When seeking a degree, students should embrace a healthy level of skepticism if they’re looking into a for-profit college. These institutions can easily saddle students who graduate with heaps of debt that don’t match their earning potential—assuming the student graduates in the first place.
But many students may be attracted to these schools due to their vocational training programs, higher acceptance rates, and flexible hours.
Averaging the scores of for-profit college rankings from U.S. News, uniRank, and Prepler across the U.S., Yahoo News and Insider Monkey created their own list that streamlines the results into one place. Factoring into the rankings are faculty resources, student enrollment and retainment, school reputation, and spending per student on instruction, to name but a few.
Some of these schools have been publicly legitimized by their niches. Academy of Art University, for example, has participated in New York Fashion Week since 2005. Sullivan University, distinguished for its culinary program, was the only school in the U.S. to be officially invited to the Beijing Olympics in 2008 to prepare meals for Olympic competitors and sponsors.
The top school on the list was unanimously ranked #1 across the college ranking websites previously mentioned. When taking Grand Canyon University out of the non-profit arena and stacking it against all the best national universities in the country, the school ranked between 330 and 441, according to U.S. News. (Note: According to the public relations office at Grand Canyon University, the institution is a nonprofit entity but is classified as a proprietary institution solely for the purposes of federal funding, which requires it to adhere to the stricter regulations for federal funding that apply to for-profit schools. Officials from GCU also note that they did not and do not submit information to U.S. News for use in determining their rankings.)
The second-top school, Colorado Technical University, was regarded as the best online and non-traditional university for veterans in 2013, 2014, and 2016 by Military Times.
The average annual tuition among these schools is $23,736 per year.
These were named the top 10 for-profit schools: