Lessons from the Edge: For-Profit and Nontraditional Higher Education in America
The importance of for-profit higher education becomes clear when one examines the state of higher education today. Traditional institutions are facing major pressures, including diminishing financial support, a call to serve adult learners, the need to balance applied and liberal arts curricula, and the need to maintain and evolve the institutional mission. Stakeholders are more numerous than ever before, and they are pulling institutions in different directions. Traditional higher education institutions are increasingly pressured to alter the their missions because diminished public funding has resulted in dependence on donors and corporations with varied interests. This strain is causing universities to behave in new ways. For-profit institutions provide a model of how to handle these challenges by their very structure–they are organized to operate professionally as a business and continually question and refine their organizational mission.
Gary A. Berg is Dean of Extended Education at California State University Channel Islands and author of numerous articles on current issues in higher education, educational technology, and media studies, as well as four books.