US is value for money

September 12, 2003

Alan Ryan's column ( THES, August 1) about costs of higher education in US universities is not inaccurate but it could be misleading.

There seems to be a tendency among British academics when looking at US higher education to consider only elite private universities and a handful of public flagship universities. This is often true among journalists in the US too. It is likely that most children of editorial staff at leading US media attend elite private universities, hence their parents are most concerned about these institutions.

Almost 80 per cent of US higher education students are enrolled in the more than 500 public-degree granting universities or the morethan 1,000 public two-year colleges.

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that the cost of tuition in public four-year institutions averaged $4,081 (£2,567) last year. And while this is more than a few years ago, and while degrees from these institutions may not have the patina of a degree from an elite university, it is possible to get an excellent education for a fraction of what an elite institution charges.

V. Ray Cardozier
Emeritus professor of higher education
University of Texas at Austin

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