smith investigates the promise and explosive growth of the for-profit higher education industry. Through interviews with school executives, government officials, admissions counselors, former students and industry observers, this film explores the tension between the industry — which says it’s helping an underserved student population obtain a quality education and marketable job skills — and critics who charge the for-profits with churning out worthless degrees that leave students with a mountain of debt.
At the center of it all stands a vulnerable population of potential students, often working adults eager for a university degree to move up the career ladder.