Tressie McMillan Cottom studies for-profit colleges as a sociologist at Virginia Commonwealth University. She's analyzed large data sets, scrutinized financial filings, interviewed students and staff. But she has also helped enroll students at two different for-profits herself.
They're not named, but known only as "Beauty College" and "Technical College," in her new book, Lower Ed.
NPR Ed has covered both the rise, and some of the travails, of this form of education. We called up Cottom to hear her thoughts. Here's an edited version of our conversation.