For the last year, Aaron Calafato has been performing his solo play For Profit at colleges coast to coast. Chronicling his experiences working as an admissions counselor at a for-profit college, the play details what he sees as the predatory nature of his former work.
Calafato originally took the position because, ironically, it was a way for him to pay off his own student debt, while simultaneously helping others achieve their dream of attending college. However, It didn’t take long for him to realize that the school valued profit over the well-being of the students and that he was expected to do whatever it took to enroll students. As Calafato found out: “We were pushed to treat people like numbers, if you didn’t, your job was in jeopardy. I noticed when I started performing my job duties ethically, my enrollment numbers went down.”
According to Calafato, at for-profit colleges intense pressure is placed on admissions counselors to do just about whatever it takes to get students to enroll and apply for student loans. The more students that enroll, the more taxpayer money in the form of student aid is allocated to the school. Currently, only 10 percent of US students attend for-profit colleges, yet these schools receive nearly 25 percent of all student aid and are responsible for nearly half of all student loan defaults.
In addition to his work as an actor, Aaron is also a co-founder of the nonprofit, Student Debt Crisis, which advocates on behalf of student borrowers. For more information on this issue and to bring the play For Profit to your college or university, please visit StudentDebtCrisis.org or aaroncalafato.com.