The system of
higher education in Mexico is extensive and diverse. The system as
a whole comprises more than 2,000 degree-granting institutions and
serves about 2.4 million students. The largest part of the enrollment,
about two thirds, attend public institutions while 33% of the students
are enrolled in private institutions.
The bulk of the
undergraduate enrollment (89.5%) attends 4-year programs at universities
or technical institutes, 7.2% are enrolled in teacher training programs
at "Normal schools" and small but growing minority (3.4%)
of the students are enrolled in two-year programs leading to a "Técnico
Superior Universitario" or "Profesional Asociado" degree.
The first private
higher education institution, not a university but the "Free
School of Law," was founded in 1912. The first private university
was founded in 1935 in Guadalajara. The private sector in Mexico presents
several variations in size, focus, geographical distribution, and
capacities. More than two thirds of the institutions are private (70%),
however, their enrollment share fluctuates around the 33% of the national
total. One can find large elite multi-campus institutions, elite uni-campus
universities, religious related universities, and non-elite smaller
colleges as the most representative types of private institutions.
There is not a
fiscal for-profit status for educational organizations. In this sense
it is impossible to talk about a for-profit sector. However, some
institutions can be assumed as such given their orientation or the
fact that they were purchased by international for-profit groups or
investment funds. Smaller institutions, product of small-scale entrepreneurship
are also frequently considered as for-profit.
part of the private institutions, despite their official name of "university"
operate as colleges focusing on teaching at undergraduate level and
some graduate programs. Research and extension are mainly a carried
on by public or private-elite institutions.
There are four
main ways to obtain a license for the operation of academic programs
at a private higher education institution: a) Obtaining from the Ministry
of Education the federal "Registro de Validez Oficial de Estudios"
known as RVOE which consist on the license for operation nationwide.
b) Obtaining the State RVOE which consists basically in the same kind
of license. The only difference is that it is given by the State Board
of Education and its is assumed as valid for operating in the state
(in practical terms, due to the federal system, it poses no legal
problem for the institutions or the students). c) Incorporating the
programs to the public university of the state. In this case the state
university oversees the quality of the program and gives recognition
to the degree given by a minor institution. And d) Incorporating the
programs to the National University (UNAM) or the "Instituto
Politécnico Nacional" (IPN), two of the big federal institutions.
There is not a system for the accreditation of institutions, only