The Program for Research on Private Higher Education
Dedicated to Building Knowledge about Private Higher Education around the World
IHE Winter 2002

"Pseudo U" or "What's in a Name?"


In the lead article in International Higher Education, fall 2001, Philip Altbach makes an important and provocative attack on “The Rise of the Pseudouniversities.” His “pseudouniversities” are for-profit postsecondary institutions specializing in high-demand fields. Altbach articulates arguments often made about these institutions and raises several interesting points. Unlike more zealous critics, he neither advocates closing pseudouniversities nor denies their value. But, he declares “it is time to call a halt” to allowing these institutions to label themselves as universities. Only a rash response would attempt a blanket defense of pseudouniversities or a full refutation of Altbach’s case. Given the surge of pseudouniversities, however, it is worthwhile to engage in debate about how to depict them most accurately. What follows raises doubts about the case for denying the U. in Pseudo U

Date Published:
Mar 2002