Is Higher Education Forgetting Its Purpose?
The purpose of public universities is to serve the needs of their communities.
However, some members of the community believe that many public universities are ignoring their mission.
Those who study colleges and universities say that today’s public universities and faculty members are almost entirely focused on research. As a result, teaching assistants assist professors as instructors or grade essays. Students are being left behind as university leadership focuses on fundraising rather than working with faculty.
Some argue that by leaning toward privatization, encouraging non-residents to matriculate, and becoming more business-like, public universities have forgotten their missions.
Because fewer students are enrolling in public universities, schools are considering privatization. Taxpayer support for public higher education institutions has dwindled, making it more difficult to raise the funds needed to operate.
It’s become a vicious cycle: fewer students enroll in higher education, resulting in lower revenue for universities. Schools raise tuition to cover the costs, but fewer students enroll as a result of the increased cost. For years, the cycle has been repeating itself, but universities have found a way to break the cycle.
By privatizing, public colleges can charge higher tuition while also providing more financial aid to students. More students matriculate, and enrollment rises, as they are eager for help.
Accountability in the business world
Schools are being held accountable for their work by businesses, and colleges are responding by becoming more business-like. Public universities are making greater efforts to assess their effectiveness.
Schools can create metrics and analyze their progress toward meeting them with a vast amount of data to sift through. Colleges can quickly determine what’s working and what’s not by focusing on metrics that matter and they can respond more quickly than ever before.
In essence, public higher education has begun to resemble the industries to which it is held accountable.
Looking for out-of-state students
Out-of-state students are also sought by public universities in order to offset the tuition crisis. Out-of-state students pay more per hour of tuition, so schools make more money.
By attracting non-resident students to their campuses, public universities limit opportunities for low-income or minority candidates, the learner in the community that the school is supposed to serve.
Prospective students who need them the most are being ignored by public universities.
It’s possible that public universities haven’t forgotten their missions; they’ve just had to adapt them to stay relevant in today’s world.