Frequently Asked Questions

Q.  What is the MCCA?

A.  The Minnesota Career College Association (MCCA), formed in 1958, represents private institutions of higher learning delivering career specific education accredited by agencies recognized by the United States Department of Education.

Q.  How many members belong to the MCCA?

A.  MCCA represents 38 campuses and 16 college systems across the state of Minnesota.

Q.  How many students are served by MCCA members?

A.  Member institutions, in the fall of 2010, served over 26,000 students, offering programs from the certificate/diploma level through graduate degrees.

Q.  What is the makeup of the student population?

A.   On average:
  • 68% are full-time students
  • 20% are students of color
  • 65% are women
  • 56% are over the age of 25 years

What is the financial need of students?

A.  Ninety percent of career college students depend on some form of financial aid, compared to 82% for all Minnesota college students. Approximately 45% of students at MCCA member schools qualify for the Minnesota state grant, 55% qualify for federal grants and 64% qualify for federal subsidized loans.

Q.  Who are MCCA's stakeholders?

A.  They are:
  • Non-traditional adult students – Most likely attended other colleges and transferred credits to the MCCA college.
  • Employers – Actively involved in “Program Advisory Committees” to ensure that our graduates possess the skills needed for employment.
  • The Community – We are active participants in the local chamber of commerce, Rotary and other service organizations and join in community service projects.
  • The State of Minnesota – We partner with other sectors of higher education on task forces and study groups to improve the education delivered to the students.

This is a brief summary of the Myths and Facts about for-profit career colleges. More information, complete with charts and graphs can be found the MCCA brochure.

Myth: For-profit colleges often do not have appropriate accreditation.

Fact: For-profit accrediting organizations have been reviewed for quality by the United States Department of Education (DOE).
  • The most common recognized institutional accreditation is regional or national.
  • Specialized programmatic accrediting organizations also operate throughout the country and review programs and some single-purpose institutions.
  • MCCA members have either regional or national institutional accreditation as well as programmatic accreditation for their specialized programs.
  • Minnesota for-profit schools have one or more of 18 institutional or programmatic accreditations.

Myth: For-profit career colleges cost taxpayers more than public and non-profit institutions.
Fact: On a per-student basis, “For every $1 in direct government support for private for-profit institutions, per student, at federal, state and local levels, private not-for-profit institutions receive $8.69 per-student and public institutions receive $19.38 per-student.”
Source: Shapiro, R. and Pham, N. (2010). Taxpayers’ Cost to Support Higher Education: A Comparison of Public, Private Not-For-Profit and Private For-Profit institutions.

Myth: For-profit career colleges fail to prepare their graduates for employment.

Fact: Career college students are preparing for a specific career, and this objective is central to the mission of every MCCA member college. Students are typically trained on job search techniques and writing an effective resume and other correspondence, and frequently receive personal advice and assistance from a full-time campus employee dedicated to ensuring that every student has the opportunity to secure employment in their chosen field.

Myth: For-profit students default on student loans at a much higher rate than their peers in other sectors.

Fact: The Minnesota cohort default rates for 2009 for Private For Profit career schools was 6.4%; the rate for public community and technical colleges was 9.7%. The average for all institutions was 5.8%.

Myth: According to U. S. Senate data, over 75% of students who attend for-profit colleges are enrolled at colleges owned by Wall Street investors.

Fact: In Minnesota in 2010, 72% of all students attending MCCA for-profit colleges enrolled at colleges that are either family or privately owned.

Myth: For-profit colleges nationally enroll about 11% of all higher education students but receive nearly 25% of all federal financial aid.

Fact: In Minnesota, students enrolled at for-profit colleges in 2008 - 2009 were 20% of all higher education students in Minnesota and received 23% of all state and federal financial aid.

Myth: Credit transfers – some college credits earned at for-profits will not transfer to other institutions. The students should ask the for-profit college and the target transfer college if the credits will transfer.

Fact: Credits do not always transfer from one college to another even within the same system. All students, regardless of the sector they start with, will probably take more time to graduate if they are transferring between colleges instead of staying in one college. If students intend to transfer between colleges, they should ALWAYS check with the target college regardless of the college sector.

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