Last week, I traveled to Aventura, Florida to take part in the 2014 Florida Association of Private Schools and Colleges (FAPSC) Annual Conference. Over 350 administrators and educators from private sector colleges were at the conference, a mini-APSCU of sorts. I had the chance to speak with many attendees, and there seemed to be a common theme: what really matters is the student, and helping create opportunities for them to find success in life.
One conversation that stood out to me was with a campus director at a private sector college that is part of a larger education corporation. With tears in his eyes, he described how his campus had a student come to them who was a runaway. She tried to enroll in their school, only to discover that her diploma was from an unaccredited diploma mill. Not only did this school help this student earn the high school diploma she needed to enroll, while providing her with housing, but on the day of her graduation from high school, they reunited her with her mother. The student is now enrolled in his school’s Nursing Assistant program, one of the most competitive programs offered, and is at the top of her class.
This was just one of many similar conversations I had throughout the course of the conference. Private sector colleges have been under the microscope for the last couple of years and there certainly has been some bad press, but at many private sector institutions, you’ll find there are real people making a real difference, and truly want to see their students succeed. I’m happy there were so many of those people at FAPSC 2014.