Lower Ed: The Troubling Rose of For-Profit Colleges in the New Economy


Lower Ed: The Troubling Rose of For-Profit Colleges in the New Economy



About the book: More than two million students are enrolled in for-profit colleges, from the small family-run operations to the behemoths brandished on billboards, subway ads, and late-night commercials. These schools have been around just as long as their bucolic not-for-profit counterparts, yet shockingly little is known about why they have expanded so rapidly in recent years--during the so-called Wall Street era of for-profit colleges. 

In Lower Ed Tressie McMillan Cottom--a bold and rising public scholar, herself once a recruiter at two for-profit colleges--expertly parses the fraught dynamics of this big-money industry to show precisely how it is part and parcel of the growing inequality plaguing the country today. McMillan Cottom discloses the shrewd recruitment and marketing strategies that these schools deploy and explains how, despite the well-documented predatory practices of some and the campus closings of others, ending for-profit colleges won't end the vulnerabilities that made them the fastest growing sector of higher education at the turn of the twenty-first century. And she doesn't stop there. 
With sharp insight and deliberate acumen, McMillan Cottom delivers a comprehensive view of postsecondary for-profit education by illuminating the experiences of the everyday people behind the shareholder earnings, congressional battles, and student debt disasters. The relatable human stories in Lower Ed--from mothers struggling to pay for beauty school to working class guys seeking "good jobs" to accomplished professionals pursuing doctoral degrees--illustrate that the growth of for-profit colleges is inextricably linked to larger questions of race, gender, work, and the promise of opportunity in America. 

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About the author: Tressie McMillan Cottom, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of sociology at Virginia Commonwealth University and faculty associate with Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society.

Her research on higher education, work and technological change in the new economy has been supported by the Microsoft Research Network’s Social Media Collective, The Kresge Foundation, the American Educational Research Association and the UC Davis Center for Poverty Research.

Millions List, a leader in publishing, named her book Lower Ed: The Troubling Rise of For-Profit Colleges in the New Economy one of the most anticipated non-fiction books of 2016. She has published on race/class/gender, education, and technology in the new economy.

McMillan Cottom is also co-editor of two academic books: Digital Sociologies from Policy Press and For Profit U from Palgrave MacMillan. She speaks extensively, including recent invitations to The White House, South Africa, New Zealand, and Italy.

Her public scholarship has appeared inThe New York TimesThe Washington PostSlate, and The Atlantic to name a few.

She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in race, theory and digital sociology.