Inside Higher Ed reports that U.S. colleges are increasingly turning to for-profit pathway programs for international students in a bid to boost revenues.
In January 2010, Australia-based Navitas sealed its first U.S. deal, a 10-year contract with Western Kentucky University. Since then, the company has signed three more agreements – with the Universities of Massachusetts at Boston, Dartmouth and Lowell.
Students entering the Navitas program at Western Kentucky will need deep pockets. According to the fee schedule, the costs are over $22,000 for three semesters, plus a mandatory $1,000 medical insurance charge. The pre-master’s program is nearly $10,000 and runs just one semester.
With the U.S. recession clobbering college finances, other for-profit pathway providers are swooping down upon campuses across the country with promises of bountiful new revenue streams from full fee-paying international students. Study Group International, recently purchased by a U.S. private equity firm, is setting up programs at Dean and Fisher Colleges, and Madison University. Meanwhile, Kaplan International which already runs a “Global Pathways Program” at Northeastern University opened its second program earlier this year at the University of Utah. And UK-based INTO has signed long-term contracts with Oregon State University and the University of South Florida.
INTO’s joint ventures with Oregon State and South Florida generated headlines earlier this year when the Commission on English Language Accreditation initially revoked the accreditation of the two universities’ English language institutes after they were taken over by INTO.
Ironically, the rising number of private pathways programs comes at a time when the U.S. Congress is looking at new rules to reign in the more questionable practices of many for-profit colleges. Surely it’s time to shine a similar light on Navitas, Study Group, Kaplan and INTO?