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ERIC Number: EJ992921
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Jul-30
Pages: N/A
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
For-Profits Fill a Niche in Mexico, but Graduates Face Dim Prospects
Ambrus, Steven
Chronicle of Higher Education, Jul 2012
With 16,000 graduate and undergraduate students, the International College for Experienced Learning (ICEL) is widely considered among the better for-profit universities in Mexico, where such institutions have flourished over the last 20 years by offering degrees that can be earned relatively quickly, and flexibility in terms of fee payments and course hours. The college offers 24 undergraduate degrees in professional areas like law, communications, and architectural design, and emphasizes career development, including technical assistance for young entrepreneurs. ICEL and other for-profits have clearly filled an unmet need in Mexico, but like their counterparts in the United States they have drawn critics who say they focus too much on efficiency and making money rather than on the quality and breadth of their educational offerings. Most of them, including ICEL, provide few courses in the natural sciences, where laboratories and equipment are expensive, and hire few full-time professors or instructors with Ph.D.'s. Some are altogether fraudulent, offering degrees that have no accreditation from the government's Public Education Secretariat. Since accreditation is needed for students to acquire professional licenses, their degrees are worthless. Critics fault the government's unwillingness to police the private sector more vigorously or to invest more in providing students with better alternatives in the public sector. What's more, the nation's public universities are difficult to get into. The largest public university, the National Autonomous University of Mexico, typically rejects 90 percent or more of applicants for lack of room. The for-profits absorb the demand created by people who don't have other options. But they also provide costly and deficient programs. For-profits tend to draw from a pool of lower- and middle-class students from weak high schools who can neither pass the exams for entering the elite and free public universities nor afford the tuition at the private, nonprofit institutions. For those students, often the first in their families to enroll in higher education, the for-profit providers play a critical role. Graduates of the for-profits, however, tend to get inferior jobs to those from the more select sectors of higher education.
Chronicle of Higher Education. 1255 23rd Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 800-728-2803; Tel: 202-466-1000; Fax: 202-452-1033; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Mexico