A new study from news outlet WBEZ has concluded that students are not benefiting from Illinois for-profit colleges. The research, which analyzed federal data in addition to surveying more than 250 current and former students, determined that students finds themselves in a worse situation after attending for-profit colleges in Illinois. The students, according to the study, face a large amount of debt after attending the schools and struggle to find profitable jobs. A large of the students who are affected are Black students, the study adds.  

“The for-profit playbook is to meet these communities where they are, capitalize on the lack of infrastructure, lack of funding, lack of opportunities and then dangle that promise of economic security, economic stability, economic mobility, to these same folks,” Aissa Canchola Bañez, policy director for the not-for-profit Student Borrower Protection Center, told the Chicago Sun-Times. “And the results are catastrophic.”

According to WBEZ’s data, only one-third of about 90 for-profit Illinois schools graduated students who earn more than high school graduates. At DeVry, which is considered one of the better for-profit schools in Illinois, the average graduate still earns less than those who finish high school. The median pay for DeVry students, according to the data, is $45,200.

Federal data shows that for-profit colleges earn a large portion of their revenue from tuition and fees. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, experts say this revenue method encourages the schools to spend much of their money on attracting students, but not educate them once they enroll.

“At for-profit institutions, more of that money is just going back to trying to get more students to enroll,” Dominique Baker, a higher education researcher at the University of Delaware, told the Sun-Times.

Baker adds that this is a far contrast from nonprofit institutions, where tuition revenue is “funneled into things like instruction and helping to sort of craft and improve what’s happening in the learning environment.”

According to WBEZ, about 40% of the for-profit college students surveyed for the study said they are carrying a debt of at least $30,000.