Very interesting piece by Marvin Lazerson in the Chronicle of Higher Education on the growth of higher education in the United States and its current challenges.
His essay points out many of the forces and motivations behind the growth higher education in the United States since World War II. Much of this has created a campus full of opportunities for entrepreneurs looking to launch firms. From Lazerson:
In the half-century after World War II, Americans built their dream on three pillars: a new house, new car, and higher education. Over time, higher education came to dominate the dream, for it was a statement about the future, opportunities, and one’s children. As it became the only route to an increasing number of professions and the primary path to economic success, it generated greater and greater expectations, enrollments, and money. It became one of America’s most successful industries. And it became the target of discontent and anger.
Few industries grew as fast, gained such prestige, or affected the lives of so many people. Higher education received remarkable sums of money from federal, state, and local governments. Alumni and foundations gave generously. Families reached into their savings and went into debt so that their children could go to college. Like the automobile industry, the education industry showed itself remarkably deft at marketing and at adding new institutions, programs, and facilities. Like the housing industry, it became sophisticated at showing individuals how to obtain financing, and it created financial-aid packages with generous dosages of public funds.
The entire piece is well worth reading (as are the others on Corporate U.) for gaining insight into why the campus has become a frontier for entrepreneurship and how change has and will continue to offer more entrepreneurs working in and around the campus.