Guest Blogger : Su Jin Jez, Professor Of Public Policy, Sacramento State
In a recent article in the California Journal of Politics and Policy, I highlight the prominent role that for-profits play in California higher education. Enrollments at for-profit institutions in California have grown rapidly over the past ten years. In 2000, fewer than 100,000 students attended a for-profit, but by their peak in 2009, nearly 400,000 students had enrolled at a for-profit – second to the California Community Colleges in student enrollment, but enrolling more students than the University of California, California State University, or private non-profits. (However, in 2010, for-profit enrollment dropped to below 300,000 – this may be random shifts in enrollment, or, more likely, decreased demand due to the negative press regarding for-profit institutions). Not only are for-profits enrolling a large number of students, they’re issuing a large proportion of the state’s undergraduate awards. They issued about one in five of the state’s long-term certificates, associate’s degrees, and bachelor’s degrees. These awards represent 56% of the state’s long-term certificates, 17% of the state’s associate’s degrees, and 7% of the bachelor’s degrees.
Given the capacity issues at public colleges and universities, California should rethink the way it views and approaches for-profit institutions. The current political environment demonizes for-profits. Not to say that they haven’t done plenty to be demonized for, but it’s time for state policymakers to start thinking about how for-profits can help the state rather than focusing on how to minimize the harm that they can do.
Read the full article here for details on for-profit certificate and degree production and my suggestions for state policy in creating a role for for-profits in California: