By Guest Contributor Tressie McMillan Cottom, cross-posted from The Feminist Wire
Most of us have seen the ads exhorting us to “call today!” to start on a new future with a college degree. How many of us have noticed the faces in those ads?
The gender, race, and affect of the faces and voices in for-profit college marketing are the kinds of things I notice in the course of my research about schools like Strayer, Everest, the University of Phoenix and any number of name brands that seem to pop up every month. We know a lot about how much for-profit colleges cost (as much as the most elite college degrees) and we know a little about whom they serve but we do not ask a lot about why they serve whom they serve.
It is difficult for me to not ask that question. I interview for-profit students to ask of them what many of us have asked ourselves when one of those ads pops up at the train station or on late-night TV: why would someone enroll in a for-profit school?