Online degrees with the greatest of sleaze

Who's really behind those infographic-spewing lead generation sites? A massive multi-billion-dollar education industry funded largely by taxpayers. Part III of a series.

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The good news? The heyday of for-profit education may already be behind us. In October, the University of Phoenix announced it was shuttering 115 locations, after a drop in enrollment of roughly 25 percent since 2010. Still, nearly three million students still attend for-profit schools (including more than 300,000 at the U. of Phoenix alone), most of them supported largely by you and me.

To be clear, not all online schools are bad, and not all for-profit educational institutions are sleazy. I firmly believe that online education is the future. Things like iTunes U, Kahn Academy, and K12.com have been an enormous boon to tens of thousands of students, as well as to me and my kids personally.

There’s even a place for ethical for-profit institutions in that mix. But only if we clean up the sleaze first. And at the moment that appears to be in bountiful supply.

See also:

Part I: Beware of fancy infographics -- spammers may be lurking behind them

Part II: How much money are you really worth to that lead gen site? More than you think.

Got a question about social media? TY4NS blogger Dan Tynan may have the answer (and if not, he’ll make something up). Visit his snarky, occasionally NSFW blog eSarcasm or follow him on Twitter: @tynanwrites. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-to’s, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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