Is It Worth The Debt To Attend A Culinary School?

By admin | September 8, 2011

Photo: Jonathan

If you are one of the thousands who have a dream of one day becoming a gourmet chef, than most likely you are heading off to culinary school. What many people seem to not realize is that culinary school is extremely pricey and many are lured into various schools because of the job prospects the schools say will be offered after graduation.

Culinary schools are getting a bad rap these days as their students are borrowing money to attend but are then left wondering how they’ll pay back loans after graduation. Recruiters have told many students it is a worthwhile investment, as their dreams of becoming a gourmet chef will be made possible through a culinary arts education. Many students at the San Francisco California Culinary Academy have taken recruiters up on the offer and now are suing the San Francisco California Culinary Academy because of false advertisement as to what exactly will available to students after graduation.

In Terence Chea Associated Press’ article “San Francisco’s California Culinary Academy School Grads Claim They Were Ripped off,” some former students are suing the culinary school. This is so because many of the cooking schools out there are for-profit cooking schools in that they make money off of the enrollment of the thousands of students that sign up for the program. Many students at the San Francisco California Culinary Academy are unhappy with their job-searching results after graduation and say “they were misled by recruiters about the value of culinary education and their job prospects after graduation.”

Just one example is Emily Journey, a 26 year old who is partaking in the class-action lawsuit against the San Francisco California Culinary Academy and is hoping to get some of her money back. They have agreed to offer rebates to of up to $20,000 for 8,500 students who attended the academy during 2003 to 2008. Journey has successfully finished the program but has in no way found an employment opportunity that will allow her to pay off the large sum of money that is dwindling over her head.  The only job Journey could find is at Oregon Bakery, where she not only works the night shift but gets a mere $8 an hour per shift, which would certainly be insufficient in helping her pay off her debts. Journey states, “was it worth the money and the time to have this loan hanging over my head? Absolutely not.” The one positive thing for Journey is that she is one of the lucky ones who may be getting her money back, many are not so lucky.

Those who attend for-profit institutions “represented 12% of all college students in 2009, but 43% of those who defaulted on federal student loans,” according to The Education Trust, an education advocacy group. Many culinary schools lure students in by stating that 48 to 100% of graduates find work in their field of study or a related field. This fact alone can spike the many student’s interests in going to a culinary school. Little do they know, loans will be lurking over their heads for years to come.

Photo: panduh

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