The standard pitch for the for-profit university industry has been daytime and nighttime television commercials. For-profit colleges often set a cutting-edge standard in terms of business practices and setting the standard for advertising higher education. Television commercials for for-profit universities present a vision of higher education as tech savvy, culturally diverse, flexible, student-centered, and to some extent, a bit hip. Many institutions have improved their focus on serving older students to cater to adults with a one-stop admissions process, personalized counseling, and compressed course terms that are easier for working adults to take on.

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Although television advertisements for for-profit universities have seen increasing success in the past decade, recent advertisements have been tainted with lawsuits and complaints over their recruiting practices. For-profit universities have come under recent fire for promising a glittering future after three years without a high school diploma or a GED. For-profit universities spend less than one third of what public universities spend on educating their students, even though the for-profit universities charge nearly twice as much than the public universities for tuition.

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Kaplan University, for example, is one among several for-profit colleges whose recruiting tactics are facing scrutiny in court cases and at the U.S. Department of Education, where officials are now weighing new regulations. The same issue could apply to the University of Phoenix, which is spending tens of millions on its own well-regarded, adult-focused ad campaign, using “I am a Phoenix” as its theme. The high cost of education to cover these marketing expenses is putting students in very bad positions financially. Furthermore, the low quality output of these major for-profit institutions is leaving students with little chances of finding any type of gainful employment.

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