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BBB Tip of the Week: Training programs

The training provided by vocational and correspondence schools can prepare students for careers that are fulfilling and rewarding. But not all training programs are equal.

Some institutions will inflate their success rates or mislead prospective students about the training program’s extent or accreditation, predicted job availability and their connections to businesses, the qualifications of their instructors and nature of their facilities and equipment.

If you are considering attending a trade or vocational school, here are some factors to weigh:

• Check the program’s success rate for student completion, job placement, and debt at graduation. And review the quality of the facilities, equipment and instructors.

• Determine what is provided as part of your tuition.

• The total cost of the program and how the cost is paid, such as with a federal or private student loan.

• Is the program accredited or licensed?

If you are considering taking out a private student loan, the Better Business Bureau suggests the following considerations:

• Don’t be distracted by incentives and prizes. Make sure you understand the rate and terms of the loan before signing a contract.

• Research your loan options.

• Never give out your private information to a lender you haven’t researched.

If you still have questions about a private education lender, contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau at or by calling (855) 411-2372.

If you are dissatisfied with a vocation or trade program, first try to resolve the dispute with the institution. Should that fail, you can file a complaint with the BBB at or by calling (509) 455-4200, with your attorney general at FileAComplaint.aspx, and with the Federal Trade Commission at

Erin T. Dodge, BBB editor