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Neoliberalism and For-Profit Universities: The Case of Laureate International

Ariza, Kiev (2018) Neoliberalism and For-Profit Universities: The Case of Laureate International. PhD thesis, University of York.

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For-profit universities are growing in importance as alternative providers in higher education. This thesis analyses structural changes in the configuration of global higher education systems, particularly where states have instrumented neoliberal policies, thus modifying traditional social structures and the meaning of the public good. Moreover, I describe existing global trends in higher education and explore the implications of neoliberalism in higher education. Adopting a qualitative positivist research strategy, I conduct a case study approach of an American multinational corporation with four units of analysis and using interviews with Laureate staff and higher education analysts (n=35) and documents as primary evidence, I drew my findings using thematic analysis. The thesis contributes to an emerging body of scholarly research about for-profit universities and multinational corporations investing in global higher education. Analysis indicates that the for-profit universities’ operational efficiency and strategic flexibility contributes to the reproduction of neoliberalism in higher education in the search for institutional legitimacy and that this is achieved through multiple strategic collaborations with public and private institutions. The profit motive is not only an ideological driver for the reproduction of neoliberalism in academia, but often a starting point in the intellectual and pragmatic configurations of a privatized higher education system by the state. Analysis revealed that social responsibility and sustainability in higher education is of great importance for the operation of a for-profit university and its legitimacy, and that there are multiple roles of the state given increasing privatization, massification, commodification, marketisation, internationalization and unbundling of higher education, where austerity, increasing tuition fees and the philosophy of competition and operational efficiency assimilates universities’ financial priorities between public and private higher education institutions and reproduces neoliberalism in academia. These findings have significant implications for national governments, policy makers, as well as leaders of academic institutions and societies.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Neoliberalism; Higher Education; For-Profit Higher Education; For-Profit Universities; Internationalization; Marketisation, Commodification; Massification; Privatization; Legitimacy; Sustainability; Public Good; Strategic Flexibility; Efficiency; Profitability; Profit Motive; Higher Education Policy
Academic Units: The University of York > The York Management School
Depositing User: Dr Kiev Ariza
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2019 16:16
Last Modified: 15 Mar 2019 16:16
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/23033

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