Nonprofit colleges? For-profit colleges? Not sure what the difference is or why you should care? You might think all technical colleges are the same. And, while it may be hard to initially see any differences when you’re considering schools, it’s worth taking a closer look.

Nonprofit vs. For-Profit Colleges

So, what is the biggest difference you’ll find when you compare for-profit vs. nonprofit schools? Basically, for-profit colleges are businesses. They’re owned and operated by other businesses or people who want to make money from the school. Any money made by for-profit colleges from tuition or other fees are paid to the school’s shareholders. As a result, other student services, like tutoring, financial aid, career counseling, and job placement, become less of a priority at for-profit colleges.

Nonprofit colleges, on the other hand, are driven by what’s in the best interest of the students. They don’t have shareholders or stockholders. Schools, like Ranken Technical College, are instead free to focus on programs, facilities, and instructors in order to help students be successful in their professional careers.

Every dollar Ranken makes goes right back into the college, which is why we’ve been able to open new locations, like in Ranken West, and build an on-campus dorm. We’re committed to keeping Ranken’s shops and labs outfitted with the latest technology and equipment.

The U.S. Senate has a committee dedicated to education – it’s called the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee. In 2012, they shared findings after reviewing for-profit colleges and comparing for-profit vs. nonprofit schools. They found that:

  • For-profit colleges are more expensive, while nonprofit colleges are more affordable.
  • For-profit institutions have to provide adequate financial returns for their shareholders and stakeholders. Making a profit is an absolute priority.
  • Non-profit institutions operate independently of an owner structure and are free to focus on providing quality education to students.

So, if you’re weighing the options of for-profit vs. nonprofit schools, just know the differences may not be obvious but can greatly impact the type of education you receive, the facilities you’ll enjoy, and the reputation of the degree or certificate on your resume.