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The public university crisis


Replies to: The public university crisis

  • twogirlstwogirls Registered User Posts: 6,718 Senior Member
    Where do I even begin... :-?
  • tk21769tk21769 Registered User Posts: 10,496 Senior Member
    The cited change in the USNWR ranking of state universities occurred mostly in the late 1980s, apparently reflecting fairly abrupt changes in the ranking methodology (which in the beginning depended entirely on peer assessments). For the past ~decade, the top state university rankings have remained fairly stable.

    I'm not suggesting there isn't ... or is ... a crisis, or that more support to state universities wouldn't be a good thing. However, I'd want to see more evidence to be persuaded that state universities are in serious decline relative to private schools (if that's what anyone here is claiming).
  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn Super Moderator Posts: 37,358 Super Moderator
    I think UT-Austin holds its own, ha. For engineering, I would pick it hands-down over private universities.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 30,892 Senior Member
    Agree with @austinmshauri that wealthy privates can have budget squeezes as well. I've seen it, too.

    And the comment about football colleges having plenty of money is uninformed. Look at UCB and UCLA, for starters.

    This crisis has been going on for a long while.
  • AlexandreAlexandre Registered User Posts: 24,617 Senior Member
    edited April 2018
    I am not sure financial potency is a public university vs private university matter. Universities in general are struggling to keep up with the financial demands and realities of today's higher education landscape.

    Most public flagships receive hundreds of millions of dollars annually from the state. Each $100 million instate funding is the equivalent of $2 billion in private university endowment.

    That being said, there is no doubt that states are struggling to provide sufficient funding for their public universities, but many public universities have realized this trend early and have done a good job of developing their endowments. 30 years ago, not a single public university had an endowment among the top 25 nationally. Today, Michigan, Texas, UVa, Texas A&M, Cal and UCLA are along among the 25 wealthiest universities in the country. Michigan, Texas and UVa are three of only 23 universities in the US that have been bestowed Moody's highest credit rating of Aaa. It should be noted than half the Ivies (Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth and Penn) were all bestowed lower ratings of Aa1.

    Ohio State, Penn State-University Park, Pittsburgh, Minnesota-Twin Cities, UNC-Chapel Hill, Wisconsin-Madison, Michigan State, UDub and Purdue are are also in decent shape, with endowments in excess of $2.5 billion each. Today, approximately 40% of the hundred or so universities with endowments over $1 billion are public.

    Like I said, in addition to their endowments, those universities receive anywhere from $200-$350 million from the state annually, which is the equivalent of an additional $4-$7 billion worth of endowment.

    Also, I am not sure who it is who suggested that private universities have "less oversight", but that is in fact not accurate. Private universities face their own bureaucratic obstacles and red tape inefficiencies, and from what I have seen, they are not any less crippling or daunting than those faced by public universities.

  • milee30milee30 Registered User Posts: 1,766 Senior Member
    "I think UT-Austin holds its own, ha. For engineering, I would pick it hands-down over private universities."

    I think similarly of Georgia Tech.
  • AlexandreAlexandre Registered User Posts: 24,617 Senior Member
    "I think UT-Austin holds its own, ha. For engineering, I would pick it hands-down over private universities."

    I think similarly of Georgia Tech."

    And Berkeley, and Michigan, and UIUC, and Purdue...
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 73,701 Senior Member
    You are only required to pay what you can afford , and this is only available through the huge endowment (especially in the ivies) they have,

    Only a small percentage of private universities have huge endowments and good financial aid. Even those that do have good financial aid can have varying ideas of what you can afford, which may not match what you think you can afford.
  • ChardoChardo Registered User Posts: 3,090 Senior Member
    I think similarly of Georgia Tech.

    It also costs $20k less than MIT for full pay OOS.
  • yikesyikesyikesyikesyikesyikes Forum Champion U. Michigan Posts: 1,818 Forum Champion

    Berkeley and UCLA are hardly football colleges, to be fair.
  • Trixy34Trixy34 Registered User Posts: 539 Member
    edited April 2018
    Without having the financial picture of each and every family, I don't see how you could make such a blanket statement that attending an out of state institution is just a waste of money. I live in PA. Cost of attendance in-state is the same or more than at other OOS universities. I could probable send my kid to a quality SUNY school that would provide a more intimate environment than Penn State for the same price.
    I attended a small LAC. I got a great education, but does it garner me any leverage in the job market here in SE PA where everyone went to Penn State? Nope. Has my private college education given me advantages that perhaps I might not have received if I had gone to a public university? Probably. Are those advantages worth the $70,000 it would cost to send my son there private pay? I would say absolutely not.
  • yikesyikesyikesyikesyikesyikes Forum Champion U. Michigan Posts: 1,818 Forum Champion
    edited April 2018
    I think a more fruitful conversation to have would be the huge financial disparities between the top 100 or so schools and everyone else.

    I spent some time back in the day working for a nonprofit college advisory program and more than half of the kids went to schools outside of the top 100 - it was eye opening to see the discrepancies in the resources they are afforded.
  • CU123CU123 Registered User Posts: 2,829 Senior Member
    edited April 2018
    I do admit some bias as I don’t really think of schools outside of the top 200, and while I went to a large in state public university along with two of my children, my spouse and one other child went to private universities. All were in the top 100. So yes I’ll limit my comments I made to approximately the top 200 colleges, public and private combined. I wouldn’t even bother with “for profits colleges”. So consider any colleges outside of the top 200 to be outside the scope of my comments.
  • Angelababy30Angelababy30 Registered User Posts: 178 Junior Member
    @ucbalumnus that’s exactly what I meant. Going to a school like the Ivies give you so many opportunities that you wouldn’t be able to if you go to a large state school (small school, low faculty ratio, great reputation, great research opportunities/funding per student, and many more), and you can still enjoy all these benefits with great need based financial aids (no loan as in my case) without being buried in debt for a OOS public.
This discussion has been closed.