Family-Owned Universities

Fit for the Twenty-First Century?


  • Edward Choi Yonsei University, South Korea
  • Philip G. Altbach Center for International Higher Education, Boston College
  • Hans de Wit Center for International Higher Education, Boston College
  • Matt R. Allen Institute for Family Entrepreneurship


Family-owned universities, family business, private higher education


Family-Owned or -Managed Higher Education Institutions (FOMHEIs) are a remarkable phenomenon—which, despite having a global presence, is almost entirely ignored. FOMHEIs exist on every continent and number in the thousands. Many are established with a social mission and are nonprofit, while others are for-profit and linked to family businesses. Despite their unequivocal “familiness” dimension, FOMHEIs retain the character of academic enterprises, while departing from their nonfamily-based counterparts in several major ways.

Author Biographies

Edward Choi, Yonsei University, South Korea

Edward Choi is an instructor at Yonsei University, South Korea, and doctoral graduate of the Center for International Higher Education (CIHE) at Boston College, US. Email:

Philip G. Altbach, Center for International Higher Education, Boston College

Philip G. Altbach is research professor and distinguished fellow, CIHE, Boston College. Email:

Hans de Wit, Center for International Higher Education, Boston College

Hans de Wit is distinguished fellow and professor emeritus, CIHE, Boston College. Email:

Matt R. Allen, Institute for Family Entrepreneurship

Matt R. Allen is associate professor in the Entrepreneurship Division, faculty director for the Institute for Family Entrepreneurship, and academic director for the Global Successful Transgenerational Entrepreneurship Practices (STEP) Project. Email:




How to Cite

Choi, E., Altbach, P., de Wit, H., & Allen, M. (2021). Family-Owned Universities: Fit for the Twenty-First Century?. International Higher Education, (107), 3–5. Retrieved from