Chilean Traditional Universities

Coordinates: 33°24′S 70°42′W / 33.4°S 70.7°W / -33.4; -70.7
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33°24′S 70°42′W / 33.4°S 70.7°W / -33.4; -70.7In Chile, universidades tradicionales ("traditional universities") refer to universities founded before the 1980s. It usually includes universities derived from traditional ones. A more precise term is Universidades del Consejo de Rectores (Universities of the Rectors' Council).


Chilean Traditional Universities is not a specific term since it reflects only the history of a given university and is not a valid description of the university itself or of the way that university is organized. For example, even though the Universidad Católica refers to itself as a "traditional university", it is more correctly described as a "private Catholic university" (e.g. the Catholic University of Leuven), as the government, and the people in extension, do not intervene in the governance of the university.

This distinction was needed because the Pinochet regime changed the higher education system, effectively dismembering public universities (like the Universidad de Chile or the Universidad Técnica del Estado) and Catholic universities. This decision, which can be seen as a punitive action against highly "unstable" institutions, or as a mean for better control, also included the opening of the education market, effectively allowing any private citizen to establish a higher education institution. Several small private universities arose after this, most of them directly linked to the dictatorship government members.

These "traditional" universities receive state financial support through many means—even though many of these universities are not public—receiving as they do most of the better students and doing most of the research undertaken by Chilean universities.

Current division or classification of traditional universities in Chile[edit]

These universities can be divided into two groups:

Currently, there are three types of universities in Chile, applicable to the traditional universities, and which classifies them according to specific characteristics:

Twenty-five traditional universities are today grouped in the Consejo de Rectores (Rectors' Council). Since the 1970s, these universities have managed a common higher education admissions test known as the Prueba de Aptitud Académica ("scholastic-aptitude test") and, since 2003, as the Prueba de Selección Universitaria (PSU, "university-selection test"). Some of the more academically accomplished and/or ambitious new private universities, dating from the 1980s and chiefly set up by political groupings, Catholic sects or entrepreneurs, subscribe to PSU for all undergraduate admissions.

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