A new study by five economists — three of them from Harvard University — demonstrates that employers are more likely to ignore résumés from job applicants with degrees and certificates from for-profit colleges and more likely to contact applicants who attended public (and often cheaper) nonselective universities.
The study, entitled “The Value of Postsecondary Credentials in the Labor Market: An Experimental Study, “appears in the current edition of The American Economic Review, an academic journal.
The quintet of economists conducted their research by submitting several mocked-up but realistic-looking résumés to employers in five major American cities. The researchers found the job openings by perusing job openings on “a large, nationally-recognized job search website.” They focused on jobs in the fields of business and health, according to Inside Higher Ed.
The fictitious résumés were constructed to be randomly identical except for the parts concerning the names of the institutions providing educational credentials. The professors put for-profit colleges on some of the résumés and public universities on others.
Employers in the general world of business were over 20 percent less likely to call back the concocted applicants advertising degrees from for-profit colleges on their résumés as opposed to the ones bearing public universities. (RELATED: Obama Administration Kills Corinthian Colleges)
Employers offering jobs in the health sector also preferred résumés featuring public universities over résumés featuring for-profit colleges. However, the preference diminished when the job involves an independent licensing test required of all candidates.
“Employers appear to view for-profit postsecondary credentials as a negative signal of applicant quality, particularly when objective measures of quality such as a licensing exam are unavailable,” the economists concluded.
Five economists conducted the research. David J. Deming, Claudia Goldin and Lawrence F. Katz are economics professors at Harvard. Noam Yuchtman is a professor at the University of California, Berkeley Haas School of Business. Amira Abulafi is an economist at the National Bureau of Economic Research.
The economists note in their study that America’s troubled for-profit college industry was responsible for 43 percent of the growth in America’s postsecondary school enrollment from 2002 to 2012. During those years, for-profit schools enrolled about 14 percent of all postsecondary students. (That’s 1 in every 7 students.) (RELATED: Behemoth For-Profit College Recruited HOMELESS PEOPLE In Desperate Federal Cash Grab)
A long, absolutely searing U.S. Senate report entitled “For Profit Higher Education: The Failure to Safeguard the Federal Investment and Ensure Student Success” lays out the appalling behavior by several for-profit education players.