Universities that seek to maximize profits often minimize students’ education


Over the past decade, UMUC has slowly turned into a money-making venture in all but name. It is giving students with few higher education options a low-level college education, all for the sake of maximizing profit. By doing so, it is joining the likes of University of Phoenix and Kaplan University, who are also chasing the bottom-line over student satisfaction. There are other issues of profitability trumping quality education in higher education, including the intense focus on fundraising at institutions as varied as Stanford University and University of Texas-Austin. But with UMUC and perhaps other public institutions, though, this profitability focus has had an impact on the quality of teaching and learning available to students.

Last month, UMUC took its latest step towards redoing its public institution status. On 30 January, the University System of Maryland’s Board of Regents approved their request for semi-autonomy within the university system. This will allow UMUC to benefit from being part of a fully accredited state university system. Those benefits include continued access to federal higher education funds, less scrutiny from college accrediting organizations and remaining a school with a good reputation (as the public often mixes up UMUC with the University of Maryland at College Park, the state flagship campus). At the same time, this semi-autonomic status will allow UMUC administration to hire, fire and address faculty and staff grievances as they please, increase tuition without the need for state approval and exempt important records like retention and graduation rates from public disclosure.