Advanced College is a for-profit school in South Gate, California, a Los Angeles suburb that’s 95 percent Hispanic. Photos on Google Maps show a one-story beige building with a small parking lot. A banner on a car stereo store next door announces, “No Credit Needed.” Two doors down, there’s a crematorium, and across the street, a burger shop. Advanced College offers only seven programs, according to its website, including a credential in “computerized accounting” (tuition and fees: $13,573), a certificate in phlebotomy ($3,500), and a certificate in vocational nursing ($35,000).
The Department of Education’s College Scorecard reports that the school had only 31 students and a mere 52 percent completion rate as of July. And despite the name, just 43 percent of Advanced College’s students earn more than they would with just a high school degree. The school is under the dreaded “heightened monitoring” by the Education Department for “financial or federal compliance issues.”
Nevertheless, Advanced College is among the approximately 1,000 “eligible training providers” as of July 22 (and more than 5,700 programs) approved by the state of California to receive training funds under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, the federal government’s largest workforce development program.