India has the credit of running the second largest higher education system in terms of institutions worldwide, despite having only 26.3% Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER), including vocational education. It aspires to achieve a target of 50% GER by 2035. It means it would require a larger number of higher education institutions (HEIs), public and private, in addition to huge fiscal resources. At present about 75% of the HEIs are privately managed with about 66% of student enrolment. Though there is no provision of for-profit higher education institutions in India, many non-profit private HEIs are actually working as for-profit. They are growing fast and are visible too. Therefore, it is high time now to think seriously about the pros and cons, causes and consequences of for-profit and non-profit private HEIs in India. India provides a big market for non-profit and for-profit higher education to domestic and foreign stakeholders. Already 160 foreign universities are working in collaboration with public or private limited companies in India. This essay provides an analysis of issues related to for-profit and non-profit HEIs, including desirability, size, funding, transparency, accountability, quality, feasibility and sustainability, government policies, regulation, foreign collaborations, private investments, and incentives. The methodology adopted is analytical, comparative, and empirical.
October 11, 2022
Research and Occasional Papers Series (ROPS)