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4-Profit University

The coalition has announced plans to encourage private firms to set up `for profit' degree courses.  The idea comes from the US, and to see the high esteem in which such institutions are held there, have a look at the above strip from Tom The Dancing Bug.  The Guardian warns the threat to universities is real and imminent. Early day motion 1999 raises concern about for-profit universities; They Work For You make it easy to write to your MP to urge him or her to support it.

Comments:
God forbid that the UK should have educational institutions rivalling MIT or Harvard.
 
Why exactly "For Profit" is bad?. Only competitive universities (good) will make profit.. The bad ones will get weeded out nicely. Without "For Profit" universities, you will only get universities which churn out ppl who expect handouts at every stage of life.

"For Profits" better than "For Handouts, fill my beggar bowl"

Earn well. There is no shame in it.
 
BPP already turn out far more useful accountants than any 'state' university. Our independant schools get consistently better results than our state schools. I don't buy the argument I'm afraid.

The cosy public sector needs to wake up and smell the coffee that the rest of us have been drinking for the past 10 years.
 
It doesn't seem a bad thing, I think. Let the for-profit "universities" teach the lousy students who just want better jobs, and the traditional universities will be left with the true academics, as they should be! It would do wonders for student motivation and learning speed at the traditional universities.
 
I wrote to my MP about this issue, and received the comments below. -- P

US style for-profit institutions: The Government hopes to kick start an expansion of new private for-profit providers of Higher Education (some in the US have a record of very aggressive recruitment practices, poor degree completion rates and high drop-out rates) and an expansion of FE College Higher Education places.
Other likely proposals include changes to degree awarding powers and to acquiring the title of a 'University' or 'University College'; both of which are designed to make it easier for private for-profit institutions to enter a more 'competitive' Higher Education market and could again threaten the quality of Higher Education.

Threat of For-Profit Universities: There are concerns that the number of unregulated US for-profit universities in the UK will expand fast once the White Paper 'reforms' kick in, threatening the quality of our universities. The Minister has met with US firms Apollo Group Inc, Education Management Corporation and Kaplan, all of which have were investigated by a US Senate Inquiry into 'for-profit' higher education across America. A recent US Senate Inquiry revealed for-profit universities typically had low completion rates (among US for-profit institutions analysed by the Inquiry more than half of students withdrew within two years) and had adopted deceptive misleading or fraudulent recruitment practises (investigators visited 15 for-profit schools and found deceptive, misleading or fraudulent practices at all 15).

Best wishes,
Ian Murray MP
Labour Member of Parliament for Edinburgh South
 
In other news, Korea becomes the first ever nation to go completely digital for textbook distribution.
 
Phil,

In general, my understanding is that for profit universities in the US are at a competitive disadvantage, in terms of funding and acquisition of land, with public universities and still manage to perform well. In turn, this forces them to pursue degree opportunities that public universities do not, such as setting up part-time MBA programs in suburbs for employees who cannot commute into urban areas and maintain a job.

Many private colleges, such as my alma matter, are pursuing the same marketing strategies now.

Most libertarians also use the US collegiate and university system as an example of how competition and limited government intervention produces great results. For example, US K-12 schools perform poorly compared with countries like Korea, but are a standard of excellence for higher education.
 
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