Private Vocational Schools

What better way to advance yourself and your career than through a practical education?  You may find just the program of study you are looking for at a private vocational school.  But first, there are some important things to keep in mind when you are considering a higher education program and your options for paying the tuition and fees.  

Before you select a program, make sure that the school is accredited in accordance with the requirements of the United States Department of Education and authorized to operate by Georgia’s Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission (NPEC).  NPEC regulates most proprietary schools in Georgia and sets certain standards they must meet, including faculty qualification requirements and financial standing.  The Commission publishes a list of institutions and the programs they are authorized to offer.  Complaints regarding a private vocational school’s adherence to state standards can be filed with NPEC. 

The Governor's Office of Consumer Protection will accept complaints about private vocational schools that engage in deceptive advertising practices.    

Assistance from the Federal Government

Are you wondering how you will finance your education?  The U. S. Department of Education can provide you with information, including the many federal loan options.   If you already have a student loan and are having problems, go to StudentAid.gov, the U.S. Department of Education's federal student aid information website. The department’s Office of the Inspector General also accepts individual complaints about school loans, including fraud and misrepresentation.  You may make a report in confidence or anonymously. 

StudentAid.gov provides information about the types of aid available, the eligibility requirements, helps you estimate how much aid you are eligible for, and has a free online application for Federal Student Aid.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) monitors the private vocational school industry’s compliance with federal laws and can investigate widespread complaints and take corrective action against violators.  The FTC offers tips for potential students in the brochure Choosing a Career or Vocational School. 

The  National Consumer Law Center, a private organization, offers resources on the legal ramifications of student loans.

Tips for Prospective Students

There are certain things you should consider to help you settle on the school and program that are right for you:

Find a school that matches your interest and goals.

  • What kind of career and technical training do you want?
  • Which schools offer the training or program you need?
  • What preparation do you need for a particular job?
  • Will employers accept the training as preparation for employment?

Choose your school with care.

  • Is the school you are considering accredited and licensed?
  • What are the requirements for admission?
  • Will your coursework transfer to another school?
  • Is crime at the school a problem?
  • Have you visited the school to meet its facility and staff?

Decide how you are going to pay for your education.

  • How much will you pay for the program or training?
  • Is financial assistance or student aid available?
  • Will you have to sign an enrollment contract?
  • What is the school’s refund policy?

Other special considerations:

  • Will your program be delivered by distance education?
  • Does the school offer job placement assistance?
  • Will you be able to make use of your degree?

Further Reading