By Amy Feldman

By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Considering how much money you’re paying for tuition, it’s hard to believe that any colleges are nonprofit. In fact, the vast majority are. So what is the difference between a for profit college and a nonprofit college and how do you know which one it is?

It’s not always so easy to tell, when you consider that Arizona State is a nonprofit institution, but University of Phoenix is for profit.

For profit colleges have been on the rise since 1992 when Congress changed funding requirements so that for profit institutions could be eligible for federal funding including student loans and federal grants. Both use dot-edu. And both types must meet state accreditation requirements.

But, they’re organized differently; a for profit college like any corporation is primarily to make money for the shareholders, and not for the benefit of the students so the graduation rate is often much lower; the Boston Globe has reported it’s around 28% of those who’ve paid tuition.

Before plunking down your big fat tuition payment anywhere, ask: what are your graduation rates? What’s the job placement rate? Who accepts transfer credits? And then you can ask: do you have a Frisbee team?

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