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Proprietary institutions are private, for-profit, postsecondary institutions. They generally focus on preparing students for specialized careers in fields such as business, performing arts, commercial art, travel, music, fine arts, computer technology, and electronics. For example, the DeVry Inc./Keller Graduate School of Management operates several campuses of the DeVry Institute of Technology, a for-profit institution that offers courses of study in accounting, business, computer information systems, electronics, and telecommunications. Proprietary institutions often employ practicing professionals as part-time or adjunct instructors to offer training directly related to the field of specialization.

The administration of a college or university provides the governing structure of the institution. Although each institution organizes its administration differently, nearly all colleges and universities have a board of trustees, a president, at least one vice president, deans of various divisions, and a number of academic departments. In addition, state college and university systems are governed by state boards of higher education.

State boards of higher education administer most public college and university systems in the United States. Each state governs its system of higher education differently, but most follow one of two basic patterns. In one pattern, all the institutions of higher education are part of one system governed by a single board, which is either appointed by the state governor or elected by the voters. In the other common pattern, the state board of higher education acts as a planning and coordinating agency, but gives a great deal of autonomy to the board of trustees of each institution.

State boards of higher education generally review financial requests and budget proposals and then allocate funds for each college or university in the system. They also approve new programs of instruction and cancel or make changes in existing programs. In addition, they plan for the further coordinated growth and development of the various institutions of higher education in the state. 2021.