If private colleges stay true to themselves they will evolve and endure

Private colleges maintain value, say educators

Richard Chait and Zachary First

Harvard Magazine November-December 2011

“Most adult Americans can probably recite the case against private colleges and universities at least as readily as the Pledge of Allegiance. The bill of particulars includes unchecked prices, chronic inefficiencies, uneven outcomes, lifetime tenure, arcane research, scattered authority, and aversion to change. Outsiders are baffled by the constraints on the institutions’ leaders, the glacial rate of change, and the tortuous process for reaching decisions. The indictment also depicts the nation’s 1, 550 or so private nonprofit colleges as unresponsive to the innovations of for-profit vendors and online education. Thus, a chorus of critics has concluded that private colleges and universities have a fundamentally broken business model sustainable only by the most elite institutions. As for the rest, the bears advise, short the sector. We are contrarians, bullish on private colleges despite their many difficult challenges and widespread public discontent (57 percent of Americans do not view a college education as a good value for the price). We offer no brief for complacency; changes must occur. Private colleges do not, however, face an existential threat. Rather, alarmists repeatedly misperceive the sector’s prospects through the familiar, but distortional, lens of business.”

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One comment on “If private colleges stay true to themselves they will evolve and endure

  1. bartolini says:

    keep (bjb)

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