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Public University

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Definition: Examples of public universities include Berkeley, Cal Poly, Kent State, Rutgers and Texas A&M. Also check out the top 10 public universities and 22 more great public universities.

The term "public" indicates that the university's funding comes partly from state taxpayers. This is not true for private universities.

A public university has a few features that distinguish it from private universities:

  • Size - The size of public universities varies widely. The largest universities in the country are all public (for example, UT Austin and OSU).
  • Division I Athletics - The great majority of Division I athletic teams are fielded by public universities.
  • Low Cost - Public universities typically have tuition that is considerably lower than private universities, especially for in-state students.
  • Commuter and Part-time Students - Public universities tend to have more commuter and part-time students than private colleges and universities.
  • The Downside - Read the profiles of universities carefully. In many cases, public universities have lower graduation rates, higher student / faculty ratios and more loan aid (thus, more student debt) than private universities.

Public universities share many features with private universities:

  • Undergraduate and graduate student focus - large public universities have significant masters and doctoral programs.
  • Graduate degrees - at large public universities, advanced degree offerings such as an M.A., M.F.A., M.B.A., J.D., Ph.D., and M.D. are common
  • Broad academic offerings - students can often choose courses in the liberal arts, sciences, engineering, business, health and fine arts.
  • Faculty focus on research - At big-name public universities, professors are often evaluated for their research and publishing first, and teaching second. Teaching may take priority at branch campuses and regional public universities.
Also Known As: public university,state university,state school
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