The Role of the For-Profit Sector in Higher Education

This analysis of national datasets examines the relative size and importance of the for-profit sector and compares education and labor market outcomes (employment, earnings, pattern of unemployment, and industry and occupation of employment) for those attending for-profit institutions versus similar students attending public institutions. The project pays particular attention to the characteristics of students in the for-profit and public sectors to determine whether there are systematic racial/ethnic and socioeconomic status differences between the two groups. The researchers also carried out a “resume audit” study to determine whether employers are more or less likely to respond to resumes that are randomly assigned a for-profit credential.

Project Leads

David Deming, Harvard University

Claudia Goldin, Harvard University

Lawrence Katz, Harvard University

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Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment, Teachers College, Columbia University
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The Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment was established in the summer of 2011 through a grant (R305C110011) from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) of the U.S. Department of Education.
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