Brazil’s For-Profit Higher Education Dilemma

  • Marcelo Knobel
  • Robert Verhine
Keywords: Private higher Education, For-Profits, Brazil


Brazil's higher education system is characterized by a relatively small public sector, focused on research-intensive universities, and a huge private sector, which has grown continually since the 1970s due to burgeoning demand. The private sector is now dominated by for-profit institutions which, by definition, seek immediate financial gain rather than the long-term public good. In this article, we discuss current trends with respect to for-profit institutions, giving special attention to the recent creation of mega-establishments through a series of mergers involving both national and international investors. We close by warning of some of the negative implications potentially associated with the country’s dependence on for-profit higher education.

Author Biographies

Marcelo Knobel

Marcelo Knobel is director, Brazilian National Nanotechnology Laboratory,
and professor, Instituto de Física Gleb Wataghin, University of
Campinas (UNICAMP), Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil.

Robert Verhine

Robert Verhine is professor, Faculdade de Educação,
Federal University of Bahia, and senior fellow, Lemann Center for
Educational Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Brazil, Stanford University, US.

How to Cite
Knobel, M., & Verhine, R. (2017). Brazil’s For-Profit Higher Education Dilemma. International Higher Education, (89), 23-24.
Latin American Issues