Bill Gates Praises Private Sector Institutions

Yesterday, Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft and co-chair and trustee of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, addressed members of the National Association of College and University Business Officers during the association's annual conference in Seattle, WA.

Gates made some compelling arguments regarding the important role private sector institutions play in higher education. Inside Higher Ed has more:

  • [Gates] emphasized the impact that state budget cuts were having on public higher education, and particularly on institutions' ability to provide support services to students.

  • Because for-profits take some of the toughest students to educate and pay a steep price from a regulatory standpoint if too many of them drop out, the institutions have built up student support systems that are top-notch, he said, citing Kaplan chairman Andy Rosen's book

    "For-profits know within 10 minutes when a student hasn't gone to class so they can figure out why," Gates said. Nonprofit institutions, by contrast, tend to have a sophisticated understanding of "how much their alumni give and whether they went to a basketball game.

  • [Gates] painted a future in which a small number of top-quality online courses in key disciplines replace home-grown lectures on many campuses (as leading textbooks have historically done), fretted about what faculty unions could do to interfere with changes in higher education, and said nonprofit colleges could learn something from for-profit colleges about providing support to students.
Additionally, Gates reportedly warned against overly simple rules to hold colleges accountable. More specifically, he advised against the Obama administration's proposed college rating system.  Too much focus on graduates' salary data will also create "huge problems," Gates said.  "All these really simple measures are really difficult."

Read the entire story at Inside Higher Ed.



PSCUs open doors to many of the 9 million unemployed and 90 million undereducated Americans by providing a skills-based education. To remain competitive over the next decade, we must identify between 8 and 23 million new workers with postsecondary skills. PSCUs are a necessary part of that solution, having produced over 800,000 degrees last year alone.