Brazil’s For-Profit Higher Education Dilemma

Marcelo Knobel, Robert Verhine


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.


Private higher Education; For-Profits; Brazil

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