Letter: Home truths

December 1, 2000

Closer analysis of the data used by Kate Flynn to claim that public and private universities in the United States are comparable reveals the overwhelming dominance of private universities (Letters, THES, November 24).

The top 19 universities in the US News & World Report rankings are all private. Only California-Berkeley and Virginia among public universities manage to get into the top 20. Just six of the top 30 and nine of the top 40 are public. Even those figures overstate the case. Of those nine, three belong to the University of California - a system that has received an atypical amount of funding from the California state legislature. It is true that a handful of public institutions have achieved prominence in a small number of disciplines. But the figures demonstrate that private universities have accomplished massive superiority in terms of research productivity, student access, alumni support, student:faculty ratios, library and computer resources, graduation rates, and faculty distinction.

This should make UK vice-chancellors pause if they are asked to choose between private and public status. Universities such as Yale, Harvard and MIT have achieved dominance despite being denied the funding that state legislatures have showered on certain public universities.

Simon Baatz
Research fellow National Institutes of Health Maryland, US

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

James Fryer illustration (27 July 2017)

It is not Luddism to be cautious about destroying an academic publishing industry that has served us well, says Marilyn Deegan

Jeffrey Beall, associate professor and librarian at the University of Colorado Denver

Creator of controversial predatory journals blacklist says some peers are failing to warn of dangers of disreputable publishers

Hand squeezing stress ball
Working 55 hours per week, the loss of research periods, slashed pensions, increased bureaucracy, tiny budgets and declining standards have finally forced Michael Edwards out
Kayaker and jet skiiers

Nazima Kadir’s social circle reveals a range of alternative careers for would-be scholars, and often with better rewards than academia

hole in ground

‘Drastic action’ required to fix multibillion-pound shortfall in Universities Superannuation Scheme, expert warns