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Privatizing the Public University

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Privatizing the Public University

Perspectives from across the Academy

With public colleges and universities facing substantial budget cuts and increased calls for accountability, more institutions now rely on private revenue streams for support. As market-driven policies and behaviors become more commonplace, some cautious critics sound the alarm, while others watching the bottom line cheer. But which perspective gets it right? Does the privatization of public higher education threaten its very mission or support it?

In this collection of essays, economists, policy makers, political scientists, sociologists, and organizational researchers discuss the impact of privatization from their respective disciplinary perspectives and assess its implications for the future of higher education.

Privatization may bring additional funds and services that are free from government regulations and oversight, but does it also allow private interests to have undue influence over public higher education? Should public universities have to compete in the economic marketplace as vigorously as they do in the marketplace of ideas? What are the implications when institutions of higher learning function like businesses?

With privatization now a reality for most public colleges and universities, an objective examination of the issue from these diverse academic perspectives will be welcomed by those struggling with its challenges.