Second of a two-part white paper: Reshaping the perceptions of for-profit colleges and institutes.

Thursday, July 26, 2012 4:30 PM

Every student is different, deriving the most benefit from an individualized program of postsecondary courses, learning environment and class schedule that best meet the needs for a desired career. Many high school seniors seek the guidance of teachers and counselors when making that choice. Following are seven basic questions about a school teachers should research in order to provide the best counsel possible:

• Does the school offer the exact program that the student wants?
• What is the school’s graduation rate as reported on its annual reports?

• How long will it take for a student to complete all her or his courses, and does the school make available the right course schedules to facilitate timely completion and graduation?
• What specific assistance does the school offer to help graduates get the jobs for which they trained? And, what was the school’s placement rate for the previous year?
• What are the average class sizes at the school?
• What is the student-to-counselor ratio on campus?
• If a student needs help, is quality tutoring assistance available?

High school teachers and administrators want what’s best for their students; so does Fortis. The school takes its postsecondary education responsibility seriously. In fact, it takes it to the next level through “The Fortis Difference,” a measurable approach to providing students the highest quality education experience. Fortis measures the performance of its programs through five key metrics:

• Graduation Rates – Fortis graduation rates compare favorably with, and, in many cases, exceed the national average for all post-secondary institutions. Full disclosure of the most current graduation rates is available online at
• Licensure Rates – We are very proud of the licensure rates for Fortis graduates. Licensure rates, in many cases, exceed the national average. Full disclosure of the licensure rate is available at

• Placement Rates – We are very proud of our audited placement rates for our individual campuses which are reported to campus accreditation bodies and are available at
• Time-to-Job – Fortis prepares students quickly for professions in healthcare, allied health and service trades. For example, Allied Medical students can progress from the classroom to a job in nine months, and Registered Nurse candidates can do the same in less than two years.

• Student Satisfaction Scores – Fortis has implemented a “Listen to our Students” program that provides student feedback from each campus and helps measures the percentage of students who are completely satisfied with the quality of their instructors, curricula, lab training, placement resources and overall education experience. Fortis has received more than 80,000 student satisfaction surveys and is pleased to share that:
- More than 90% of students are satisfied with the Fortis faculty
- More than 90% of students are satisfied with the Fortis curriculum
- More than 85% of students would refer a friend to a Fortis campus

However, the Department of Education is trying to erect roadblocks that apply only to for-profit schools, rather than the full spectrum of education. In effect, the new rules being advocated restrict educational opportunities for the very students they purportedly are trying to help. That’s hardly productive. It’s like all schools in a district being labeled as bad because a few received poor scores in standardized testing. Teachers and administrators from “good” schools would rightfully feel unappreciated or demoralized. Rather than resolving a problem, it would have made it worse. 

Like the good educators they are, private sector colleges seek to do what’s best for their students. At Fortis, we’re willing to “play by the rules.” But, we believe the fair and right approach is to make the playing field the same for everyone. Where change is needed, it should be made across the board.