U21 Global: The In/Corporation of Higher Education

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Judith Walker


This article addresses problems behind the growing commercialization of higher education, taking the example of U21 Global—a corporate alliance through which a consortium of universities delivers online degrees for profit. I look specifically at the decision made by the University of British Columbia (UBC) to join U21 Global and argue two things: first, contrary to claims made by supporters of U21 Global, the agreement won’t improve the university’s ability to play a vital role in the online market for higher education. Second, and more importantly, such commercial partnership invariably lead to a further erosion of institutional autonomy and public accountability in the process.

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