INSIDE HIGHER ED: U.S. For-Profits in Brazil

Career College Central Summary:

  • Business is booming in Brazil for DeVry Education Group, an Illinois-based, publicly traded for-profit education company.
  • DeVry reports that it enrolls more than 58,000 degree-seeking students in Brazil, plus another 53,000 students in test preparatory programs there. According to the company’s latest earnings report, released in April, revenue for DeVry’s Brazil division grew by 38.8 percent over the previous year, while it declined by 15.7 percent for the flagship DeVry University campuses located across the U.S. The company is shutting down 14 of its U.S. campuses.
  • As U.S.-based for-profit education companies continue to face stricter regulations and slumping enrollments and revenues at home, some are venturing abroad in the name of diversification, with Brazil being a main destination.
  • “It represents a growth area and it also represents an escape from the regulatory environment in the U.S. that has proven so difficult for for-profits to adjust to,” said Kevin Kinser, the chair of the department of educational administration and policy studies at the State University of New York at Albany and an expert on for-profit higher education.
  • Kinser said he's struck by the ways in which the for-profit higher education industry in Brazil resembles that of the U.S. a decade ago. “The idea that for-profits are an innovative way of giving access to populations, that there is a very encouraging policy environment in terms of providing different forms of federal aid for students, that kind of excitement and enthusiasm, [the sense that] this is a growth industry, reminds me a lot of what we saw here 8 or 10 years ago,” he said.

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