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Dec 24

I Love Steno The Student Edition: Things To Know Before You Enroll In A For-Profit School

New York City’s website offers advice for citizens who are considering enrolling in for-profit schools. (Note: This advice is great for students who reside in any locality.) The site states: “As the number of enrollees continues to grow, there is concern about these schools’ high cost and aggressive marketing, especially when few students are graduating and few graduates are finding jobs. For-profit schools widely market their services on subways and buses, TV and radio, and in community and ethnic newspapers, but many students are unaware of the potential implications of enrolling in a for-profit school or of the free and low-cost education and training programs that are available.”

NYC.gov also offers the following 10 tips to consider before enrolling in a for-profit school:

“(1) Free and low-cost education and training options are available.
There are many free and low-cost options for adult education and training.

(2) If a school or training program sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

(3) Research, research, research.
Consider multiple schools before deciding which one is right for you. Ask for information on graduation and completion rates, student loan debt, and whether or not the credits you get will transfer to other schools. Sit in on a class, ask to speak to former students who have completed the program, and read reviews from real students in the NYC Training Guide. Ask to see a list of employers that hire graduates, and call those businesses to ask their opinion of the school. You should also research the general field you’re interested in to make sure it’s the right fit and there’s potential for job availability and growth.

(4) Avoid unlicensed schools.
Some schools are operating illegally. Remember, even if a school has a license, it might not be well-run, so research the school before you sign up.

(5) Don’t sign up the day you visit a school.
Before you sign up, you need to understand how much the program will cost and how you will pay for it. Do not make such an important decision on the spot! Take your time, and research the school. Use our online resources below to learn more about specific schools and programs.

(6) Never sign anything you don’t understand.
If a school pressures you to sign a contract or agreement on the spot, walk away. You have the right to bring home important forms so you can read them more carefully and review them with people you trust.

(7) Ask for the school’s tuition cancellation policy in writing.
The policy should describe how you can get a refund if you need to cancel or withdraw. However, once you have signed up, it can be tough to get your money back.

(8) Be careful of taking on a lot of debt.
Some schools charge tens of thousands of dollars. Often, the “financial aid” that is available isn’t free money, but rather loans you have to pay back – with interest. School loans last a long time, and there’s a limit on how much money you can borrow. Loans can also lower your credit score if you don’t pay them back on time. Make sure you understand the terms and will be able to make the payments.

(9) Avoid schools that “guarantee employment” after you graduate.
A school can’t guarantee that you’ll get a job when you graduate. Many times, the schools that make these types of promises don’t actually place you in a job.

(10) You have the right to file a complaint.
Did you enroll in a school or training program but didn’t get what you were promised? You can file a complaint…In New York City, call 311, or contact 311 online.” In other jurisdictions, research your complaint options.

This is awesome advice!

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