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This blog has discussed several times the stark student notification difference between the state’s requirements for private career schools and public colleges. In short, private career schools like ITT have to provide program-related graduation rates, employment rates, and placement rates. (There’s a difference between employment and placement, which the state actually recognizes when it deals with private schools.) Open the link in the highlighted text to go to a post containing an image of one section of the Texas Workforce Commission’s Form PS-005, which private schools must provide to prospective students before enrollment. In stark contrast, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, which oversees public colleges, has no requirements for public two-year colleges along those lines. It’s the Wild West out there, and just about anything goes, including bloated “placement” statistics, that suck students into public college programs.

Now, that’s not to say that public colleges, particularly public technical colleges, which are this blog’s focus, of course, don’t have some good programs. They do. The problem is that they have some stinkers, too. I wouldn’t have a problem with those stinkers either if students were given accurate program-related information like private school students and then chose to enroll in those programs anyway. That would be fine with me. I just want them to throw down their signatures and money with their eyes wide open. That’s not happening right now as some of the comments below, taken from TSTC Waco’s Alumni Employment Survey, Fall 2012,  indicate. Some of the comments reflect well on the school and that particular program, some sure as heck don’t. In at least a couple of those comments, the students obviously felt duped. Click on the images below to enlarge the survey report’s student comments, both pages of which I’ve included:

TSTC Waco Alumni Employment Survey Fall 2012 Comments p1 131027 TSTC Waco Alumni Employment Survey Fall 2012 Comments p2 131027

As I said earlier, some programs perform well out there in the real world and some don’t. The student who finished the Dental Assistant Program is absolutely thrilled. Great! Another commenter openly complains that the school didn’t provide sufficient information about the program beforehand.

Texas two-year public colleges, particularly technical colleges, which are most closely aligned with private career schools and compete for the same students in many cases, can do better–much better.

It’s the right thing to do. It’s the student-centered thing to do.