Higher Education, 1970-2000

Higher Education, 1970-2000

Higher education in the United States of America was a privilege to few individuals who could afford to pay the fees needed to join the various higher education institutions. Privatization of the higher institutions however changed the higher education system. Many private universities and colleges have come up in the United States of America, thus giving the students who have failed to make it to the more prestigious universities a chance to pursue their dreams. Even though the mushrooming of the private higher institutions has brought down the fees paid in the prestigious universities. Some of them have also emerged as among the best universities in the world in terms of their numerous researches.

In the 1970s about 8.6 million students in the United States were attending higher education institutions. Three-quarters of them were attending institutions that were public; two thirds were in universities, and one third of the students were attending community colleges that were offering two years courses. The 1970s witnessed the expansion of colleges that were offering credentials that was below that of a bachelor’s degree. New community based colleges were also built so as to create more room for students who wanted to join the institutions of higher learning (Thelin, 2011).

As a result of the expansion and building of new colleges the enrollment of students rose to 12.1million up from 8.6 million. Community based colleges were able to increase the number of students while the public and private (non profit) reduced. The 1980s witnessed a slight increase of enrollment of about 14 percent; the 1990s witnessed a reduction of enrollment of about 11 percent. Apparently this was the year that privatization of colleges was taking root as a result the enrollment of students in institutions that were profit oriented rose to 2.9 percent. The institutions that were there to make profit did not put much emphasis on the students’ capabilities, an idea that one of the great academics Hannah Holborn Gray is against. According to Gray College students should change how they think of college. “Not as an escape or sanctuary, but as another ‘real world,’ one without which the larger world and its possibilities would be impoverished, the quality of its life, its civilizing values and social purposes impaired” (Geiger, 2004).

The profit oriented institutions of higher learning also brought a change in the research work carried out by the students in the universities. Private universities allocated more funds for research by their students as a result some of them are known as the world-class research universities. According to Hannah Holborn Grey’s higher institutions of learning should be places where knowledge is emphasised. The private higher institutions also started providing education systems that was even convenient to people who are working, it gave them a chance to attend part time classes to improve their knowledge. The era of privatization of the higher institutions brought some changes in the education system as more and more students were able to attend the institutions of higher learning. As a result The United States of America has been able to provide top notch higher education (Heller, 2002).


Private institutions of higher learning have brought very many positive changes in terms of the level of research in the higher education systems. Students who are not able to join public institutions have been given the chance to join the private institutions. Private institutions use of huge funds in research has been beneficial to the whole world.


Thelin, J. R. (2011). A history of American higher education (2nd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press

Geiger, R. L. (2004). Knowledge and money: Research universities and the paradox of the

marketplace. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Heller, D. E. (2002). The policy shift in state financial aid programs. In J. C. Smart (Ed.), Higher

education: Handbook of theory and research New York: Agathon Press.