The Global Phenomenon of Family-Owned or Managed Universities

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Although an entirely unknown part of higher education worldwide, there are literally hundreds of universities that are owned/managed by families around the world. These institutions are an important subset of private universities—the fastest growing segment of higher education worldwide. Family-owned or managed higher education institutions (FOMHEI) are concentrated in developing and emerging economies, but also exist in Europe and North America. This book is the first to shed light on these institutions—there is currently no other source on this topic.

Who owns a university? Who is in charge of its management and leadership? How are decisions made? The answers to these key questions would normally be governments or non-profit boards of trustees, or recently, for-profit corporations. There is another category of post-secondary institutions that has emerged in the past half-century challenging the time-honored paradigm of university ownership. Largely unknown, as well as undocumented, is the phenomenon of family-owned or managed higher education institutions. In Asia and Latin America, for example, FOMHEIs have come to comprise a significant segment of a number of higher education systems, as seen in the cases of Thailand, South Korea, India, Brazil and Colombia. We have identified FOMHEIs on all continents—ranging from well-regarded comprehensive universities and top-level specialized institutions to marginal schools. They exist both in the non-profit and for-profit sectors.

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Philip G. Altbach is Research Professor and Founding Director of the Center for International Higher Education at Boston College. He is author of, among others, Global Perspectives on Higher Education (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2016).

Edward Choi is a PhD candidate in higher education at the Lynch School of Education and Human Development, Boston College and Research Assistant at the Center for International Higher Education, Boston College. Edward received a master’s degree in international educational development from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Mathew R. Allen is an associate professor in the entrepreneurship division, faculty director for the Institute for Family Entrepreneurship, and academic director for the Global Successful Transgenerational Entrepreneurship Practices (STEP) Project. His expertise is in the effective management of human capital within entrepreneurial environments, especially family enterprises.

Hans de Wit is Director of the Center for International Higher Education (CIHE) at Boston College, USA. He is founding editor of the Journal of Studies in International Education (Sage), consulting editor of the journal Policy Reviews in Higher Education, associate editor of International Higher Education, and co-editor of the book series Global Perspectives in Higher Education (Brill | Sense).
This book is the first volume on family-owned/managed institutions of higher education and will be of interest to policy makers, academic leaders, and researchers concerned with private higher education worldwide. It will also be of interest to those interested in family-owned businesses. This is truly a pioneering book on an important aspect of higher education—there are hundreds, if not thousands, of family-owned or -managed universities worldwide.