In Pursuit of Prestige
Strategy and Competition in U.S. Higher Education
Higher education is widely regarded as an American success story. It educates unprecedented numbers of students and produces an unrivaled research base. By almost any measure, higher education is a vital part of the U.S. economy and society. Yet there is concern that the sector is inefficient or self-serving and ill equipped to adapt to a changing environment. The information revolution, an aging population, demographic shifts, and a declining fiscal base all present major challenges to American colleges and universities. In Pursuit of Prestige describes the results of a two-year study of higher education in the United States designed to shed light on these issues. This volume examines higher education as an industry. The authors focus on how institutions serve four identifiable markets that generate revenue (student enrollment, research funding, public fiscal support, and private giving). They describe and analyze higher educational institutions' investment, pricing, marketing behaviors, and the nature of competition among schools. They review the industry's basic conditions and market structure, then define the three key dimensions-degree level, scope, and resource allocations-by which institutions map out strategies for competing for markets. The heart of the book is an analysis showing how these strategies are carried out based on site-visit data from 26 highly diverse colleges and universities. This broad sampling covers all geographic regions of the country and every type of institution-from elite research universities to community colleges.