Is Higher Education a Business?

The mere mention of this notion always starts a heated debate, especially with my faculty friends. My view is that yes, higher education is a business. No, it’s not about making a profit. But it is about running an organization efficiently.

Public Agenda and the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education conducted a survey earlier this year resulting in a report called Squeeze Play: How Parents and the Public Look at Higher Education Today. Some of the findings include:

  • 64% of respondents do not believe higher college costs are leading to more learning on campus
  • 44% believe that waste and mismanagement significantly factor into increasing college costs
  • 60% believe that increasing college costs hit the middle class the hardest, since wealthy people can afford exorbitant tuition costs and poor people are more likely to be eligible for financial aid
  • 78% agree that students have to borrow too much money to pat for college

I feel that there will be increasing pressure for colleges and universities to manage costs.

Your thoughts?