The Daily Tar Heel
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The Daily Tar Heel

The wrong business

U.S. lawmakers should not compel nonprofit colleges and universities to consider honoring credits from for-profit educational institutions.

Lawmakers in Washington, D.C., are considering a bill that would require nonprofit universities like UNC to consider accepting transfer credit from for-profit educational institutions.

UNC does not accept credit from for-profit schools, and Congress shouldn't force it and other universities to do so. Plainly put, for-profit schools do not stack up to nonprofit institutions.

There is something fundamentally flawed with an institution that claims to educate - but only in exchange for a little something to take to the bank.

Though nonprofit colleges charge for their services, it is not to raise a profit. But for entities like the University of Phoenix and Kaplan Inc., money - not higher ideals of spreading knowledge - is the motivator.

Case in point: The University of Phoenix pressured recruiters to admit unqualified students to boost enrollment, The Associated Press reported this month. The government fined the school almost $10 million for trying to increase its profit margin in such a manner.

Businesses do not have any business offering degrees. Relatively few of them are regionally accredited compared to nonprofit schools, and many students in for-profit programs likely are unaware of the difficulty of transferring credit to more traditional colleges and universities.

However, for-profit institutions can provide beneficial services, including training seminars and one-time courses that have intrinsic value. For example, a computer programmer might need to learn the newest language and would have no interest in working toward a degree.

For Congress to think about forcing universities with strong academic reputations to consider accepting credit from a business is wrong.

It would be disturbing for the federal government to interfere in the affairs of colleges and universities to such an extent.

A for-profit school might be a good choice for a professional seeking to learn and update specific skills. But the job of educating future generations primarily should be left to universities that care about more than how many dollars they can make off of students.

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