Claiming ignorance here, but I was under the impression that public schools receive public funds and public resources. While that doesn't prevent them from selling degrees, there is much less incentive to do so.
And that's not the case with non-profit schools as well?
I think that's because you're still making a distinction that's circular. The term "selling" suggests a for-profit motivation, but the real issue isn't whether the degree is "for sale", but whether the result is people getting degrees that maybe don't reflect their own actual capabilities and knowledge, or that are in areas of study that aren't terribly useful with regard to the job market. State schools absolutely have a motivation to pad the education stats. Not a profit motivation, but from a "look how successful our education policy is" point of view? Absolutely have a motivation. And that motivation is going to result in pressure to administrators to channel students into degree paths that maximize graduation rates. And that's before looking at issues of affirmative action policies (ie: using government influence over the education industry to push a social agenda unrelated to education itself).
I think that people don't see this because they are *only* looking at forms of manipulation and pressure that result from the very for-profit motivation that they start out blaming. I'm arguing that if you expand the issue from just that set and look at any of a number of causes that can result in a negative bang for buck effect on education, then those causes can be from just about anything. And yeah, government can and often is one of the biggest offenders.
I would also like to note that I'm differentiating prestige private schools from the "ITT" type of schools that I'm referring to. The target audience for these types of schools allow the schools to behave in this manner.
I think both of those types of school suffer from this, just in slightly different ways. For every ITT, there's a dozen other trade and adult education schools out there that are worth spending the time and money for. Let's not forget that it was Joph who brought up ITT specifically, not me. I only spoke of the broader case of trade schools and adult education (specifically as an alternative to the "four year university or bust" mentality that has taken over our education industry. Most careers do not require a four year degree. Most careers don't even require a 2 year degree. Most people would be most benefited by a school that perhaps had a single year of training tailored to a specific area. You can do tech work in a lab with just a few courses worth of training and be competent at it (and probably take in 30-40k a year starting out). Similar cases apply to most of what we might call modern artisan jobs (but don't because that term has fallen out of favor). Computer programming? You literally need to take like maybe 4 or 5 programming classes to learn this (and the rest of your life mastering it). Same can be said for a whole lot of career path jobs out there.
Those kinds of education/training could be available for much less than it costs for secondary education today, and would actually be a better path forward for a large percentage of those entering the workforce. It certainly would set a lower bottom rung for future upward mobility. Which I think would be a very good thing.