Are for-profit colleges hurting online education’s reputation?

A report released by Harkin last year presented charts instructing for-profit college recruiters to prey on applicants’ “pain” and “fear” in persuading them to sign up for classes and large student loans.

In a document labeled the “pain funnel,” recruiters were given a list of questions designed to measure prospective students’ problems and what they’ve done to solve those problems.

The document’s final question asks: “Does the prospect have enough pain to qualify for the next step?”

Another document published by Harkin last year reminds for-profit recruiters that “we deal with people [who] live in the moment and for the moment. Their decision to start, stray in school, or quit school is based more on emotion than logic. Pain is the greater motivator in the short term.”

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