Edited By Joseph L. DeVitis and Pietro A. Sasso
3. Higher Education: Private Good? Public Good?
JOHN F. COVALESKIE
My task in this chapter is to consider the question of whether higher education is a public good or a private one. My brief answer is “both.” It is, however, much more complicated than that, because, as I hope to show, there are multiple goods—public, private, and what I will call “mixed.” In this chapter, I explore very different kinds of institutions of higher education and show that they are not all mutually compatible. I will ask you to consider with me the complexity of what it means to ask about the “public and private purposes of higher education.” I will try to shape a very tentative answer to the question, but first I want to consider why any answer we give to this question can only be tentative.
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