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Public-private Partnership: How and Why Six Community Colleges Loved and Left a For-profit Partner


Colleges are increasingly open to partnering with private entities to implement new and innovative programs. Community colleges, in particular, may find such partnerships beneficial, given that these institutions often lack the necessary resources to invest up-front in programs that may yield strong long-term dividends. In this article we report on an examination of a partnership between a privately-held firm and six community colleges, which had established honors programs with the goal of facilitating students’ transfer to highly selective institutions. Our analysis traces the evolution of the partnership and the reasons for its eventual failure, and we offer insights for public institutions and privately-held companies wishing to establish similar partnerships.

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The American Honors study was conducted through the Community College Research Center at Teachers College, Columbia University, and was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

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Correspondence to Negar Farakish.

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Farakish, N., Jaggars, S. & Fay, M. Public-private Partnership: How and Why Six Community Colleges Loved and Left a For-profit Partner. Innov High Educ (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10755-020-09500-2

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  • Public-private partnerships
  • Community colleges
  • Honors program