A College Guarantees Job Offers — or Else a Refund

Money-back guarantees hardly seem to go with higher education. And offering them to prospective applicants during a recession sounds downright insane. But that’s the sweetheart deal a community college in Michigan has started dangling to try to increase its enrollment. Beginning in May, people who take six-week courses in certain subjects will be guaranteed a job within a year — or else they’ll be refunded their tuition money.

It’s a radical idea, particularly for a school located in Lansing, Mich., where unemployment sits at 11.7%. Lansing Community College, the third largest community college in the state, has 30,000 students a year but is looking for more. The new money-back guarantee will apply to the four most in-demand technical jobs in the area: call-center specialists, pharmacy technicians, quality inspectors and computer machinists. The average pay for these jobs in 2008 ranged from $12.10 an hour (call-center specialists) to $15.72 (computer machinists).

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