For some for-profit institutions, 2016 has gotten off to a rocky start. Twelve states have called for a ban on the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, the largest accreditor of for-profit universities. Earlier, headlines maligned Trump University and the infamous University of Northern New Jersey.
Depsite this noise, more significant trends are shaping the future of for-profits. Compared to their non-profit and public counterparts, for-profit schools remain highly susceptible to cycles of growth, contraction, and competition. While we expect that some for-profit higher education institutions are anxious about where 2016 will fit into these cycles, our analysis suggests that two other forces may shape the next chapter for these schools.