Private Higher Education in Canada and the United States: Development, Reform, and Likely Futures
Over the last three or four decades the relationship between state and market in higher education has changed. In many countries, the role and responsibility of the ‘welfare state’ for many services that were seen in the decades after World War Two as public responsibilities have been diminished and given way to ‘market forces’, that is, to private ownership and control (Schuetze and Alvarez Mendiola 2012; see also Kwiek in this volume).
Even where the state is still the main provider or funder of higher education, there has been a shift to ‘market mechanisms’ that feature new contractual relations between state and institutions, competition among providers for resources, and external assessment of ‘outputs’ and ‘performance’. Formal education, particularly post-secondary education, has become a ‘service’, marketable and tradable across national borders. Meanwhile, there have been cuts in public resources, or budgets have not been sufficiently augmented to cover the costs of increased enrolments and other expenses. Public institutions must find and compete for diverse sources of funding.
Social changes, in particular the gradual transition from the post-war welfare state regime to the rule of markets (aptly described by Peter Scott in this volume), are in play. Higher education, as a form of social-economic activity and as a culture, has itself been transformed.
In many countries where higher education used to be (entirely or mainly) public, but must now rely on a mix of public and private funding, the private sector’s share is constantly growing. Moreover,...
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