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Private universities and colleges have an important role in the massive expansion of higher education in India in the last two decades. According to latest official statistics, there are 777 universities in India. Of these around 261 are private universities. Among the 38498 colleges, more than 77% are in the private sector. They cater to 67% of the total higher education enrolment in the country.
However, not enough discussions are happening in the country about the status and role, especially the social impact, of these institutions. Recently, Pritam Singh, former director of the prestigious public business school Indian Institute of Management Lucknow, made an important observation about the state of private business schools in India:

While certain private institutes have managed to break away from the stereotypes attached and emerged as quality Institutes, there are still several problems plaguing the private sector today. The most important one is that owners of private colleges consider them to be businesses rather than educational institutes. More importance is put on infrastructure rather than research work and the quality of faculty is bad. Quality faculty is not willing to take up such jobs because such institutes don’t pay well or give their teachers autonomy and freedom for research.

Similarly, eminent Indian journalist T.J.S George had recently brought the pathetic state of certain private professional institutions in the country into public attention through his weekly column in the Indian Express. He questioned not only the commercialisation of education but also the institutional culture in private institutions by citing a recent incident happened in South India in which the chairman of an engineering college was hacked to death by a gang armed with sickles. This brutal incident was the culmination of a long-running gang war. George raised a very pertinent question in his column: what have people of this kind got to do with colleges of engineering and stuff?
In India, the majority of private

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Universities are caught in a privatization trap that they built themselves and that will be difficult to take apart, argues Christopher Newfield.

This country’s public universities face the Trump administration in a weakened condition. That is partly because they have suffered years of state funding cuts and still aren’t back to pre-2008 levels. But it’s also because they have long embraced a private-funding model that doesn’t work and whose weaknesses Trump and his people can exploit.

A painful example is the proposed 18 percent cut to the National Institutes of Health, which Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price has contended would not hurt research, as it would mostly focus on cutting back on overhead expenses to universities. An 18 percent budget slash sounds catastrophic -- until you remember that companies take these kinds of hits and survive. So do American families, where illness or job loss lead to cuts far greater than that.

The same goes for public universities: few have not had a cut on that scale sometime in the past 25 years, and still fewer have admitted that such losses hurt educational quality. Since universities survived the financial crisis with little damage -- that they have disclosed -- what would keep the citizenry awake at night about an 18 percent cut for medical research?

Research directors reply that it would be terrible indeed: National Science Foundation Director France Cordova, for example, has said the proposed cuts endanger the economy, since “half of our present GDP is due to investments in science and technology.” Researchers have noted that the current funding austerity already appears in the form of the declining average success rate for grant applications, which has been cut nearly in half since 2001, from 27 percent to 16 percent. Four in five applications go unfunded, with presumably valuable results to medical knowledge possibly lost.

Such arguments might work if voters thought science needed public funding to get to the public. But the unfortunate fact is that

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JINAN, April 13 (Xinhua) -- The ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) piloted a program in Shandong Province by sending cadres to occupy senior positions in private universities to overhaul weak party building and ideological work.

Unlike public universities, private schools generally do not have Party chiefs at the core of management, or any strong Party organizations.

In the first part of the program, five cadres were assigned to head Party committees of Qilu Institute of Technology, Qingdao University of Technology and three other schools, according to the higher education commission under the CPC Shandong provincial committee.

The cadres, all former Party chiefs or deputy chiefs in public universities, are to serve four years in their new posts.

A second batch will be sent later this year, and all 40 private universities in the province will have Party chiefs by 2018.

The authorities said the priority of these cadres was to improve party building and ideological and political work in private higher learning institutions.

About 368,000 students study in Shandong's private universities.

Huang Qi, deputy director of the higher education commission of CPC Shandong provincial committee, said the measure aimed to introduce the successful experience of public universities in party building and ideological and political work to private ones.

He said unignorable problems existed in private universities' ideological education: there were not enough Party cells; supervision of the Party was sometimes loose; and ideological education remained weak.

China's central leadership heightened the importance of college student political education in a high-profile meeting last year.

The leadership pointed out that higher education must be guided by Marxism, and the Party's policies in education must be fully carried out. Students should be educated to be aware of the development trends of China and the world at large and should develop firm beliefs and confidence in communist ideals and socialism with Chinese character

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As financial difficulties take their toll, more mergers like that between UCL and the Institute of Education look inevitable – or will private equity firms step in?

hen academics at the Institute of Education were told that they would be merging with University College London, they were assured it would boost their profile. The IoE was already ranked as world-leading in education. But in a climate of squeezed research funding and highly competitive student recruitment, the merger was seen as a sensible move by many in the sector, who felt that smaller institutions might be at risk.

The alliance crowned UCL as the biggest university in London, with more than 35,000 students, and the largest postgraduate institution in Britain. But two years on, angry educationists say they are underpaid and undervalued in their new institution.

Last month John Yandell, president of the IoE branch of the University and College Union, delivered a petition signed by 1,000 staff and students to UCL’s provost, Michael Arthur, calling for a rise in London weighting to match their UCL counterparts – IoE academics claim they are paid £600 less. He believes members struggle to cope with the high rent, mortgage and travel costs of living in the capital. But he isn’t optimistic about their chances of being heard.
With some modern universities suffering declines of up to 25% in student numbers, experts say an increase in university mergers is inevitable. “The main driver will be that some institutions will become financially unsustainable – if they aren’t already,” says Prof Roger Brown, former vice-chancellor of Southampton Solent University.

Glynne Stanfield, head of the international higher education practice at law firm Eversheds, who has advised on several university mergers, says lower-ranking institutions that are not meeting student-number targets may well look for a partner. But he argues another likely scenario is that struggling universities may be taken over by private sector players waiting in the wings.

“Would the private s

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There was a time when ‘higher education’ and ‘debt’ were mutually exclusive terms. Currently, college tuition is rising higher than the inflation rate, but there still remains one affordable option — community colleges.

The Center on Education and the Workforce projects that by 2018 there will be a demand for 22 million college-educated workers and at the current rate, we will be unable to meet that demand of college graduates. This calls for innovative solutions, such as the ones proposed by Texas lawmakers who have filed several bills to allow some or all community colleges to offer bachelor’s degrees. This offers a practical solution to marry the debate between the accessibility and affordability of a higher education, while also addressing the demand for an educated workforce.

Higher education is an investment in order to tap into opportunities for not only a better paying job, but a higher quality of life. According to Pew Research Center, the earnings gap continues to widen between college-educated and non-educated individuals. In addition, 53 percent of those with a bachelor’s degree reported job satisfaction as compared to the 37 percent without any college.

When you couple this with the demand for an educated workforce, a college education becomes a necessity and not a luxury. By its history, community colleges are meant to provide affordable and accessible higher education. Unlike traditional public or private universities, community colleges were originally called junior colleges and were meant to cover general topics before transferring. Community colleges come at a fraction of the price of a traditional institution or accommodate to job-specific training by offering vocational programs. Additionally, their open admissions policy creates a racially and socioeconomically diverse atmosphere that better reflects this nation’s makeup.

Texans should not only support allowing community colleges to include four-year programs, but also demand that we can at least provide free tuition at these institutions

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New York's private colleges and universities don't know what to expect under the state's free tuition program for students attending public colleges.

New York’s freshly signed free public tuition program puts the squeeze on many of the state’s weakest private colleges and universities.

Private college presidents know it. But most aren’t yet sure what to do about it.

Those presidents reacted with a mix of dismay, confusion, criticism and, in some cases, resolve in the days after New York leaders struck a deal to start a tuition-free public college program this fall. The creation of a program in New York caps a winding and unexpected path for the free-college idea, which New York Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed early this year after it appeared to have died with Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid. Cuomo held a ceremonial bill signing for the program Wednesday, which Clinton attended.

The program, called the Excelsior Scholarship, will allow New York residents from families earning up to $125,000 per year to attend the state’s public community colleges and four-year colleges without paying tuition. It will go into effect this fall for students who are newly enrolling at institutions in the State University of New York and City University of New York systems and who come from families with incomes of up to $100,000 per year. The income limit will jump to $110,000 in fall 2018 and $125,000 in 2019. Cuomo’s office estimates that about 940,000 families in the state will be eligible at that point.

The program poses a significant challenge for New York’s many small private institutions, which suddenly find themselves facing a new kind of competition and increasing inter-sector warfare in the state. The pressure will be highest on tuition-dependent colleges and universities that already compete for students in part by heavily discounting their tuition and that draw most of their students from inside the state. More prestigious colleges and universities, which pull in more students from out of state and are more selecti

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Girls who finished year 12 at a private school are most likely to go to university, as the gap between independent, Catholic and government school students who go on to higher education widens to its highest level in recent years.

Private school students were nearly 15 per cent more likely to go to university in 2016 than students at Catholic schools, and nearly 24 per cent more likely than government school students, according to a new report by the Australian National University on what NSW secondary students go on to do after leaving school.

The growing gap can be attributed to the number of Catholic students going to university falling significantly from 62.5 per cent in 2015 to 53.9 per cent in 2016.

At the same time, the number of private school students going to university grew from 64.3 per cent to 68.7 per cent.

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States could save money and increase college-graduation rates by providing modest financial incentives for students to choose private colleges over comparable public ones, according to a report released this week.

The conclusion, which was quickly disputed by a group representing public colleges, comes at a time when a growing number of states are providing the opposite incentives. This week New York became the first state to offer free tuition at both two- and four-year public colleges for middle-class families. Other states are considering similar moves, prompting widespread concern that enrollments could plunge at some tuition-dependent private colleges that recruit heavily from their states.

The report was prepared for the Council of Independent Colleges as part of its efforts to promote the value of the liberal arts and independent colleges. The report was distributed this week to all of the council’s members, to provide talking points when they make the case for financial support from state lawmakers, especially in states where free public-college tuition is on the agenda.

It’s hardly surprising that the council, which represents more than 700 nonprofit independent colleges, would promote a report based on the argument that costs per degree are lower and graduation rates higher at private institutions.

But the report’s authors, both of whom work at public universities, say it is based on a comprehensive analysis of federal data and state-specific simulations in 24 states. In all but two of those states, the proposed shift would save money, the researchers concluded.

The findings were dismissed by Barmak Nassirian, director of federal relations and policy analysis for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.

"I empathize with their plight, and I don’t begrudge them their moment in the sun, if that’s what their report is, but there are lots of problems with it," he said in an interview on Thursday. "They’re trying to make the counterintuitive case that expensive schools are cheaper t

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Private colleges across New York state are calculating their next steps in light of the state’s new Excelsior Scholarship program, which will provide free tuition for low- and middle-income families at public colleges but private college leaders warn could have devastating effects on their institutions.

“The fundamental landscape of higher education in New York state just changed,” said St. Bonaventure University interim President Dr. Andrew Roth. “We’ll have to think about how exactly we respond to do that.”

The plan has been a talking point for leaders of the state’s 150 private colleges since Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced it in January, and is now a reality after its passage with the state budget earlier this month.

Private college presidents, including those of local institutions, say the program could hurt their enrollment by attracting more students to public schools with the promise of free tuition. They say weakening of private colleges, often the focal point of small towns throughout the state, could have economic consequences.

Free tuition even has some schools re-examining private colleges’ long-standing high-tuition, high-aid model — the practice of charging a high list price while also providing a large discount through financial aid.

“Certainly the idea of free tuition is such a powerful sound bite,” said Houghton College President Dr. Shirley Mullen. “I think it does pose a threat, at least in the short run, for the well being of these institutions.”

Privates preferred TAP increase

The Excelsior Scholarship program will make SUNY and CUNY schools tuition-free this fall for students whose families earn less than $100,000. That number will rise to $125,000 in 2019.

However, there are several requirements, including that students remain full-time with at least 30 credits a year and maintain a minimum grade point average. Students will also have to live and work in New York for as many years as they received free tuition, or the scholarship becomes a loan.

“I have to commend the gover

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Student debt is a personal challenge for more than 44 million Americans, but a lucrative business opportunity to the firms that manage the more than $1 trillion now outstanding. With a delinquency rate currently exceeding 11 percent, some see student loans as a major risk to the U.S. economy, one rivaling the mortgage loan market that crashed in 2007. There has also been widespread concern about the effects of college debt on the lives of individual students “what authorities describe as systematic mistreatment of borrowers.” Because these loans are guaranteed or are made directly by the federal government, the U.S. Department of Education is responsible for managing this complex system and balancing the competing interests of the various stakeholders.

Last week, Education Secretary Elizabeth DeVos took action to reverse the course she inherited from the prior administration. In 2015, President Obama announced his Student Aid Bill of Rights, which aimed both to create a more efficient loan management system and to “reduce student loan defaults and encourage borrower success.” In recognizing the needs of borrowers, it sought to more fairly balance the interests of individual borrowers with those of the federal government and those doing business managing the debt under government contract. Two policy directives from the Obama administration’s Department of Education, which Bloomberg News described as directing the Federal Student Aid office to “do more to help borrowers manage, or even discharge, their debt,” were cancelled.

The Obama administration sought to balance the interests of those taking out student loans and the business interests of the private firms contracted to service and collect these debts. Ideally, by taking borrowers’ interests into account, the amount of unpaid debt would be decreased, as would the cost to the federal government, and the harmful effect of predatory practices could be lessened. In her memo to the FSA, Secretary DeVos showed that efficient repayment was the singular goal of her

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