For-profit colleges drastically outspend competing institutions on advertising

By Alejandro Vazquez-Martinez, Michael Hansen

As for-profit colleges ramp up their advertising to attract students and laid-off workers stuck at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, a new report from the Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings offers new, salient insights on the multimillion-dollar world of college advertising. Authors Stephanie Cellini and Latika Chaudhary found that for-profit institutions far outspend nonprofit and public universities on commercial advertising: In fact, degree-granting for-profit institutions account for about 40% of all higher education advertising spending, while serving just 6% of students.

For-profit colleges have historically attracted both praise as innovators and scrutiny as opportunists

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