[Paleopsych] CHE: Public Mission of State Colleges Is Endangered by Increasing Competition and Privatization, Report Says

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Public Mission of State Colleges Is Endangered by Increasing Competition and
Privatization, Report Says
News bulletin from the Chronicle of Higher Education, 5.2.16

    Increased competition among universities and trends toward
    privatization are threatening the public mission of state universities
    and colleges, according to a report scheduled for release today.

    The report, "Correcting Course: How We Can Restore the Ideals of
    Public Higher Education in a Market-Driven Era," was produced by the
    Futures Project, a five-year effort to examine the impact of market
    forces in higher education, and is derived in part from the project's
    final report.

    The new report identifies four areas of weakness in public higher
    education: rising costs and unaffordable tuition, limited need-based
    financial aid, the lack of a sufficient way to measure success, and an
    increase in the proportion of research funds coming from corporate
    rather than government sources.

    Lara Couturier, one of the authors of the report, said in an interview
    that several trends -- including increasing competiton from for-profit
    and online institutions -- have led to increasing autonomy for state
    universities and a market-based education system.

    The changes mean that universities are competing for two types of
    students: those who will increase an institution's ranking in U.S.
    News & World Report and those who can pay the full cost of their

    In the process, Ms. Couturier said, state universities are sacrificing
    their public purposes, like providing need-based aid and conducting
    research free from corporate influence.

    "We need to help states stop and have this conversation about what we
    want from higher education," she said.

    To get that dialogue started, the report includes recommendations for
    state lawmakers, colleges and universities, and the public. Lawmakers,
    for example, should define the benefits of higher education and focus
    on accountability, it says, while colleges and universities should
    focus on learning. The public, it says, must play an active role by
    staying informed and requesting information about institutions'

    Kevin P. Reilly, president of the University of Wisconsin System, said
    administrators are ready to have a conversation like that. Moreover,
    he said, organizations like the American Council on Education, whose
    annual conference Mr. Reilly just attended, are actively working on
    the issue.

    "It always seems really easy to turn to higher education and cut
    because we have tuition," he said, referring to a budgeting approach
    taken by state lawmakers. "But what has happened as a result is this
    pricing out of lower-income students, and that's not something we can
    do long-term. I think we need to realize that education is good for
    the public good."

    The full text of the report is available on the Futures Project's
    [60]Web site (requires [61]Adobe Reader, available free).

    Background articles from The Chronicle:
      * [62]Berkeley Law Dean Calls for Partial Privatization of His
        School (1/14/2005)
      * [63]Paying the Price for Tuition Increases (9/10/2004)
      * [64]U. of Virginia Unexpectedly Opens $3-Billion Campaign to
        Become a 'Private' Public University (6/25/2004)
      * [65]Led by Colorado, States Weigh New Approaches to Financing
        Colleges (3/26/2004)
      * [66]Accept More State Control or Go Private (12/19/2003)
      * [67]Study Notes Tensions Facing Public Colleges (10/18/2002)

      * [68]Higher Education Isn't Meeting the Public's Needs (10/15/2004)
      * [69]Balancing State Control With Society's Needs (6/27/2003)
      * [70]Have We Lost the 'Public' in Higher Education? (5/30/2003)
      * [71]Tough Times for Colleges Demand Structural Changes ...
      * [72]... and a New Compact With Their States (10/18/2002)


   45. mailto:michelle.diament at chronicle.com
   60. http://www.futuresproject.org/publications/Correcting_Course.pdf
   61. http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html
   62. http://chronicle.com/weekly/v51/i19/19a02501.htm
   63. http://chronicle.com/weekly/v51/i03/03a02001.htm
   64. http://chronicle.com/weekly/v50/i42/42a03302.htm
   65. http://chronicle.com/weekly/v50/i29/29a02601.htm
   66. http://chronicle.com/weekly/v50/i17/17a02401.htm
   67. http://chronicle.com/weekly/v49/i08/08a02802.htm
   68. http://chronicle.com/weekly/v51/i08/08b00601.htm
   69. http://chronicle.com/weekly/v49/i42/42b02001.htm
   70. http://chronicle.com/weekly/v49/i38/38b00701.htm
   71. http://chronicle.com/weekly/v49/i08/08b01201.htm
   72. http://chronicle.com/weekly/v49/i08/08b01301.htm

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