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The public university crisis

CU123CU123 Registered User Posts: 2,831 Senior Member
edited April 2018 in College Confidential Cafe
As states further reduce funding for public universities there is a crisis building. For those who have a choice, you might want to consider attending a solid private institution.

The issues:

1. Private institutions endowments dwarf public universities by billions of dollars.
2. State budgets are constantly under pressure to reduce funding on higher education.
3. There are no public universities in the top 20 (there used to be several), in 20 years there might be none in the top 50. (Even if you don't like rankings the trend is what is concerning)
4. State legislatures have some control over public universities limiting there ability to raise in state tuition to cover costs. (Very popular for getting reelected, but giving away free money then not reimbursing the university is a recipe for disaster)
5. Some state legislatures also limit the number of OOS/International full pay students further limiting revenues. (Another popular item for voters, but again no reimbursement to the university)
6. High population states are artificially keeping there applicants numbers up as there are simply more in state applicants who really can't afford to go anywhere else than available slots. This causes an artificial rise in an universities prestige (they can turn away more applicants and be seen as selective) without the corresponding rise in the ability of the university to retain top quality faculty due to lack of funding. UIUC is an excellent example as they are losing top faculty to private institutions.
7. While you can succeed and do very well at a large public university, you are essentially "on your own" to do so. There are simply too many students at large public research universities to have any personalized attention. This is especially true when you compare them to top LAC's.
8. These are only a few of the reasons that public universities are facing a financial crisis.

The choices:

1. I know not everyone has that choice to attend a private university but if you don't, an in state public is still a reasonable deal especially in STEM.
2. OOS full pay students are just wasting their money, however I recognize that it is theirs to waste, and if your wealthy enough is just doesn't matter.
3. Still in 20 years from now your public university alma mater may not look like a very good school at all unless things change drastically, which is highly doubtful.


Replies to: The public university crisis

  • CU123CU123 Registered User Posts: 2,831 Senior Member
    edited April 2018
    @ucbalumnus I figured you would be one of the first to comment...... =D> but I disagree in that there are only a few privates that are struggling and they are mostly LAC's, still point taken, top privates are not having any issues at all. Most privates just have a better ability to adapt (less oversight) in a changing financial landscape then public unis.
  • labegglabegg Registered User Posts: 2,554 Senior Member
    Well then...okey dokey.
  • NPKR01NPKR01 Registered User Posts: 49 Junior Member
    I think there is some truth to what OP is saying but there are many exceptions. Public chools with strong athletic programs, particularly football and basketball, will always have plenty of money. These schools help fund tuition and keep rates down with this revenue and offer good merit and FA. U of Alabama, VTech, etc.

    You say OOS public schools are a waste of money. But the difference in price between OOS public schools and privates is between $20k to 30k per year. No small difference and not a waste of money but a BIG savings of money. Unless, of course, you think that you can't get a good education from a public U.

    While I acknowledge that some public U's may be running into some financial difficulty in the coming years, I believe the cost of private schools is so out of control, rising every year at rates far in excess of inflation, that for many people it is difficult to justify. Many students and families will need to take on crushing debt that they will have to pay off for decades. THAT sounds like a waste of money to me.
  • Angelababy30Angelababy30 Registered User Posts: 178 Junior Member
    @NPKR01 Yes, the cost of attending a top tier university is getting out of control in recent years. But, don’t forget that many of them offer need-based grants to students with financial issues. 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, which is almost never possible nor will be possible to the state schools, even if you are talking about top state schools like UCLA or UCB.
  • BooBooBearBooBooBear Registered User Posts: 388 Member
    The OOS public school debate matters very much based on where you live. Someone in Virginia debating whether Michigan OOS is worth it is in a FAR different boat than someone in many other states debating about attending UVA or Michigan OOS versus their own state school.
  • coolguy40coolguy40 Registered User Posts: 1,856 Senior Member
    It really depends on the private university. For a school like Harvard and MIT, there are good endowments that can be used as need based aid. Unfortunately, this seems to be the exception to the rule. For most, if not all private schools I've done a net-price calculator on, the EFC, student loans, and work/study ends up costing the same as an out of state public school. It's the same story with Georgetown, Duke, SMU, TCU, Baylor and Villanova. That's with a combined salary of 80k.

    In fact, economically, that's a strong indication that their tuition is far too high. It's an outdated model. If they lowered their tuition and expanded their capacity, they could charge tuition rates competitive to a public university without having to rely on funding.
  • DCNatFanDCNatFan Registered User Posts: 570 Member
    It would be nice if there was a similar Forbes financial grade for the public institutions.
This discussion has been closed.