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ERIC Number: ED536281
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008-May
Pages: 32
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 20
For-Profit Education in the United States: A Primer
Coleman, James; Vedder, Richard
Center for College Affordability and Productivity (NJ1)
For-profit higher education is not new. In fact, profit motive has played an important role in providing higher education since the Golden Age of Greece, when anyone could open up a private school and teach (Coulson 1999). During the 19th century, well-organized for-profit business schools were founded across America and for-profit education developed into a very important form of higher education (Kinser 2006). During the early 20th century, however, for-profit schools found their markets undercut by the establishment of publicly funded colleges and vocational institutions. Higher education during the 20th century underwent drastic changes as reformers forcefully argued education was the business of the state, and society could be improved by strong, publicly backed schools (Coulson 1999). Starting in the mid-1970s and accelerating through the 1980s and 1990s, for-profit education underwent a renaissance, due in large part to the 1972 reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, which increased the amount of government student aid available to for-profit schools (Kinser 2006; Turner 2006). Since 1976, for-profit enrollment has grown at an annualized growth rate of about 11 percent, increasing by a factor of nearly 23. The robust resurgence of for-profit schools suggests America's nonprofit colleges are failing to meet fully the people's needs. As a result, for-profits are stepping in to meet market demands their highly subsidized counterparts have chronically failed to satisfy. These recent and rapid developments have once again brought for-profit education national visibility. This paper presents useful data for analyzing the for-profit sector as a whole. It also discusses the success of for-profit higher education, highlights the challenges the industry faces, and describes the future of for-profit education in the United States. (Contains 27 figures and 2 tables.)
Center for College Affordability and Productivity. 1055 Thomas Jefferson Street NW Suite L 26, Washington, DC 20007. Tel: 202-621-0536; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Center for College Affordability and Productivity (CCAP)
Identifiers - Location: United States