With public research institutions like the University of Michigan struggling in the face of declining public funding, some have called for universities to manage themselves like businesses, University of Illinois President Joseph White said at Friday’s symposium.

“Sometimes I’d like to, but you wouldn’t let me – and I shouldn’t,” White said.

Although schools like the University of Phoenix have followed corporate business practices and made billions, trying to run public research universities this way wouldn’t be effective, he said. White, a former dean and interim president at the University of Michigan, said universities would have to take a number of regrettable steps to maximize profits.

Raise tuition for every program with excess demand

Close expensive programs including medical schools and public health programs

Close the highly unprofitable library system

Close all academic departments and units that don’t funnel students into high-paying careers

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