Are you considering attending a for-profit college, sometimes also known as a career college? Here are some additional questions to ask of these institutions:
Is this institution regionally accredited?
According to the U.S. Department of Education, regional accreditation ensures "that education provided by institutions of higher education meets acceptable levels of quality." If your school is not accredited, you will not be able to access federal student aid (such as Pell Grants), your credits may not transfer to other schools, you may be unable to take certification or licensure exams, and potential employers may not recognize your degree. Be sure the institution is regionally accredited by checking this database.
Does the profession you hope to enter require the program you graduate from to have any additional accreditation, and does this institution have this accreditation?
Some specialized programs require additional accreditation to ensure high-quality instruction. This is particularly true of professions that require some kind of license or entrance exam to practice, such as healthcare, cosmetology and education. No accreditation could mean you would be unable to obtain a license. Be sure your program is accredited by going to this website; search by discipline to find the organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education to evaluate those programs. Use the websites and emails listed to find out if a program you are considering is fully accredited. Does the financial aid package you have been offered utilize federal student aid (such as Pell Grants or direct loans) to pay your tuition and fees?
If you meet certain requirements, you may be eligible for a combination of Pell Grants and federal loans. Utilize these options first because they will offer lower interest rates and more flexible repayment plans than private options. You can find out more about federal student aid here.
Is your financial aid package renewable for the length of your program?
If your financial aid package includes first-time student discounts, a "bonus" for responding to an advertisement or any similar funds, ask now how the institution will make up the deficit next semester or next year.
What are the average earnings in the field you are entering?
The institution may be able to provide this information, or you can find wage data by area and occupation on the U.S. Department of Labor's website. You may want to use the information you gather and your expected student debt to calculate how long it will take you to pay off your debt based on your expected future salary.
How successful are graduates of this program in getting career- track jobs related to their degree?
Does the profession you hope to enter require a degree of this kind? Is more education and training expected later before you can advance in the field?
How do the cost, accreditation and placement rates of this program compare with other not-for-profit institutions in the area?
As used herein, the term "personal information" means information that specifically identifies an individual (such as a name, address, telephone number, mobile number, e-mail address or credit card number) and information about that individual or his or her activities that is directly linked to personally identifying information. Personal information does not include "aggregate" information, which is data we collect about the use of the Sites or about a group or category of services or users, from which individual identities or other personal information has been removed. This Policy in no way restricts or limits our collection and use of aggregate information.
Personal information may be collected in a number of ways when you visit our Sites. We collect certain information you voluntarily provide to us, such as information provided when you create an account or a profile, make a donation, make a purchase, send us an e-mail, sign up to receive e-mail or text message updates, fill out a form, connect through a social feed, sign up to be a volunteer or host an event, request information, apply for an internship or use a registration form tool. Such information may include personal information, such as your name, mailing address, e-mail address, phone number, geographic location and credit card information. From time to time, we also may collect demographic information you voluntarily provide, such as information provided in response to questionnaires and surveys, including gender, ethnicity, education and interest information. If this information is tied to personally identifying information, it will be treated as personal information. Personal and demographic information also may be collected if you provide such information in connection with creating a profile or group, leaving a comment, posting a blog comment or other content, sending an e-mail or message to another user, or participating in any interactive forums or features on the Sites. In addition, from time to time, we may collect demographic, contact or other personal information you provide in connection with your participation in surveys, contests, games, promotions and other activities on the Sites. We also may obtain information from other sources and combine that with information we collect on our Sites. The AFT makes every effort to ensure the secure collection and transmission of your sensitive information using industry-accepted data collection and encryption methodologies, such as SSL (Secure Sockets Layer).
In addition, the federal government may require us to collect personal information from those who donate to COPE or those who make dues payments online.
When you use the Sites, some information is collected automatically, such as your Internet Protocol (IP) address, your operating system, the browser type, the address of a referring website and your activity on our Sites. If you access the Sites from a mobile device, we also may collect information about the type of mobile device you use, your device's unique ID, the type of mobile Internet browsers you use, and the location of your device. We treat this information as personal information if we combine it with or link it to any of the identifying information mentioned above. Otherwise, it is used in the aggregate only.
We use personal information collected through our Sites for the purposes described in this Policy or elsewhere on the Sites. For example, we may use personal information we collect:
We may store and process personal information in the United States and other countries.
It is our policy not to share the personal information we collect from you through our Sites with third parties, except as described in this Policy or as otherwise disclosed on the Sites. For example, we may share personal information as follows:
We are not responsible for the actions of any service providers or other third parties, nor are we responsible for any additional information you provide directly to any third parties, and we encourage you to become familiar with their privacy practices before disclosing information directly to any such parties. Nothing herein restricts the sharing of aggregated or "anonymized" information, which may be shared with third parties without your consent.
When you sign an online petition, you understand that such petition is public information and that we may make the petition, and your name, city, state and any comments provided in connection therewith, publicly available. In addition, we may provide such petitions or compilations thereof, including your comments, name, city and state to national, state or local leaders, or to the press.
We take reasonable measures to protect your personal information in an effort to prevent loss, misuse and unauthorized access, disclosure, alteration and destruction. Please be aware, however, that despite our efforts, no security measures are perfect or impenetrable, and no method of data transmission can be guaranteed against any interception or other type of misuse. To protect the confidentiality of personal information, you must keep any passwords confidential and not disclose them to any other person. You are responsible for all uses of our Sites by any person using your password. Please advise us immediately if you believe your password has been misused.
You may "opt out" of receiving text messages, e-mail updates and newsletters by following the instructions in those text messages and e-mails. Please note that we may still send you other types of e-mails, such as e-mails about your use of our Sites, or use information as otherwise described in this Policy, even if you opt out of receiving e-mail updates and newsletters. Changes to information in your account do not affect information provided to others as set forth in this Policy, including in connection with petitions or donations.
Corrections/Updating Personal Information:
If your personal information changes (such as your ZIP code) or you wish to have your information removed from our database, contact us and we will endeavor to provide a way to correct, update or remove that personal data.
If you have any questions about this Policy, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. AFT Restrictions.
You may not use the AFT website to submit, transmit, distribute, store or destroy material, including, without limitation, this website's content (a) in violation of any applicable law or regulation; (b) in a manner that will infringe the copyright, trademark, trade secret or other intellectual property rights of others, or that will violate the privacy, publicity or other personal rights of others, reveal confidential information or otherwise violate third-party proprietary rights without permission; or (c) in a manner that is profane, defamatory, violent, obscene, threatening, abusive or hateful, or that is potentially libelous or inflammatory. You also are prohibited from violating or attempting to violate the security of the AFT site, including, without limitation, the following activities: (a) attempting to probe, scan or test the vulnerability of a system or network, or to breach security or authentication measures without proper authorization; (b) attempting to interfere with communication to any user, host or network, including, without limitation, by submitting a virus to this or any AFT site, overloading, "flooding," "spamming," "mailbombing" or "crashing"; or (c) solicitation or advertisement. Violations of system or network security may result in civil or criminal liability. The AFT will investigate possible violations, and may involve, and cooperate with, law enforcement authorities in prosecuting users who are involved in such violations.
3. Use of Submissions.
4. Disclaimer of Warranty.
The AFT does not warrant that the AFT website will operate error-free or that the servers are free of computer viruses or other harmful mechanisms. If your use of the website results in the need for servicing or replacing equipment or data, the AFT is not responsible for those costs. In no event shall the AFT be liable for any damages whatsoever (including, without limitation, incidental and consequential damages, lost profits or damages resulting from lost data or business interruption) resulting from the use or inability to use the site, whether based on warranty, contract, tort or any other legal theory, and whether or not the AFT is advised of the possibility of such damages. The AFT, to the fullest extent permitted by law, disclaims all warranties, whether express or implied, in connection with the website and your use thereof. The AFT makes no warranties or representations about the accuracy or completeness of this site's content or the content of any sites linked to this site, and assumes no liability or responsibility for any direct or indirect, incidental, special, punitive or consequential damages whatsoever resulting from (a) any errors, mistakes or inaccuracies of content; (b) personal injury or property damage of any nature whatsoever resulting from your access to or use of AFT websites; (c) any unauthorized access to or use of AFT secure servers and/or any and all personal information and/or financial information stored therein; (d) any interruption or cessation of transmission to or from AFT websites; (e) any bugs, viruses, Trojan horses or the like, which may be transmitted to or through AFT websites by any third party; and/or (f) any errors or omissions in any content, or any loss or damage of any kind incurred as a result of the use of any content posted, e-mailed, transmitted or otherwise made available via AFT websites. The AFT shall not be liable for user submissions or the defamatory, offensive or illegal conduct of any third party, and the risk of harm or damage from the foregoing rests entirely with you.