did not provide applicants with accurate or complete information about graduation rates. Of these thirteen, four provided graduation rate information in some form on their Web site, although it required a considerable amount of searching to locate the information. Nine schools did not provide graduation rates either during our in person visit or on their Web sites. For example, when asked for the graduation rate, a representative at a college in Arizona owned by a publicly traded company said that last year 90 students graduated, but did not disclose the actual graduation rate. When our undercover applicant asked about graduation rates at a college in Pennsylvania owned by a publicly traded company, he was told that if all work was completed, then the applicant should successfully complete the program—again the representative failed to disclose the college’s graduation rate when asked. However, because graduation rate information was available at both these colleges’ Web sites, the colleges were in compliance with Education regulations.
In addition, according to federal regulations, a college may not misrepresent the employability of its graduates, including the college’s ability to secure its graduates employment. However, representatives at two colleges told our undercover applicants that they were guaranteed or virtually guaranteed employment upon completion of the program. At five colleges, our undercover applicants were given potentially deceptive information about prospective salaries. Examples of deceptive or otherwise questionable information told to our undercover applicants included:
A college owned by a publicly traded company told our applicant that, after completing an associate’s degree in criminal justice, he could try to go work for the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the Central Intelligence Agency. While other careers within those agencies may be possible, positions as a FBI Special Agent or CIA Clandestine Officer, require a bachelor’s degree at a minimum.
A small beauty college told our applicant that barbers can earn $150,000 to $250,000 a year. While this may be true in exceptional circumstances, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that 90 percent of barbers make less than $43,000 a year.
A college owned by a publicly traded company told our applicant that instead of obtaining a criminal justice associate’s degree, she should consider a medical assisting certificate and that after only 9 months of college, she could earn up to $68,000 a year. A salary this high would be