Saturday, May 16, 2009

Regulation of California Vocational Schools

In 2007, the Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education agency which once regulated California's vocational/trade/career schools ceased to exist, when the legislation which authorized it was allowed to slide, unimpeded, off the book of laws when the legislature failed to renew it. The Bureau was disdained by the schools it regulated and consumer advocates alike. Since that time California's career schools have been under only voluntary regulations and attempts to pass a new law, specifically SB 823, have been unsuccessful as career schools felt the proposed law was too strict.

Now another law, AB 48, has been proposed. The Consumer Federation of California has proposed much needed reforms to the proposed law.

Transfer of credits is one of the most important ones. Credits earned at these career institutions are very seldom taken by regional accredited universities. In own study performed by the career schools themselves, only 18% were taken. Career schools have complained long and hard about this situation and even tried to force the federal government to mandate that their credits would transfer, however, generally, their course work is geared toward preparing students for careers and not academic proficiency thus, they are though to be inferior. Without regards to the merits of this argument, that is the present reality and students need to be made aware of this fact. However, the fact that a career school education is not necessarily portable to a regionally accredited school, is detrimental to its marketability thus for-profit schools wish to obscure this fact. Careers schools should be forced to divulge this information in the enrollment agreement in no uncertain terms.