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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

For-profits are a partner with, not an enemy of, philanthropy | Steve Gunderson, Inside Higher Ed

This column responds to a column I featured April 26: "For-profit colleges undermine traditional role of philanthropy." Gunderson writes that "Johann Neem misses the point" in his column.

Gunderson writes:
While he’s absolutely right that public universities have long played a vital role in society, he fails to see that it’s ultimately the students, more than the universities or their legal structure, that matter. ... I’d suggest that each element of higher education today -- public, private nonprofits and private for-profits -- plays a different, yet important, role.
But what confuses Gunderson the most about Neem's article is "his suggestion that for-profit colleges undermine the traditional role of philanthropy." He writes that "philanthropy -- unlike charity -- is meant to be a long-term strategic investment in positive social change." And he says that most grant-making foundations have "moved to public, private and philanthropic resources." And that includes private as well as public and nonprofit universities.

Gunderson writes:
At a time when state and federal budgets are limiting support and access in traditional institutions of higher education, we should all celebrate the role private-sector colleges and universities provide to keeping our nation competitive and to equipping our students with the skills demanded in today’s workplace.
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