There has been a lot of talk about for-profit schools and online education lead generators. And, let’s be honest, most of it hasn’t been good. And now it’s time to hear from one of those lead generation companies. You’re probably wondering why we would write an article giving the deep dark secrets of lead gen when we’re in the business. Right? The following article will explain. First, let’s talk about what lead generation is. It is a marketing tool that generates interest for certain products and services. There are many different tactics to do this but for online education, it usually works like this: a school will hire several different companies to find potential students. These companies will advertise and gather contact information from people interested in getting an education. This information for a potential student is known as a lead. Essentially, the lead is you. The school then pays for the lead, contacts the individual, and tries to get them to enroll in their institution. Yes, we are an education lead gen company. Despite everything in the news, we’re still going strong. We’re still matching potential students with online and campus schools and constantly trying to make that process as simple as possible. However, since there continues to be some sketchy practices in the industry, our decision to try and avoid these tactics has resulted in a loss of revenue. That’s why we want to educate internet users about the industry. We want to make sure users know how to find reliable sources of information, allowing the honest side of lead gen to succeed. Without further ado, this is what you need to know: Leads = Money That may seem obvious, but we just want to be clear. Lead Gen companies are paid by schools for leads gathered and sent to their schools. Because of this, some lead companies have lowered their standards in order to collect as much money as possible. The more leads, the more money. Because of the need to survive as a lead gen company, most companies have resorted to aggressive marketing tactics that are sure to result in conversions/leads. And the best way to make money is to market … money. Financial Aid Starting in June of this year, new government regulations have been implemented that make it more difficult for for-profit schools to receive federal aid for their students. Schools have to prove their students meet employment benchmarks in order to be eligible for federal aid. Essentially, schools have to prove their students are able to secure jobs upon graduation, allowing them to repay loans. While schools receive less federal aid, financial aid advertising continues to monopolize the online education space. Despite the new restrictions, education lead gen companies are notorious for advertising “free money” to return to school. Since advertising tactics that revolve around money get such great response, education lead gen companies still use financial aid to capture peoples’ interest. While money is available, it is more difficult to get than the advertising suggests. All students must meet certain criteria in order to be eligible for financial aid, especially federal aid. On top of financial aid messaging, education lead gen forms are often designed in a way to make prospective students believe they are applying for grants, scholarships, or loans. By wording and designing their form pages just so, they are guaranteed conversions. Example of a misleading lead form: But let’s think about that for a second. Schools want leads who will actually enroll in their schools and new government regulations penalize schools to enrolling students who only enroll in order to be eligible for financial aid. So it doesn’t make much sense to advertise this way, does it? So while lead gen companies are doing whatever they need to in order to get a lead, schools are getting backlash from government agencies. Because of this, schools are getting stricter with their aggregators (lead generators) to avoid negative repercussions. Spam Yep, online education advertising is notorious for looking like spam. Unless it’s a school, the designs usually look like something out of Microsoft Paint and have no useful information. This doesn’t mean they don’t do what they promise – match you to a school – but it does mean you won’t necessarily get all the information you need up front. Most lead gen companies just set students up with a gateway to good information and allow them to make their own decision. There’s a reason for that… Connecting, Not Educating Lead gen companies’ job is to connect you with schools that fit your life and your education needs. If it looks like they don’t have a lot of information about the school you want, it’s because they don’t. They rely on the schools to answer your questions. Much of the school information students want is protected by the schools. In other words, even if the lead gen companies wanted to answer all your questions, they wouldn’t be able to because the schools don’t disclose that information. Essentially, the schools would like to win their students themselves instead of a third party. This is a smart move by the schools as it allows them to control their brand. What does this mean to you? Just because there isn’t a lot of information on form pages, doesn’t mean the company isn’t a legitimate gateway to good schools. Before you fill out the form, see what schools they are associated with and if they are schools you are interested in. Beware of schools that use these terms to describe themselves: “verifiable,” “authenticated,” “approved,” or “recognized by the Pope.” These terms are usually indicative of degree mills, which allow you to essentially buy a degree. As these are not legitimate degrees or certificates, they will do you no good. Educate yourself. Deciding on a school is a big deal. So make sure you are putting in the time to research your education options. You can even check out our website ClassesandCareers.com for useful program, degree and school information. What Make ClassesandCareers.com different: Colleges and Universities When it comes down to it, all of the schools we work with are legitimate, accredited schools that provide respected degrees and certifications. All of the programs we recommend will give students the education and training they need to qualify for better jobs and improve their credentials. Articles and Education Resources Get all the information you need to make an informed and smart education decision. Get the latest education news on Education Today or check out College Advisor, which is full of eBooks, slide shows and other media dedicated to answering questions and presenting opportunities for new online and traditional students. We’re dedicated to providing easily-digestible and understandable education resources. Education Specialists You can talk to a real person about your education options. We have education specialists available over the phone throughout the day to answer any questions you may have. They can answer questions about program availability at certain schools, the best degree programs for your desired career, and can direct you to admissions representatives at the schools you want. Compliance Team To ensure that we provide the most useful and honest information to potential students, we have formed a compliance team to monitor and regulate our advertising. They pay specific attention to messaging and images on our marketing assets to avoid misleading our readers. In Conclusion: Yes, we are an education lead gen company. We will admit that in the past we have bought into some of the tactics mentioned above and have suffered the consequences. We’ve found that it’s to our, and your, benefit that we provide good information and find viable options for students; it’s all about the person, not the lead. We believe in what we do and are dedicated to helping students find the information they need to further their education and find success. We have thousands of useful pages and tools on ClassesandCareers.com that can help you research your education options. Check us out and make the decision for yourself.