© 2017

For-Profit Universities

The Shifting Landscape of Marketized Higher Education

  • Tressie McMillan Cottom
  • William A. Darity, Jr.


  • Studies how students move through institutional sectors in higher education

  • Compares the roles and social effects of for-profit and non-profit colleges and universities

  • Systematically analyses the operation and impact of proprietary institutions of higher education


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiv
  2. Tressie McMillan Cottom
    Pages 1-8
  3. Rhonda Vonshay Sharpe, Steve Stokes, William A. Darity Jr.
    Pages 119-157
  4. D. Diego Torres, Jane Rochmes, David J. Harding
    Pages 159-221
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 223-224

About this book


This edited volume proposes that the phenomenon of private sector, financialized higher education expansion in the United States benefits from a range of theoretical and methodological treatments. Social scientists, policy analysts, researches, and for-profit sector leaders discuss how and to what ends for-profit colleges are a functional social good. The chapters include discussions of inequality, stratification, and legitimacy, differing greatly from other work on for-profit colleges in three ways: First, this volume moves beyond rational choice explanations of for-profit expansion to include critical theoretical work. Second, it deals with the nuances of race, class, and gender in ways absent from other research. Finally, the book's interdisciplinary focus is uniquely equipped to deal with the complexity of high-cost, low-status, for-profit credentialism at a scale never before seen. 


students private sector college shareholder organization institutional sector social stratification

Editors and affiliations

  • Tressie McMillan Cottom
    • 1
  • William A. Darity, Jr.
    • 2
  1. 1.Virginia Commonwealth University Department of SociologyRichmondUSA
  2. 2.Duke UniversityDurhamUSA

About the editors

Tressie McMillan Cottom is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Virginia Commonwealth University, USA, and a Faculty Associate at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard University, USA. She is a former Fellow at the Center for Poverty Research at the University of California, Davis, USA, and at the Microsoft Social Media Collective.

William A. ("Sandy") Darity, Jr., is Samuel DuBois Cook Professor of Public Policy, African and African American Studies, and Economics, and Director of the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke University, USA. He has served as Chair of the Department of African and African American Studies and was the founding Director of the Research Network on Racial and Ethnic Inequality at Duke. 

Victor H.M. Borden, Indiana University, USA
Bonnie K. Fox Garrity, Accord Integrated Academic and Financial Integration, USA
David J. Harding, University of California, Berkeley, USA
Thomas A. Mays, Miami University, USA
Jane Rochmes, Stanford University, USA
Rhonda Vonshay Sharpe, Bucknell University, USA
David Diego Torres, Rice University, USA
Gaye Tuchman, University of Connecticut, USA
Jonathan White, University and College Union, UK

Bibliographic information