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ERIC Number: EJ896262
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Aug
Pages: 37
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 91
ISSN: ISSN-1740-2743
Neoliberal Ideology and Public Higher Education in the United States
Saunders, Daniel B.
Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies, v8 n1 p41-77 Aug 2010
While it is misleading to discuss the neoliberal university as a fundamentally new incarnation of higher education in the United States, meaningful changes have occurred over the past forty years that have aligned the university with neoliberal ideology resulting in important differences between the neoliberal university and its predecessors. These changes have been increasingly researched by higher education scholars and widely discussed in higher education literature, though only a relatively few scholars attribute such changes to the rise and dominance of neoliberalism. The preponderance of literature on American public higher education neglects neoliberalism altogether and as such misplaces the source of many changes to public colleges and universities in the United States. In both cases, scholars often focus narrowly on one aspect of higher education--faculty, governance, administration, or students, and do not provide a broad overview of the changes that have occurred within higher education or the ways in which they mutually reinforce one another. The purpose of this paper is to bridge the gap between these two bodies of literature by providing a comprehensive yet accessible discussion of neoliberal ideology and its impact on higher education in the United States. First, it begins with a basic overview of the ideology of neoliberalism, which is often either completely unknown or largely misunderstood by higher education scholars and practitioners (particularly in the United States). Following this overview is an exploration into the ways in which neoliberalism has been able to remain the dominant ideology in the United States. Finally, the author discusses the meaningful changes that have occurred within public higher education in the United States over the past forty years, including changes to the funding, finances, priorities, and governance of colleges and universities, as well as the faculty and students who engage with these institutions.
Institute for Education Policy Studies. University of Northampton, School of Education, Boughton Green Road, Northampton, NN2 7AL, UK. Tel: +44-1273-270943; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A