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Table 2: Telephone Calls Received as

a Result of Web site Inquiries

Student’s Student Location

1 2 3

GA CA MD

4

NV

Web Site Student Used

Degree Business Administration Business Administration Culinary Arts Culinary Arts

Number of Calls Received Within 24 Hours of Registering

A B A B

21 24 5 2

Most Calls

Total Number of

Received in One

Calls Received in

Daya

a Month

19

179

18

182

8

72

1

3

Source: GAO

aThis number is based on the number of calls received within the first month of registering but does not include the first 24 hours.

Tuition at For-Profit Colleges Is Sometimes Higher Than Tuition at Nearby Public and Private Nonprofit Colleges

During the course of our undercover applications, some college representatives told our applicants that their programs were a good value. For example, a representative of a privately owned for-profit college in California told our undercover applicant that the $14,495 cost of tuition for a computer-aided drafting certificate was “really low.” A representative at a for-profit college in Florida owned by a publicly traded company told our undercover applicant that the cost of their associate’s degree in criminal justice was definitely “worth the investment”. However, based on information we obtained from for-profit colleges we tested, and public and private nonprofit colleges in the same geographic region, we found that most certificate or associate’s degree programs at the for-profit colleges we tested cost more than similar degrees at public or private nonprofit colleges. We found that bachelor’s degrees obtained at the for-profit colleges we tested frequently cost more than similar degrees at public colleges in the area; however, bachelor’s degrees obtained at private nonprofit colleges nearby are often more expensive than at the for-profit colleges.

We compared the cost of tuition at the 15 for-profit colleges we visited, with public and private non-profit colleges located in the same geographic area as the for-profit college. We found that tuition in 14 out of 15 cases, regardless of degree, was more expensive at the for-profit college than at the closest public colleges. For 6 of the 15 for-profit colleges tested, we could not find a private nonprofit college located within 250 miles that offered a similar degree. For 1 of the 15, representatives from the private nonprofit college were unwilling to disclose their tuition rates when we inquired. At eight of the private nonprofit colleges for which we were able to obtain tuition information on a comparable degree, four of the for-profit colleges were more expensive than the private nonprofit college. In the

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GAO-10-948T

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