Can A Luxury University Buy Its Way To Credibility?

May 31, 2012 in Daily Bulletin

High Point University has engaged in a daring new initiative to attract students by resembling a theme park and a corporate campus writes Carol Matlack. Highlights of the article include:

  • Nido Qubein has led an attempted turnaround of High Point University by leveraging the university’s assets to invest in new infrastructure and thus hopefully buy credibility.
  • Less than 10% of the universities in the United States are considered ‘medallion’ institutions. Qubein is not the first to try and buy his way into the club.
  • However his method is unique. Rather than using the $700 million to attract top academic talent, Qubein is spending money to add luxuries to the campus in a bid to attract rich students – who can then pay for the luxury amenities.
  • Features include schools with marble floors, first-run movie theaters, dorms with plasma-screen televisions and hot tubs.
  • Qubein plans a total of $2.1 billion in campus improvements by 2020.
  • The university that has now acquired a preppy image offers classes in dressing for job interviews and writing business letters.
  • The campus is trying to discourage students from living off-campus by buying all of the off-campus apartments.
  • High Point University’s annual operating budget is $77 million but it is estimated to add $418 million every year to the sleepy mill town in which it is located.
  • The University has added new majors such as International Relations.
  • To attract students High Point University offers scholarships – but only if students and parents visit the university first. The hope is that visitors will be so impressed that they’ll choose to go even if they don’t win the scholarships.

To read about the somewhat suspicious links between High Point University, and Qubein’s own business interests, how his salary has increased, what a tuition at the university looks like, why the success of the university might have come at the expense of black students, how academic standards may have slipped, why piercings and tattoos are discouraged, how flyers are banned, and why Qubein compares his students to Godiva chocolates, click here.

Edit: To read a rebuttal of some of these points please scroll down to the comments below.

Source: BusinessWeek

Via: Marginal Revolution