For-profit colleges are probably not as bad as you think – they’re worse. But while disruptive innovation is hard to find in K-12 education because that sector is so highly regulated and has so little formal choice, for consumers in higher education it can take hold. That seems to be what’s happening now and in the long-term it points toward improvement. That’s what I look at in a new column in TIME today:
Last week the for-profit behemoth University of Phoenix said it would close 115 locations. The move comes on the heels of a late September decision by Kaplan Higher Education to stop new enrollment at nine of its sites and consolidate four campuses. Critics are elated, hoping that these moves signal the death knell of for-profit education. And indeed, the stocks of the for-profits are down almost 50% this year according to the Bloomberg index that follows the industry. But love it or hate it, for-profit higher education is unlikely to disappear and is instead shifting to a leaner incarnation online. Before too long, such schools will likely be an accepted part of the landscape alongside traditional public and private universities.
Know what’s been disruptive? The internet. You can use it by clicking here to read the entire column.