Universities, Inc.

Universities run much like any other human institutions, something that seems as obvious as it has long been misunderstood. They need revenue, market themselves, and in general serve their self interest. We look at how American higher education operates in ways that many Americans may not know. See all our Special Reports

Sweet Briar College in Virginia. The liberal arts college was saved from closing only by the intervention of alumni and others.

With enrollment sliding, liberal arts colleges struggle to make a case for themselves

To thwart the skepticism of prospective students, some map job options, offer guarantees

University of Washington freshman Jenica Tran says it’s mostly up to students to make sure they graduate on time. “You can get the help if you go out to seek it, but you have to do it on your own,” she says.

Embattled colleges focus on an obvious fix: helping students graduate on time

While most students expect to earn degrees in four years, fewer than half actually do

“I never want to be in a neighborhood where I’m shot at again.”

A first-generation college graduate reflects on moving up America’s class ladder

Are America’s colleges promoting social mobility?

Economists dig into the data to understand which schools are doing the most to help revive the American Dream

The University of La Verne near Los Angeles. The university makes it easier than most private colleges for students to transfer from other institutions.

Transfer students start getting more of the credits they’ve already earned

Pushed by enrollment slump and political pressure, colleges lower barriers to transfer

Students, employees scour college finances for waste, proof of unfair pay

As public confidence declines, university budgets and investments face growing scrutiny

Student Amalia Lewis-Miller at the Cuyahoga Community College Eastern campus, where a special program helped her finish on time. The program is being eliminated.

Worried about enrollment and judged on success, some colleges boost support

But the high price of helping a new generation of students creates a “dynamic tension”

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A student in the Mississippi Delta raises his hand during class. More than 40 school districts in the state, including many in the Delta, lack qualified teachers.

How one Mississippi college is trying to tackle teacher shortages

Tuition discounts for assistant teachers, scholarships to learn how to teach math are among the programs offered

The United States Capitol. A House bill to revamp the Higher Education Act has moved out of committee for debate, while the Senate is still discussing reform ideas in committee.

If this bill passes, college affordability would go from bad to worse, experts say

House Republicans’ proposal would cut back loans, tighten repayment options and let for-profit colleges become 100 percent federally funded

A college degree, or your money back

A growing number of colleges and universities are guaranteeing a job after graduation

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