[Paleopsych] CHE: Public Mission of State Colleges Is Endangered by Increasing Competition and Privatization, Report Says
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Wed Apr 6 22:37:43 UTC 2005
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
By MICHELLE DIAMENT
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
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
"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
Web site (requires Adobe Reader, available free).
Background articles from The Chronicle:
* Berkeley Law Dean Calls for Partial Privatization of His
* Paying the Price for Tuition Increases (9/10/2004)
* U. of Virginia Unexpectedly Opens $3-Billion Campaign to
Become a 'Private' Public University (6/25/2004)
* Led by Colorado, States Weigh New Approaches to Financing
* Accept More State Control or Go Private (12/19/2003)
* Study Notes Tensions Facing Public Colleges (10/18/2002)
* Higher Education Isn't Meeting the Public's Needs (10/15/2004)
* Balancing State Control With Society's Needs (6/27/2003)
* Have We Lost the 'Public' in Higher Education? (5/30/2003)
* Tough Times for Colleges Demand Structural Changes ...
* ... and a New Compact With Their States (10/18/2002)
45. mailto:michelle.diament at chronicle.com
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