Higher Education and Economic Concepts

This paper explains the similarity of the higher education industry to the marketplace by utilizing terms and concepts often utilized by economists and this shows a clearer comprehension of economics as fundamentally centred on decision-making and strategic planning, as well as tying biblical tenets applications within this centres. 


There is a noteworthy and rising worldwide interest in comprehending and examining the organizational and structural manner of higher education and competition in this industry which is an idiosyncrasy of the marketplace.  Both federal and state governments are focused on exhorting citizenry to attain post-secondary degrees, a move which aims at increasing the individual benefits accrued from education as well as achieving the positive outcomes which will be spilled to the citizenry within higher education domains. The higher education industry has been majorly perceived to be a means to spur economic progress (Teixeira, n.d.). Therefore, there is much similarity between the higher education industry and economic concepts. This paper explains the similarity of higher education industry to the marketplace by utilizing terms and concepts often utilized by economists and by this show a clearer comprehension about economics as fundamentally centered on decision-making and strategic planning, as well as tying biblical tenets applications within this centers. 

In order to gain a better view of this comparison, these terms are linked as follows; the demand of education infers the need to educate the populace, the supply means the number of higher education institutions. Therefore, students become the buyers while institutions and the governments managing the institutions become the sellers. Production refers the ability of the government to offer education both in quantitative and qualitative measure to its citizenry while competition would refer the competitive nature different institutions have within their areas, basing on factors such as customer satisfaction/appeal to the market, efficiency of service, and the marketing strategies that they use to allure customers (Becker & Toutkoushian, 2013). Competition is further ascribed to the varied educational approaches of curricular embraced by governments in offering education services to clientele, as some states and countries could offer matured systems that presents a series of choices for its customers, gaining a market preference.

Varied philosophies have been embraced regarding management of higher education by different nations and states. The traditional model was structured in a centralized manner whereby all decisions with regards to which students could acquire higher education, student distribution in institutions, and permission of operation for institutions as colleges and varsities rested entirely on the government (“States’ Methods of Funding Higher Education,” n.d.). With the rising need of autonomous higher education model has led to the movement to decentralized model whereby, selection and decision to join an institution solely lies on the students and competition amongst institutions, colleges, and varsities is in fact encouraged, and this is widely viewed as a quest to enhance higher education services and to better standards of living of the citizenry. In fact, in the traditional model, the states historically provided funding for institutions with a basis of student enrollment albeit the same was not a guarantee of funding for completion of education (“State Higher Education Finance,” n.d.). However, a recent move has seen states fund institutions that align themselves with policies, objectives, and priorities of the state. 

Higher education policies have often made reference to economic term “market” within the decentralization model though critics have always decried this as commercialization has been bred and there has been a rise in “academic capitalism” since the nature of the higher education industry has changed to profit-making by institutions and a rise of competition for exquisite students and tutors. Similarly, the market ergonomics has changed as different institutions are now able to receive state funding basing on different factors of performance (“Grapevine | College of Education,” n.d.). These are factors that are considered supply factors in economics. The involvement of both local and federal governments in higher education is similar to the economic term of the set of equilibrium, whereby, the government is trying to ensure supply and demand are at bar. The government, just as in economics like stock market, controls the industry.

The societal perception of higher education poses what is commonly referred to as market mechanism in economics. This encompasses the expectation of this industry by parents who send their children to school will the hope that the system will provide them with self-sustaining abilities efficiently, makes the society view higher education as an entity where, despite being a money making venture, it has far wider profits to them. In economics, this model is explained by the fact of utility-maximization of customers and profit-maximization of the institutions (Becker & Toutkoushian, 2013). However, in economics, it is believed that the supposition of idealized markets may not be met, which in this case means that higher education may not be able to accomplish what they hope for, which leads to market failure, described in economics as information irregularity and monopolization of the market by education institutions. This has led to some societies thinking of alternatives to higher education industry.

Investment in higher education decisions is based on individual point of view rather than consideration of the positive impacts it will have on others. The societal assessment of higher education’s quality by the society may indicate a flawed information whereby there is a mismatch between student loans and government organizations mandated to offer loans to students (“A Federal-State Partnership for True College Affordability,” n.d.). Just like in economy where a monopoly exists, in higher education, the focus could be a number of providers of services thence barring potential new institutions from spurting up. In this light, government involvement in higher education is akin to public production entity, the subsidies, legislation, and guidelines it gives on matters higher education works to achieve a market free flow of quality, demand, and capacity which is similar to public production in economics.

There is a close similarity between economics and higher education basing on concepts of market and competition between the institutions (“Performance-Based Funding for Higher Education,” n.d.). However, there is a need for a change in this framework, introduction of innovative ways of extending market power, and globalization of the industry so that a more humanistic approach to education systems are embraced. This is a quest to attain universal approach that is rational and morally upright and incorporates religion as provided by the Bible in 2nd Timothy 3:16-17 where it asserts that every scripture emanates from God and is beneficial for teaching and correction of behavior so that the men equipped with the scriptural knowledge may become competent and ready for good work (New International Version). There is a need that the market and the output of the higher education industry are individuals who will positively impact on the environment around them. Equally, the educationists and public needs to embrace biblical tenets in decision making and planning to achieve a humane approach.

In conclusion, it is evident that economics and higher education are intertwined, and thus educationists, academicians, policymakers, government, and other stakeholders in higher education should apply marketplace concepts in order to attain universality in the industry. Business models that have been hailed in economics as the best need to be evaluated to determine their outcomes and if such signify positive impacts, then it should be embraced. Best talents and capabilities of students and tutors in high education institutions should be distributed as in economics to achieve a wider perspective in the industry as well as incorporation of biblical worldview to instill ethics in higher education and do away with the commercialization notion.