Not Every Sacramento College is Equal
Choosing a Sacramento college is a decision that requires careful research and planning. When interviewing colleges, use these questions as a guide to select the best college for you. Read on to find out if Campus, formerly known as MTI College, is the right choice for you and learn why Campus was voted the best vocational college in Sacramento.
1. What’s the total cost? How will I pay for tuition or expenses that my aid doesn’t cover? Find out if you will pay by course, semester, or program. Are there fees for dropping or adding a class? How much will you pay for books, equipment, uniforms, lab fees, or graduation fees? The Department of Education administers several major student aid programs in the forms of grants, loans, and work-study programs. Get details at studentaid.gov.
At Campus in Sacramento, students pay by the program and an overview of each program’s charges can be found on the program summary sheet. Furthermore, your cost for supplies will not change as you progress through the program, even if the prices for books or other program supplies increase in cost while you are in school. In addition to federal financial aid, such as Stafford Loans and Pell Grants, Campus also accepts GI Bill benefits and the Cal Grant.
2. Of the recent graduates who borrowed money to attend the school, what percentage are delinquent in paying back their loans? A high default rate could be a tip-off that students are burdened by too much debt or having trouble finding jobs in their field. Get information about student borrowers’ default rates at College Navigator (for the colleges you’re considering) and ED’s Federal Student Aid site (default rate by type of school – public, private non-profit or private for-profit.)
For 2011, the most recent Department of Education reported 2-year cohort default rate, Campus had a default rate of 5.5% compared to the national average rate of 10%.
3. Will a degree from this school get me where I want to go? Will you earn a certificate, a two-year degree, or a four-year degree? What percentage of students graduate? Use ED’s College Navigator to compare graduation and loan default rates, average debt at the school, tuition and expenses, and accreditation among schools. Ask the schools you’re considering to give you information in writing about job placement and average salaries for their graduates in the program you want to study. They may paint a glowing picture of student success and try to convince you that credentials from their institution will lead to a high-paying career in your chosen field. But some schools have been found to manipulate the data or lie about how well their graduates fare. Do some research using the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook. It has information about the average salary workers in a particular field are earning, the education or training needed, and the careers with the most new jobs so you can evaluate whether the results the school claims are realistic.
Campus offers programs that are designed to lead to employment in high-demand fields. In fact, for the 2011-2012 award year, over 91% of Campus graduates that were available for and actively seeking work secured training-related employment. The Campus Career Services department maintains a record of these placements. To increase the chances of hiring Campus graduates, Campus offers a salary-back guarantee to employers through its Guaranteed Graduate program.
4. Is there pressure to enroll? Is a recruiter rushing you to commit? Are they leaning on you to decide before you have a chance to research the program and confirm the details of financial aid? Recruiters may be paid based on how many students they bring in. Before you decide on a program, read the materials, including the contract. Can you cancel within a few days of signing up and, if so, do the materials tell you how to cancel? If the school refuses to give you documents to review before you commit, don’t enroll. Period.
Campus admissions advisors are trained to only enroll individuals who demonstrate the ability to benefit from its programs and whose interests match up with a program’s outcomes; they are never compensated on a per-enrollment basis. All applicants are given as much time as needed to review the enrollment documents and ensure that attending Campus is the right decision for them. If an individual cancels their enrollment before starting their program, they are not liable for any portion of the program tuition, books, or supplies.
5. Can I transfer credit I earn at this school to other schools? If a transfer to another college may be in your future, find out whether that school would accept the credits you earned at the first school. If you attend a community college, ask about their articulation agreement: that’s a formal statement of what community college courses and credits you can transfer to a particular four-year college.
Campus is established to offer programs that are designed to lead to employment upon graduation and not as a transfer institution. Furthermore, as with all colleges, acceptance of course credit is always up to the receiving institution. However, Campus does have articulation agreements with some colleges, like CSUS and Golden Gate University, which allow certain courses to be carried over for credit.
6. Is the school accredited? Accreditation usually is through a private education agency or association that evaluates the program and verifies that it meets certain requirements. Accreditation can be an important clue to a school’s ability to provide appropriate levels of training and education – but only if the accrediting body is reputable. Most institutions consider regional accreditation as the highest stamp of approval and may not accept the transfer of credits from a school with national accreditation. Accreditation also may affect how prospective employers view your credentials. Two reliable sources of information on accreditation are ED’s Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs and the Council for Higher Accreditation database.
Campus is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges through the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. On top of this accreditation, Campus is recognized as a Microsoft IT Academy, Oracle University Partner, Paul Mitchell School, and offers a paralegal program approved by the American Bar Association.
Important Note: These questions were put together with the help of the Federal Trade Commission’s “Eight Questions to Ask“.