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ERIC Number: ED531225
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Dec
Pages: 17
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
Crossing to the Dark Side? An Interview-Based Comparison of Traditional and For-Profit Higher Education. Private Enterprise in American Education. Special Report 4
Wildavsky, Ben
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
In the past year, for-profit higher education providers have been thrust into the spotlight. The fastest growing postsecondary sector has come under unprecedented scrutiny from policymakers, regulators, and the media. Critics have zeroed in on a range of concerns, from perceived dubious recruiting tactics and overblown promises about students' future employability to excessive student debt and problematic default rates. For their part, for-profits have deployed a formidable lobbying apparatus to argue that their efforts are being unfairly maligned with apples-to-oranges comparisons that do not do justice to the important education access they provide to previously underserved students. Largely missing from the debate, however, has been a more detailed look at how traditional and for-profit institutions differ in important areas like administration, instructor experience, mission and governance, data collection and use, and student recruitment and retention. This paper is an effort to get beyond sensationalized headlines and examine these questions from the point of view of individuals who have moved from the traditional to the for-profit sector--or kept a foot in both. These insiders highlighted a variety of characteristics they say distinguish the for-profits where they work from the nonprofit institutions with which they are also familiar. (Contains 4 notes.) [For "Odd Man Out: How Government Supports Private-Sector Innovation, Except in Education. Private Enterprise in American Education. Special Report 3," see ED525105.]
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. 1150 Seventeenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-862-5800; Fax: 202-862-7177; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research