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Why Should You Prefer Non-Profit Schools to For-Profit Schools?

Pres. Obama records video with an iPad during a classroom visit at Buck Lodge Middle School in 2014. (Photo by Pete Souza).

By Savaram Ravindra*

All schools, universities, and colleges are either for-profit or non-profit; the distinction is as clear as it sounds. A for-profit school uses fees and tuition to make a profit whereas a non-profit school reinvests the tuition dollars of a student to improve faculty, facilities, and programs on the campus. Most of the revenue generated by for-profit schools gets returned to shareholders and investors, leaving only a small amount of money for reinvestment in the school. Let’s know in-detail about non-profit and for-profit schools.

Non-profit Schools

Non-profit schools get their funds via government, endowments, donations, and tuition dollars. They don’t make a profit. They spend the extra amount by reinvesting into the school for buying library books and computers, supporting extracurricular teams and activities, assist with student and faculty research, and develop new buildings. These projects aim to enhance school quality.

For-profit Schools

For-profit colleges are businesses and so their advertisements appear so often on television and in magazines. Private corporations own this kind of schools where more students equal more revenue. The requirements for admissions may be quite relaxed as the goal is to increase enrollment figures.

For-profit schools may not have a dedicated campus. Instead, they may lease space in an office building to use as classrooms or offices for administrative purposes. The school retains only a small portion of the profit.

Fee Structure

Admissions to for-profit institutions involve more costs. When it comes to financial aid, for-profit institutions have a history of inflating their tuition prices so that federal financial aid is not enough to cover the attendance cost. You must be aware of how the for-profit school will affect your finances before deciding to attend it. The non-profit schools provide similar programs for a much reasonable cost in the same city.


Non-profits provide an environment for learning that is designed while keeping the students in mind. Non-profits are owned by no one and the board of directors operates them without getting any payment. There are no shareholders and stocks to generate income for, either. So, they are free to keep the motivation and focus on offering an education with high quality to their students.

For-profits operate as a business to make money for shareholders and owners by providing their product(education). They should offer financial returns(profits) to their investors. The supporters assert that for-profit schools function more effectively since they can slash down costs very easily in the name of creating returns. Additionally, they do not have the extra-curricular expenses or recreation facilities that traditional schools have. They believe are spending more tuition on students’ learning.

Admission Process and Obtaining a Degree

Most of the non-profit universities and colleges are accredited regionally. For-profit schools can be accredited regionally but more likely; they are not. Non-profit schools, in general, have a better reputation in the workforce as well as in the real world when compared with their for-profit competitors.

The situation of for-profit colleges is such that it is getting difficult for many students to even graduate. As per a report by The New York Times in 2012, the odds of getting a bachelor’s degree would be 1 in 5 within 5 to 6 years and the situation is almost the same at present.

The ongoing process for admissions for non-profit schools is such that, if you do not have the skills to start a degree program, your application will get rejected. On the contrary, if you apply to a for-profit school for beginning your degree program and even if you do not possess the required skills, your application may get accepted as your check is cleared. Because of this, the students obtaining a degree from non-profit schools are more in number when compared with for-profit schools.

There are many non-profit schools that are prioritizing and encouraging quality education for low-income students in neighborhoods where access to excellent schools is limited. Few of them are University of the People, Rocketship Education, Western Governors University, Nova Southeastern University, Georgetown University, and so on.


Never opt for a school, university, or college without getting relevant information about them. The best way to obtain information is by talking with people who have already studied there. Before you commit, get the inside scoop. Ask anyone at the office of admissions to introduce you to some alumni in case you don’t know anyone at that particular college. Try to clear all your doubts with the alumni then. The best advice is to try to be very cautious when selecting a school or a college as it may be the turning point in your career. This post conveys that non-profit schools are a better choice when compared with their for-profit counterparts.

(*) Savaram Ravindra is a Content Contributor at Mindmajix.com.


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  1. Your contrast that for-profit schools accept students regardless of qualification and non-profit studies a student's qualification before acceptance is probably why so many for-profit students have trouble finding jobs when they graduate.

    But if you're self-aware and looking for options on a tight schedule, for-profit has always been focused on making online education stronger. Non-profits and public schools are still catching up.