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Keeping them public and not funding them puts them on a long slow slide into irrelevance.
This reflects the ongoing funding issues at both Wisconsin and Illinois. If the state can no longer afford to fund these schools, they should allow them to become private.
I never really appreciated how unique William and Mary is, as a top-flight, non-flagship public LAC/university. It is pretty remarkable that 4 of the top 7 are in southern states, though all 3 of their states (VA, NC, GA) have strong economic centers and a large tech sector.
An admitted bias, but I struggle to see how world-class research universities like Illinois and Wisconsin can be considered as "lesser" than Irvine or Santa Barbara.
Based on statistics (excepting a methodology change), these would be the probable ranges for the first 11 public universities: