ERIC Number: ED152127
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1977-Oct
The Origins of the Public-Private Distinction in American Higher Education: A Story of Accidental Development.
Whitehead, John S.
The historical development of public and private universities and colleges in the United States is examined. It is pointed out that nearly all American universities, no matter where their support comes from, remain autonomous institutions. The university often interprets, and sometimes invents, what it thinks is the interest of the state. Despite the split between public and private institutions, financial support for higher education continues to be based in both sectors on the training of leaders and good citizens rather than any inherent state or private interest in learning or the accoutrements of academic knowledge such as libraries and museums. One of the most striking elements of continuity has been the accidental, rather than the statutory or ideological, nature of the changes. For example, when the states cut off their support of universities and colleges in the 1820's, no laws or statutes were passed to confirm or entrench this; the appropriations merely ceased. When the funds were renewed 50 years later the old autonomous institutions were not made to conform to any new theories of education. (SPG)
Descriptors: Educational History, Financial Support, Higher Education, History, Institutional Autonomy, Private Colleges, State Aid, State Colleges, State Universities, Trend Analysis, United States History
Yale University, Institution for Social and Policy Studies, Higher Education Research Group, 1732 Yale Station, New Haven, Connecticut 06520
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Yale Univ., New Haven, CT. Inst. for Social and Policy Studies.