For-Profit Varsities Graded

For-Profit Varsities GradedFor-Profit Varsities Graded

The significant increase in the number and size of for-profit universities has turned into a grave problem for the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology.

At one time, the establishment of such institutions helped address the higher education system’s main problem which was lack of enrollment capacity in existing institutions. But now, given the thousands of vacant seats in undergraduate courses across the country, the need for them is no longer felt by the ministry, Persian language newspaper ‘Iran’ reports.

Experts believe that the ministry should enforce academic standards stringently by eliminating low-quality institutions of higher education. Institutions that fail to offer curricula on par with reputed Iranian academic institutions should be closed.

Recently, head of the Association of For-Profit Universities and Institutions, Ali Ahoun-Manesh, said the universities were evaluated on a 1-5 scale. “Based on the assessment, 47 universities were placed in the top grade.”

“Development of top universities will be encouraged and supported by the Ministry of Science. As an example, if an A-level university makes a request to add a new program to the existing curriculum, the ministry would be flexible in granting permission.”


The ranking of the universities was based on several benchmarks including, student-professor ratio, number of professors, assistant professors and libraries, learning space and sport area per student, laboratories, classrooms and student loans granted.

Ahoun-Manesh said 78 universities and institutions were placed in the second level. They will be supported by the ministry but will face restrictions to start new programs.

Further, 81 universities in the third grade will remain open for now but the validity period of their permit will be reduced.

Nearly 51 universities in the fourth group will not be allowed to develop new programs and will have a reduction in validity period.

The bottom level has 12 universities which were given a six-month ultimatum to fix their flaws and shortcomings, failing which the ministry would close them.

Iran has a large network of private, public and state-affiliated universities offering degrees in higher education. State-run universities are under the direct supervision of the Ministry of Science (for non-medical universities) and Ministry of Health and Medical Education (for medical schools).

There are currently 54 state operated universities, and 42 state medical schools. These are primarily the top choice for students in national entrance exams, and have the most prestigious programs.