Today, The Washington Post's Fact Checker Glen Kessler takes apart the U.S. Department of Education's calculations and refutes their claim that 72 percent of our programs produce graduates that earn less than a high school dropout.
In the article, Kessler concludes with the following:
In straining for a striking factoid, the Education Department went too far. Officials calculated a relatively high figure for the earnings of high school dropouts, compared to other available data. Then they compared it to average wages that likely were adversely affected by recent graduates unable to find employment.
Not only were these two data points apples and oranges, but the entire comparison to high school dropouts is fairly bogus. There's a reason academic researchers have not tried to compare the earnings of graduates for-profit colleges to the earnings of high school dropouts — it also would be considered an apples and oranges comparison unworthy of research.
Academic research suggests there are real differences in earning power between attendees of for-profit colleges and high school dropouts. That's also intuitive, suggesting there is something basically wrong with the statistic.
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