Understanding For-Profit Higher Education in the United States Through History, Criticism, and Public Policy: A Brief Sector Landscape Synopsis

Matthew R. Hodgman

Abstract


Despite their uniquely innovative and long-standing history within the United States higher education landscape, for-profit higher education institutions (FPHEIs) remain controversial academic entities. Criticism of the for-profit sector maintains that these institutions are not preparing students for successful entry into the workforce. In light of numerous recent struggles, sector growth has significantly receded while FPHE practices and policies continue to be questioned. In the wake of sector decline, FPHEIs have an important opportunity to reimagine their role as educational providers to better serve students and society at large. At this critical transitional moment, this article briefly reviews the literature surrounding the overall FPHE landscape to date in terms of the historical background of the sector, criticisms leveled against FPHE, and important public policies surrounding the for-profit sector. Gaps in the FPHE landscape literature are noted and suggestions for additional sector research are offered with respect to generating future scholarship that may be useful when (re)considering the role that FPHEIs might assume going forward.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/jei.v4i2.13302

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Journal of Educational Issues  ISSN 2377-2263

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