Are there any high prestige for-profit universities?

Here in the US, “for-profit university” or “for-profit college” triggers images of schools like ITT Tech and DeVry that are considered “bottom of the barrel” schools for people who couldn’t get admitted to State U but want to try anyway, and their programs are not held in high regard. It also triggers images of career tech/job training schools such as the ever-increasing set of for-profit schools offering Medical Assistant and Medical Billing and Coding training programs, with heavy advertising.

Is this always the case? It seems that most “respectable” schools in higher education are either run by non-profit organizations (either secular or church-based), or are run by governmental departments (e.g. State Universities). For example, I believe that Virginia Tech is considered to be a government facility of the State of Virginia and it receives a budget from the State.

Are there any exceptions to this rule? Are there any high or medium prestige schools (e.g. of equal or higher prestige as schools such as Virginia Tech or UCLA) that are run by for-profit companies? If not, why is this? Is the for-profit-ness of schools like ITT Tech “keeping them down” so to speak in the public’s eye (meaning that even if they ramp up the difficulty of their programs or their admissions standards, they will forever be considered low-prestige because they are for-profit), or is it just the case that this is the way it has ended up?

What about outside the US? Are there high-prestige Italian, South African, or Japanese universities that are for-profit?

IT seems like that would contridict their ‘for-profit’ aims.

High prestige usually means limiting enrollment to the very brightest students, and hiring the best available teachers.

  • to hire the best teachers, you have to pay more.
  • to limit enrollment to the best students, you have to turn down lots of others.
    Both of those cut into your profit margin.

Aren’t Ivy League universities, MIT, Caltech, Stanford, etc. “for profit” institutions in that they’re private? Private universities tend to have large endowments and get a fair return on investment from them.

I don’t think so. Schools like MIT are non-profit organizations. They are private organizations, but they are not for-profit companies where shareholders demand tuition hikes so that they can get more dividends so they can buy newer BMW’s. Profits are reinvested in the school.

As a general rule, for-profit universities are not research universities, which is a source of prestige.

Many private institutions are not-for-profit and have endowments of various sizes. Other examples would be many charities, religious organizations, museums, some condominiums, and private clubs. Earning a fair return on the endowment doesn’t make it for-profit provided the profits are used to support the not-for-profit purpose of the organization.

Those are all definitely non-profit, even though they are private.

I was flipping through this wikipedia list and I only just now realized that School of Visual Arts in New York City is for-profit. Admittedly I’m not in the art and design world but my impression (I used to live in NYC) is that it has a solid reputation, to say the least.

US Newsgives high rankings to some of its graduate departments – which I know is not the final measurement of quality but it’s probably as good as anything else we can come up with here.