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ERIC Number: EJ791615
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 155
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 181
ISSN: ISSN-1551-6970
From Main Street to Wall Street: The Transformation of For-Profit Education. ASHE Higher Education Report, Volume 31, Number 5
Kinser, Kevin, Ed.
ASHE Higher Education Report, v31 n5 p1-155 2006
This volume has four main goals. The first is to establish a historical perspective on the development of the for-profit sector in the United States. In most contemporary writing, the phenomenon is treated with only cursory attention to the antecedents of the institutions seen today. Although much is new about the current era, much is familiar, too. The second goal is to emphasize the diversity of the for-profit sector. Too often, discussions of for-profit higher education simply recount the operating procedures of the University of Phoenix and similar large corporate providers. They may be dominant institutions in today's environment, but they are certainly not representative of the sector as a whole. Third, this volume serves as a summary of existing research and information available on for-profit higher education. It is not, however, intended to be comprehensive. The focus is more on questions relating to the organization and educational mission of the for-profit sector than on its economics. Finally, the overall purpose of this effort is to focus on for-profit higher education as a "third sector" of the higher education enterprise, part of the same universe of institutions as traditional not-for-profit private and public colleges and universities. Significant scholarship has been devoted to the public and nonprofit private sectors, drawing out their distinctiveness and organizational idiosyncrasies. Similar attention should be paid to this third sector, with close attention to the variety of practices that fall under the label of for-profit higher education. These four goals guide the thematic organization of this volume: a historical perspective is important, the sector is diverse, existing scholarship should be summarized, and the same basic questions should be asked of the for-profit sector as are asked of the traditional not-for-profit private and public institutions. To that end, the author begins with a general overview of the history of for-profit higher education, identifying the various stages of development of these institutions and establishing the markers of the current era. Following the historical perspective, the challenges of adequately describing the for-profit sector of today are discussed in terms of the variety of different institutions that fall under the for-profit label. A classification of the sector is proposed to highlight the dimensions of for-profit higher education that seem most relevant to the current era. The dominance of publicly traded corporations is the topic of another chapter. Emblematic of for-profit higher education today, these Wall Street companies are in large measure responsible for the transformation of the sector and its new visibility. The following chapters address the teaching enterprise in the for-profit sector. First, the students who attend these institutions are discussed, and then the academic model and instructional practices are highlighted. They are basic elements of any educational institution, and the availability and quality of the information available on these topics is at the heart of the matter for the for-profit sector. Following this discussion are two chapters on the regulatory framework in which the for-profit sector operates. Accreditation agencies have become significant players in the for-profit world, and the impact of state and federal regulation in creating the environment where the sector now thrives is not often acknowledged. The final chapter emphasizes the current transformation of the for-profit sector and suggests a research agenda that will more fully incorporate an understanding of for-profit institutions as part and parcel of the larger higher education enterprise. (Contains 8 tables and 29 notes.)
Jossey Bass. Available from John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774. Tel: 800-825-7550; Tel: 201-748-6645; Fax: 201-748-6021; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Collected Works - Serial; Information Analyses; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States