I thought about writing a (more significant) post, but there’s not much I can touch upon that James Joyner didn’t here. There’s no single snippit that I want to excerpt, so I would recommend going over and reading the whole thing.
I am not anti-corporation or anti-profit, though I have to confess some skepticism of for-profit universities. I’ve been contemplating going back to college in an online capacity and have been sticking to state colleges (and WGU). There are so many bad incentives involved that make me skeptical. Bad incentives from the government. Bad incentives from society. Bad incentives for and from the potential customers.
Some of this is related to my very strong belief in the State University. I am not as skeptical of the non-profit privates as the for-profits, but I am still not a huge fan. This does qualify as a bias. When I see a list of state universities that are struggling, I am more likely to come up with alternative explanations as to why this doesn’t mean that the model is necessarily bad. Of course, sometimes I think the model is bad. I think it’s problematic to send ill-prepared kids to college. I question whether open enrollment universities should even exist (I’m more sympathetic to community colleges). But even here, I don’t think the universities themselves are the problem. Even though, if I were running things, at least some of them would cease to exist. But I’ll still take them over their for-profit alternative, so I guess as long as we have the University of Phoenix, we should have a lower-cost alternative.