April 12, 2013: Original Story found on The Boston Globe's website.
Private Sector Colleges and Universities Play Needed Role
WHILE WE agree with Attorney General Martha Coakley that safeguards must be in place to prevent fiscal crises in any sector, we cannot support her comparison of the subprime mortgage crisis with rising student debt, especially in light of America’s increasing skills gap ("Familiar warning signs in for-profit schools," Op-ed, April 10).
Even in a state with a long history in higher education, proposals like Coakley’s will result in limiting higher education access. Our nation faces a shortfall in education capacity to train students for in-demand careers. Despite best intentions, public institutions cannot fill those gaps alone. According to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, the state, like others, has cut support for higher education spending by 31 percent since 2001.
Private enterprises have stepped in to fill the gap. Today, private sector institutions in Massachusetts account for 70 percent of all certificates awarded in the state and our schools employ nearly 3,000 dedicated workers.
Instead of demonizing one type of institution, let us find a way to work together to grow the connection between postsecondary education and careers.
PSCUs open doors to many of the 9 million unemployed and 90 million undereducated Americans by providing a skills-based education. To remain competitive over the next decade, we must identify between 8 and 23 million new workers with postsecondary skills. PSCUs are a necessary part of that solution, having produced over 800,000 degrees last year alone.