Changes in Higher Education: Where For-Profit Institutions are Making a Difference
Recently, two university professors, Clayton M. Christensen and Henry J. Eyring, discussed the future of higher education. They discussed how for-profit institutions are the only real competition for large public and private universities.
Throughout our lifetime, we’ve seen companies come and go and new inventions come along to make entire products or services become obsolete. But when was the last time you heard of a large university closing its doors? According to Christensen and Eyring, part of the reason for this is a lack of competition. Large universities are modeling their programs after other large successful universities to give the customers what they want. They said, “the strategy of most schools is one of imitation, not innovation. Little-known and smaller institutions try to move up in the ranks by adding students, majors, and graduate programs, so as to look more like the large universities.”
They also mention that for-profit institutions would be the most likely competitors for large public universities since they offer many desirable features which traditional universities seem to lack. Specifically, for-profit colleges incorporate a large online component that is attractive to nontraditional students like working adults, veterans, and career changers. Furthermore, for-profit institutions offer flexible scheduling and summer courses allowing students to graduate in a relatively short amount of time and get back into the workforce.