PROPHE Working Papers
1. Levy, Daniel C. (2002) "Unanticipated Development: Perspectives on Private Higher Education's Emerging Roles." Revised and published as: Levy, D.C. (2006) The Unanticipated Explosion: Private Higher Education's Global Surge. Comparative Education Review, 50(2), 217-240
2. Levy, Daniel C. (2003) "Profits and Practicality: How South Africa Epitomizes the Global Surge in Commercial Private Higher Education." Revised and published as: Levy, D.C. (2003) Commercial Higher Education: South Africa as a Stark Example. IN: Kruss, G. and Kraak, A. (Eds.) A Contested Good? Understanding Private Higher Education in South Africa. Boston: Center for International Higher Education-Boston College and Program for Research on Private Higher Education-University at Albany. pp 33-42.
3. Levy, Daniel C. (2004) "The New Institutionalism: Mismatches with Private Higher Education’s Global Growth." Revised and published as: Levy, D.C. (2006) The New Insitutionalism: Mismatches with Private Higher Education's Global Growth. In Meyer, H.D. & Rowan, B. The New Institutionalism in Education. Albany: State University of New York Press.
4. Bernasconi, Andrés. (2004) "External Affiliations and Diversity: Chile's Private Universities in International Perspective." Revised and published as: Bernasconi, Andrés. (2006) Private universities' institutional affiliations as a source of differentiation in Chilean higher education. Higher Education 52(2), pp. 303-342.
5. Kinser, Kevin and Levy, Daniel C. (2005) "The For-Profit Sector: U.S. Patterns and International Echoes in Higher Education." Reprinted as: Kinser, K. & Levy, D.C. (2006). The For-Profit Sector: U.S. Patterns and International Echoes in Higher Education. In working paper series of the National Center on Privatization, Teacher's College. Retrieved from:http://www.ncspe.org/list-papers.php
6. Abbott, Malcolm (2005) "Private Higher Education Penetration into a Mature Education Market: The New Zealand Experience."
7. Levy, Daniel C. (2006) "An Introductory Global Overview: The Private Fit to Salient Higher Education Tendencies." Revised and published as: Levy, D.C. (2006) The Private Fit to Salient Higher Education Tendencies. In Foster, J. & Altbach, P.G. International Handbook of Higher Education. Springer Publications.
8. Scheker, Ancell (2007) "Comparing School-Level to Private Higher Education: Using the Dominican Republic as a Pioneer Study."
9. Otieno, Wycliffe and Levy, Daniel C. (2007) "Public Disorder, Private Boons? Inter-sectoral Dynamics Illustrated by the Kenyan Case."
10. Pachuashvili, Marie (2007) "Changing Patterns of Private-Public Growth and Decline: The Case of Georgian Higher Education."
11. Levy, Daniel C. (2008) "Access through Private Higher Education: Global Patterns and Indian Illustrations”. Revised and published as: Levy, D.C. (2008) Access via Private Higher Education. In Gupta, A., Levy, D.C., Powar, K.B. (Eds.) Private Higher Education: Global trends and Indian Perspectives. New Delhi: Shipra Publications. pp. 15-28.
12. Praphamontripong, Prachayani ( 2008) "Inside Thai Private Higher Education: Exploring Private Growth in International Context.”
13. Levy, Daniel C. (2008) "Indian Private Higher Education in Comparative Perspective." Revised and published as: Levy, D.C. (2008) Commonality and Distinctiveness: Indian Private Higher Education in International Perspective. In Gupta, A., Levy, D.C., Powar, K.B. (Eds.) Private Higher Education: Global trends and Indian Perspectives. New Delhi: Shipra Publications. pp. 253-272.
14. Kinser, Kevin (2009) "Access in U.S. Higher Education: What does the For-profit Sector Contribute?" Revised and published as: Kinser, K. (2009). How the For-Profit Sector Contributes to Access in U.S. Higher Education. Enrollment Management Journal, 3(4). pp 23-44.
15. Rabossi, Marcelo (2010) "Universities and Fields of Study in Argentina: A Public-Private Comparison from the Supply and Demand Side".
16. Levy, Daniel C. (2011) "The Decline of Private Higher Education". Revised and published as: Levy, D.C. (2012) The Decline of Private Higher Education. Higher Education Policy.
17. Cai, Yuzhuo and Yan, Fengqiao (2011) "Organizational Diversity in Chinese Private Higher Education". Revised and published as: Cai Yuzhuo and Fengqiao Yan (2011) “Organizational Diversity in Chinese Private Higher Education” in Pedro N. Teixeira and David D. Dill (eds.) Public Vices, Private Virtues? Assessing the Effects of Marketization in Higher Education, pp47-66, Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.
18. Mizikaci, Fatma (2011) "Isomorphic and Diverse Features of Turkish Private Higher Education"
19. Abbott, Malcolm (2014) "Stability and Change in a Mature Private Higher Education Industry"
Abstracts and Papers
The global explosion of private higher education, astonishing in extent and intensity, often catches government and most other observers by surprise. Rarely is the private surge centrally designed or even widely anticipated (despite being related to visible and broad economic, social, political, and international trends). Public policy commonly emerges only in delayed fashion.
Although not all private growth is unanticipated, the unanticipated share is large and it encompasses a startling range of otherwise contrasting settings. It is useful to identify and analyze the settings, quite common ones, where unanticipated development is most characteristic. These settings include demand-absorbing institutions, which dominate private growth in most countries. They include countries with little or no private higher education tradition, particularly in the developing and post-communist worlds. They also include situations in which private higher education is notably different from public higher education.
South Africa’s private higher education largely illustrates the worldwide surge in commercial private higher education. Beyond typicality, however, important features in the South African case epitomize the worldwide growth or otherwise appear in stark form.
At the core of the starkness is the for-profit nature of South African private higher education. For-profit logic plays out in nearly all matters key to the country’s private higher education, including missions, actors’ roles within and beyond the higher education institutions, ties to the job market, and relationships with public entities. In contrast, private higher education outside South Africa is usually nonprofit; more aptly stated, however, it is nonprofit in name and legal status but often for-profit in much form and behavior.
For its profits and practicality thrust, South Africa presents an intriguing case through which to explore the nature of the world’s expanding commercial private higher education. Tendencies in South Africa lead to or support significant hypotheses about this form of education, particularly in its for-profit manifestation. In turn, such hypotheses, along with data on other countries (especially the United States), help guide empirical exploration of the South African case.
Spectacular contemporary growth in private higher education challenges the “new institutionalism” and its emphasis on “isomorphism.” The growth brings great inter-organizational distinctiveness and is linked to technically rational competition.
Findings about this growth and distinctiveness lead us to re-assess and revise tenets of the new institutionalism. Some tenets remain in tack in logic even as they miss on the empirical side, failing to anticipate salient tendencies such as the retreat of the state. The new institutionalism requires much less revision to help us understand the degree of isomorphism that does accompany private higher education growth.
The findings come largely from analysis of three countries (Argentina, China, and Hungary), inter-sectoral differences, and organizational goals. They extend our view of variables such as subsectors, environment, and time. They cover both the coercive and non-coercive sides of the new institutionalism’s isomorphism. And they encompass international as well as domestic tendencies.
Private higher education growth is linked to widespread changes in political–economy. These changes often reduce the centrality of the state and its public institutions while opening up possibilities for alternative organizational goals and means to legitimacy. The findings on private higher education thus allow for speculation on how the new institutionalism can be modified and interpreted in many fields undergoing robust and multi-faceted privatization.
The expansion of private sectors of higher education has usually been regarded as a factor of diversification in higher education systems. Some of this differentiation has been associated, but without systematic study, to the affiliation of private institutions with organizations outside the field of higher education. This article reports the results of a study of this form of interorganizational relationship in private universities in Chile. Cases include universities founded or sponsored by religious, business and military organizations.
A typology of private universities is proposed, on the basis of the forms affiliation (or its absence), was observed to take in the cases examined. Weak and strong forms of affiliation are described, and affiliated universities are compared to “proprietary” universities, i.e., those owned by individuals who govern them from their positions in the board of directors, and “independent” universities, in which governance lies with internal –academic or administrative—constituents. Albeit derived from the case of Chile, the typology could be applied to the analysis of private higher education in other national systems. The second part of the article seeks to ascertain whether affiliation operates as a source of differentiation in Chilean private higher education.
Results show that, compared to the other types of private universities, the affiliated ones possess distinctive mission statements and declarations of principles, consistent with the orientations of their sponsor institutions, tend to be smaller, and tend to have more full-time and better qualified faculty. Some receive financial support from their sponsor organization or its members. Distinctiveness was not found in indicators of prestige and student selectivity, nor in tuition levels, program offerings, curriculum design, the weight of research and graduate programs in their functions, student socioeconomic profile, and faculty involvement in governance. This is not to say that there are no differences in these dimensions among private universities: much diversity exists, but most of it cuts across all categories of interest for our study.
Analyses of private higher education should consider the increasingly important for-profit sector in many countries. Yet information on the for-profit sector has been quite limited. Even in the United States, where for-profit higher education is well-established, only recently have researchers turned their attention to studying its scope and impacts. While the growth of the for-profit sector is influenced by many of the same forces that have encouraged the global expansion of private higher education, including commercialization and privatization beyond higher education, the focus here is on identifying the international dimensions of for-profit higher education and defining its main types. We feature U.S. data and patterns as starting points for an international portrait. We outline the legal and regulatory aspects for-profit institutions, and note their often ambiguous status in many countries. And we propose a tentative classification of the for-profit sector based on the U.S. experience, beginning to apply it to the international context. Generally, while emphasizing the diversity of the sector, we highlight several tendencies of for-profit institutions of higher education that seem to hold in international analyses.
Since 1989, when it became legally possible for private higher education to operate in New Zealand, the sector has grown to become a significant part of the country’s higher education system. We explore the private penetration, trace the changes that have occurred in private higher education, and evaluate the sector’s position in New Zealand today. The private sector has had to find a niche for itself in a higher education sector dominated by a mature, well developed public sector. In so doing, New Zealand’s private higher education exhibits differences and similarities with the private higher education internationally. Particular case study attention goes to the New Zealand case as one of private entry into a mature higher education system in an economically advanced country. Additional attention goes to the dissimilarities between the private sector and the more predominant public tertiary education institutions in New Zealand. It becomes apparent that the private sector has characteristics that make it quite different from that of the public sector in New Zealand.
Private higher education has surged in recent decades and now forms a major part of the world's total higher education. A fourth of total enrollment might be a reasonable guess, albeit a very rough one. Only Western Europe remains mostly marginal to the global trend. Whether new or continuing, contemporary private growth is notable, especially in developing regions.
This working paper provides only an introductory, quite partial sketch of how private higher education tends to fit broader higher education patterns, particularly patterns of recent change. Since higher education, and even just private higher education, is very diverse and involves multiple tendencies, it would be far too simple to say merely that private higher education fits broad higher education tendencies. Yet we see reason to highlight private sector characteristics such as huge expansion, responses to rising student demand and changing economies, average smallness in institutional size, tuition dependence, commercial orientations, hierarchical governance, political order, and a certain global self-identification. On the other hand, comparatively limited on the private side are academic research, graduate education, full-time staff, government finance, and government control.
This working paper reviews concepts and categories developed in private higher education research, analyzing their applicability to lower levels of education. Most specifically and prominently, the paper uses the three waves of private growth identified in Latin American higher education-Catholic, elite, and demand-absorbing-and categories of finance, governance, and function to analyze new and prior private growth in primary and secondary schools in the Dominican Republic.
For Latin American private higher education, Levy (1986a) identified certain patterns of growth. The private sector expansion began with Catholic universities, followed by some elite secular universities, and lastly a boom of secular institutions that absorb a growing demand that the public sector could not satisfy. This pattern was confirmed for the Dominican Republic (Levy, 1991). Like some other Latin American nations, the Dominican Republic did not have a private university until the 1960s, the first being a Catholic university. Later, other private institutions emerged, two of them classified as institutions for the elite. The great demand for higher education facilitated the proliferation of many private institutions. In the last decades, the private higher education sector growth in the Dominican Republic has been remarkable. More than 60% of the enrollment is in private higher education institutions. Hence private higher institutions in Dominican Republic have emerged in three waves, following the regional patterns for Latin America, each one with a relatively distinctive role and its own rationales and dynamics. Has primary and secondary private education followed a similar pattern of growth? Such an inter-level question has not hitherto been studied in any country.
Thus, this working paper analyzes causes of the non-higher education proliferation of the private sector and identifies parallel patterns of growth to those found in private higher institutions. However, differences are also found. Contrasts are presented and may facilitate understanding the characteristics of each level (see appendix 1) as well as the distinction between private and public institutions.
Within and beyond Africa, it is the public sector much more than the private sector that is the scene of strikes and other forms of disorder, conflict and difficulty. Yet the private sector can be much affected by the public problems. Effects may be simultaneously positive for the private sector and deleterious for the public sector. Although a few higher education works have considered the private sector impacts of general public sector disorder, our Kenyan case study goes much further in uncovering and detailing inter-sectoral dynamics. Compared to the (sparse) literature on higher education inter-sectoral dynamics, it extends consideration from Latin America to Africa, from elite to other private higher education, and from challenges facing public universities to ensuing challenges facing private universities. It also extends consideration of strikes to the faculty side. Faculty strikes have been less common than student strikes in higher education, but Africa stands out for experiencing both strike forms. We treat faculty strikes as a prominent case of the wider phenomenon of disorder, conflict, or difficulty.
The ramifications of public disorder do not stop at one-shot impacts on private higher education. On the contrary, the Kenyan case reveals dynamic and multiple, sometimes sequential, public-private interactions. The public sector does not haplessly suffer and the private sector does not inevitably gain. Both face challenges as the other sector shifts strategies and as macro political and economic contexts change. The case of Kenyan faculty strikes tells us much about unfolding realities in African higher education and much about private-public dynamics more widely. Whether in regard to particular private gains or generally in regard to multiple public-private shifts, the case provides insights into significant conceptual and empirical questions about inter-sectoral impacts-whether in higher education or beyond.
In most post-communist countries, the beginning of the 1990s witnessed creation and growth of private higher education institutions on the one hand and privatization of public educational services on the other. The Georgian developments mostly fit this general pattern, but, in many respects, it is an extreme case. First of all, both private and public sectors in higher education saw striking fluctuations in their growth patterns. Besides, these powerful developments took place against a fairly unchanged regulatory background. For these reasons, examination of the Georgian trends allows better appreciation of the relationship that exists between private and public sectors in higher education, as well as further generalizations. It is argued here that in Georgia, in face of a lax regulatory regime, increased market competition has served as one of the main factors for shaping private-public sector dynamics. That is, rapid private higher education proliferation in the beginning of the 1990s had greatly contributed to the fall in the public sector's enrollment share, while rigorous public sector privatization later took its toll on the private sector's share of enrolment. Examination of institutional types also reveals significant interrelationships between the nature of the courses offered by the two sectors in higher education.
One of the salient concerns in contemporary higher education internationally is access, which is rapidly expanding. Another salient trend is the rapid expansion of private higher education. These two salient tendencies have not been treated in scholarship as heavily intertwined. Much of the reason is that many people associate “private” with “elite,” in part because of the U.S. reality of leading private universities clearly associated with elite functioning. In much of the rest of the world, suspicion of privates runs deep and there is little disposition to couple the negative connotations of private with the positive connotations of access.
Yet as enrolment has been rising rapidly and keeps increasing, there are strong limitations on what can be accommodated through public higher education. Practically, either access is spurned, widely considered politically, socially, and even economically untenable or there must be explosive growth of private higher education. This is largely a matter of demand for higher education greatly outdistancing at least the public supply of higher education. Thus, much of the link between access and private higher education concerns “demand-absorbing” institutions, which is not to overlook more specialized avenues of access to other types of private institutions. At any rate private higher education has grown powerfully in recent decades and seems destined to grow further. India is a marked case of still very low cohort enrolment in higher education but with great demand and rapid private growth.
This paper examines different institutional characteristics of Thai private higher education in historical-organizational perspective. The analysis applies different conceptual categories of private emergence—Catholic, elite, demand-absorbing—drawn from international literature starting with Levy (1986) to the Thai case. The societal context of Thai private higher education is rooted fundamentally in the hands of both religious foundations and the business sector. Thai diversification partly conforms to international schema but also shows varying emphases. Catholic must be expanded to religious-oriented and elite reformulated as semi-elite. Although demand-absorbing institutions are the majority in the Thai private sector—as also seen elsewhere—the demand-absorbing subsector shows great internal variations. For all the three conceptual categories, missions may be assessed accordingly. Finally, the paper discusses a growing hybrid trend within the Thai private sector.
India demonstrates many features characteristic of private higher education in much of the world. Among these features are proportional size, with roughly 30 percent of total enrollment, and fast growth. Also rather typical is finance, which comes almost exclusively from non-government sources, principally tuition, while public higher education is mostly though decreasingly funded by government. Related to rapid growth and finance is the private sector’s preponderance of commercial over academically strong institutions, bringing criticisms about quality and even fraud, including as many legally nonprofit institutions appear to be for-profit in reality. There are also religious and semi-elite private institutions but the clear majority of private enrollments lie in the non-elite and demand-absorbing sub-sector. Unsurprisingly, then, the extent and form of regulation is vigorously debated. All this is common internationally.
On the other hand, though less powerfully, Indian private higher education also stands out for a number of relatively unusual configurations. Some are functions of the country’s huge size. Its private sector nearly rivals that of the United States as the world’s largest in absolute enrollment. Yet India’s overall higher education system remains notably small in cohort enrollment—which suggests large latitude for further growth in the system overall and for the private share in particular. Another set of relatively unusual configurations relates to the political system. The world’s greatest private growth is occurring in developing countries, most of which are non-democratic or problematically democratic. India is remarkably democratic. Indeed it is remarkably decentralized in its democracy, with a large role for individual states, Congress, and even the courts, and with vigorous debate among political parties. Debate over private higher education is particularly intense as deeply held socialist and state-oriented beliefs clash with the overall political-economic trend of privatization.
The private sector’s role in higher education access has received limited attention, though the expansion of the sector globally has immediate implications for the ability of the system to serve more students. In the U.S. case, the private sector includes both nonprofit and for-profit forms, with the for-profit institutions comparable in critical ways to the growing private sector in other countries. Developing quickly as significant members of the higher education enterprise in the U.S., for-profits can be compared along several access dimensions with public and nonprofit institutions to determine how they contribute to overall access in the U.S. system. This comparison demonstrates the role of for-profit higher education as an access path in terms of scope of programs offered, the numbers and types of students served, and the cost of providing access in a for-profit model.Yet this assessment shows the ambiguity of access as it relates to the for-profit sector. It is clear that for-profit higher education increases the availability of higher education beyond what it would be with exclusively public provision. In addition, new students are brought into higher education who may not be served by existing institutions. But this access comes at a cost. Most obviously, the personal expense incurred by students pursuing this path is constraining, even though the U.S. indirectly subsidizes the sector through financial aid to all students. Access is also constrained by the limited scope of programs available in the for-profit sector, and the limited capacity of most institutions. Quality and efficacy remain a concern, especially considering much aid is in the form of loans that students must repay after graduation. Because of the importance of the aid subsidy to the viability of the for-profit sector, access remains dependent on state support, even as the sector serves successfully as an alternative path to higher education.
Private higher education literature recognizes large public-private differentiation in terms of field of study. Relative to public counterparts, private universities tend to offer their services in fields that require low initial investments and present at least relatively attractive internal private rates of return. Thus, the main objective of this paper is to evaluate the university market in Argentina to confirm if this pattern is still present or, due to political and market forces, for example, private-public differences have tended to blur overtime. We study this dynamic from both the supply (percentage of institutions offering a determined degree program) and the demand side (percentage of students). Although important to assess public-private differentiation, the former has not been the object of in-depth analysis in the literature. The demand side, much more studied, is evaluated here through a longitudinal approach (1975-2006) to see if the public-private distinction is now less fundamental. A main conclusion is that public universities have gotten more and more into “private waters” while, when there is an opportunity, privates have increased their presence in some fields that were once “public property”.
No topic in private higher education study has attracted as great attention globally as has growth. This is appropriate as private growth has soared to nearly a third of the world’s total higher education enrollment. But while private growth continues to be the dominant trend, important declines in private shares have emerged. These must be analyzed and understood.
What is private decline depends partly on definition. For the most part declines occur in private enrollment shares, rarely in absolute numbers. Declines also sometimes occur in private subsectors rather than in the private sector overall. Some declines are merely transitory. Short of actual decline we also find notable slowing of private growth rates.
After citing notable historical examples of private decline, we focus on contemporary social factors and political factors. The social factors revolve around two main dynamics: diminution of social distinctiveness or groups that have fueled private growth; demographic changes that fall hard on private sectors. On the political side we consider political regime change and regulation, then shifting to analysis of hefty multi-dimensional expansion within the public sector.
None of these dynamics reverses the continued dominant tendency of private growth but they do provide counter-tendencies important to grasp and with potential to accelerate.
Organizational diversity has been empirically proved as a prevailing phenomenon in the global expansion of private higher education. Chinese private higher education, which surged as a response to supplement public education provision and absorb demands in the education market, demonstrates different organizational forms and operational models. While there is ample evidence about variations in private higher education, there is a lack of theoretical accounts for the diversity. This article tries to provide a theoretical understanding of organizational diversity in Chinese private higher education through a revised lens of institutionalism. It discovers a number of conditions leading to diversification of private higher education in China, such as the short history as an organizational field, lack of firm or extensive legal and normative framework, severe inter-organizational competition, decentralized system and variations of economies and policies among provinces, higher institutional autonomy, as well as hierarchy and business nature. At the same time, the paper finds isomorphic tendencies due to private institutions’ imitation of programs from their public counterparts and inter-organizational imitation within the private sector, arising from shared values among teachers and increasing governmental regulation on private higher education.
This study examines isomorphic and diversifying changes in Turkish private higher education institutions. Within and across the institutions isomorphic changes are common while diverse patterns appear among institutions with semi-elite characteristics. Within the limits of the national centralized system the semi-elite universities emerged as distinctive organizations and a few have grown into leading institutions competing with the top performing public universities. They have become the innovators in running different academic programs, curricula and administrative structures. But the largest group of private (“foundation”) universities bears the demand absorbing role showing isomorphic characteristics. Three critical elements of isomorphic change--coercive, mimetic and normative--are observed in these institutions. With the exception of the small number of distinctive organizations showing semi-elite characteristics, Turkey’s private (“foundation”) universities remain small and similar to one another.
For the last 25 years it has been legally possible for private providers to deliver diploma and degree programs in New Zealand. Over this period these providers have contributed significantly to the growth of the country’s higher education sector. The purpose of this paper is to look at the current state of New Zealand’s private higher education providers; especially how they have performed in more recent years since the Global Economic Crisis in 2008. New Zealand’s private higher education providers have a number of characteristics that distinguish them from the government run providers which has enabled them to survive as niche providers in the face of strong competition from the latter.