A public university or public college is a university or college that is in state ownership or receives significant public funds through a national or subnational government, as opposed to a private university. Whether a national university is considered public varies from one country (or region) to another, largely depending on the specific education landscape.
In Egypt, Al-Azhar University was founded in 970 AD as a madrassa, making it one of the oldest institutions of higher education in the world, formally becoming a university in 1961. It was followed by a lot of universities opened as public universities in the 20th century such as Cairo University (1908), Alexandria University (1912), Assiut University (1928), Ain Shams University (1957), Helwan University (1959), Beni-Suef University (1963), Benha University (1965), Zagazig University (1978), Suez Canal University (1989), where tuition fees are totally subsidized by the government.
In Kenya, the Ministry of Education controls all of the public universities. Students are enrolled after completing the 8-4-4 system of education and attaining a mark of C+ or above. Students who meet the criteria determined annually by the Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service (KUCCPS) receive government sponsorship, as part of their university or college fee is catered for by the government. They are also eligible for a low interest loan from the Higher Education Loan Board. They are expected to pay back the loan after completing higher education.
In Nigeria public universities can be established by both the federal government and by state governments.
South Africa has 26 public tertiary educational institutions, either categorised as a traditional university or a comprehensive university (providing theoretical and vocational training).
In Tunisia, the controls all of the public universities. For some universities, the ministry of higher education coordinates with other ministries like: the Ministry of Public health or the . Admission in a public university in Tunisia is assured after successfully succeeding in the Tunisian Baccalaureate: Students are classified according to a Formula score based on their results in the Baccalaureate. Then, the students make a wishlist with the universities they want to attend on a state website dedicated for orientation. Thus, the high-ranking-students get priority to choose.
Recently many private universities are established under the Private Universities Act of 2010 which governs the procedure of the operation and academic matters of the private universities of Bangladesh.
In mainland China, nearly all universities and research institutions are public and currently, all important and significant centers for higher education in the country are publicly administered.
The public universities are usually run by the provincial governments; there are also circumstances where the municipal governments administer the universities. Some public universities are national, which are directly administered by the central government.
Private undergraduate colleges do exist, which are mostly vocational colleges sponsored by private enterprises. The majority of such universities are not entitled to award bachelor's degrees. Public universities usually enjoy higher reputation domestically.
Eight institutions are funded by the University Grants Committee. The Academy for Performing Arts also receives funding from the government. The Open University of Hong Kong is also a public university, but it is largely self-financed. The Shue Yan University is the only private institution with the status of a university, but it also receives some financial support from the government since it was granted university status.
In India, most universities and nearly all research institutions are public. There are some private undergraduate colleges, mostly engineering schools, but a majority of these are affiliated to public universities. Some of these private schools are also partially aided by the national or state governments. India also has an "open" public university, the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), which mostly offers distance education, and in terms of the number of enrolled students is now the largest university in the world with over 4 million students.
There are public and private educational institutes in Indonesia. The Government via the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology, altogether with the Provincial and Municipal Governments provide public universities, institutes, high schools and academies in each province. The private educational institution usually provided by religious organizations, public organizations, and some big companies.
Some of Iran's prestigious universities are public and offer both tuition-free programs and tuition based programs. State-run universities are highly selective and competitive.
There are nine official universities in Israel. In addition, there are a few dozen colleges and other institutes of higher learning, as well as about a dozen foreign university extensions. All are academically supervised by the Council for Higher Education in Israel (CHEI). The main difference between a university and a college in Israel is that only a university can issue doctorate degrees. Theoretically, a college can apply to the CHEI to upgrade its status to university.
In Japan, public universities are universities that are not national universities but are run by local governments, either prefectural or municipal. According to the Ministry of Education, public universities have "provided an opportunity for higher education in a region and served the central role of intellectual and cultural base for the local community in the region", and are "expected to contribute to social, economical and cultural development in the region"; this contrasts to research-oriented aspects of national universities.
As of 2010, there were 95 public universities, compared to 86 national universities and 597 private universities, and 127,872 students attended the schools. The number of the public universities has significantly increased in recent years; in 1980 there were only 34 public universities and in 1993 there were 46. Since July 2003 when the Local Independent Administrative Institutions Law was put into effect, public universities have been allowed to be incorporated. The average tuition in public universities for 2007 fiscal year was 536,238 yen, the average entrance fee 399,351 yen and the average application fee 17,095 yen.
University of Macau is the only public university in Macau. Also, the Macau Polytechnic Institute and Institute for Tourism Studies are the public educational institute which can offer undergraduate education.
There are 20 public universities in Malaysia, which are funded by the government but governed as self-managed institutions.
Tribhuvan University is the first public university of Nepal. The university runs various programs in a wide number of academic disciplines. It operates through six different schools, and also provides affiliation to various colleges across the country. Kathmandu University is also a public university founded by a government act in 1991. Due to high fee and single person's administration, many people[who?] think that this university is a private university, but it is not. The university offers new and demanding subjects especially in the field of science and technology through different schools. Another government-funded school is Pokhara University. It was established in 1997 under the Pokhara University Act. Pokhara University, a non-profit autonomous institution, is financed by the government of Nepal. Pokhara University is affiliated with around 58 colleges for bachelor's, master's and M.Phil. degree programs. Pokhara University has gained popularity in recent years. It has relations already established with 42 national and international universities.
In Pakistan, universities receive guidance and recognition by the Higher Education Commission (Pakistan) (HEC) (formerly the University Grants Commission (Pakistan)). There are around 107 public and 76 private universities in Pakistan. University of the Punjab is the biggest public university followed by University of Karachi.
Universities and colleges in the Philippines are controlled and managed by the Commission on Higher Education, especially the University of the Philippines. There are more than 500 government-run higher education institutions, of which 436 are state colleges and universities, including satellite campuses, 31 local colleges and universities, and a handful of community colleges. In 2008, through Republic Act 9500, the University of the Philippines was bestowed as the National University to distinguish it from all other state universities and colleges.
Aside from the University of the Philippines, there are other notable state colleges and universities within the archipelago. These include the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Technological University of the Philippines, Philippine Normal University, and Mindanao State University.
Taiwan has more than 150 universities (two-thirds were established after the 1980s), while only a third of them are public universities. Tuition fees at public universities are less than half those of private universities because the Taiwan government puts more funding to the public universities. Additionally, there are ten public universities (established before the 1980s) which are more accredited and more prestigious in Taiwan and the majority of top-ranking schools are public. Therefore, most students choose public universities for their tertiary education.
In the late 19th century, there was a high demand for professional talents in the central government of Thailand. Siam was an aftermath of King Rama V's bureaucratic reforms, which aimed to transform the feudal Thai society into a modernized state. In 1899, the King founded the School for Training of Civil Officials (Thai: โรงเรียนสำหรับฝึกหัดวิชาข้าราชการฝ่ายพลเรือน) near the northern gate of the Royal Palace. Those who graduated from the School would become royal pages. Being royal pages, he must learn how to administrate organization by working closely with the King, which is a traditional way of entrance to the Siamese bureaucracy. After being royal pages, he would then serve in the Mahattai Ministry or other government ministries.
Most of the universities are public. The tuition fees are also regulated by the state and are the same for all public universities. Except for some studies, notably medicine, everybody who passes the "Matura" exam to attend university has the right to attend any public university. Overrun subjects will introduce entrance exams that students have to pass in the first year or prior to starting the degree. Especially scientific subjects such as biology, chemistry and physics will have difficult exams in the first year of studies which introduce a certain barrier. Students have to create their own timetables following the curriculum they choose. The universities provide options to combine studies and follow individually adjusted curricula, but the organisation is obliged to the student and administration involved is high. Private universities have existed since 1999 but are considered easier than public universities and thus hold less esteem.
Universities in Belgium are run by the Communities. The Dutch-speaking Flemish Community, the French Community and the German Community thus determine which institutes of higher education they organise or recognise, and which diplomas may be legally issued by these institutes.
Until the 1970s, Belgium had two state universities : the State University of Liège (ULg) and the State University of Ghent (RUG), both founded in 1817 together with the State University of Louvain which closed down in 1835. Still today, these are often referred too as the two historic "state universities". In 1965, small specialised single-faculty institutions were recognised as universities : the Faculty of Veterinary Medecine (part of ULiège since 1969) and the Gembloux Agricultural University (part of ULiège since 2009). The Belgian state then founded smaller universities in Mons in 1965 (part of UMons since 2009) and in 1971 in Antwerp (part of University of Antwerp since 2003), Hasselt (managed by the Province of Limburg, today Hasselt University), Arlon (managed by the Province of Luxembourg, part of ULiège since 2004). All these institutions were public universities managed by the national government until higher education was brought under the control of the Communities in 1990. From 1891 onwards, private universities progressively started to become recognised by the State and get funding, while remaining private, mostly Catholic, organisations (called free institutions, as free from the state but state funded). Today, all recognised universities are funded the Communities and follow the same rules and laws.
Most universities are public and run by the state. Academically well-performing students pay only administrative fees (less than €100 per year). Only those who fail multiple classes in a year, and have to retake them, pay a partial or full tuition fee.
Almost all universities are public and are held in higher esteem than their private counterparts. Attending university is free in Denmark.
Most higher education organizations (universities and grandes écoles) are public and charge very low tuition fees (less than €1000 per year). Major exceptions are business schools such as HEC School of Management. Article L731-14 of the "Code de l'éducation" states that "Private higher education establishments can in no case take the title of "university"". But many private institutions such as the Catholic University of Lyon, use "university" as their marketing name.
Most higher education institutions are public and operated by the states and all professors are public servants. In general, public universities are held in higher esteem than their private counterparts. From 1972 through 1998, public universities were free of tuition fees; since then, however, some states have adopted low tuition fees.
In Greece according to its Constitution all Higher Education Institutions HEIs are universities which comprise universities, technical universities (polytechnic universities), formerly technological educational institutes (TEIs) (1982–2019) or institute of technology, and specialist HEIs. Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) undergraduate programmes are government funding have free education which can be attended free, without any payment of tuition fee. Especially, about 1 out of the 4 (one-fourth of) HEIs postgraduate programmes offered free without tuition fee, and also a 30% percentage of students can be entitled without tuition fee (non fee-paying students) to attend all the statutory tuition fee postgraduate programmes after they be assessed on an individual basis of criteria. The private HEIs (universities, colleges and other type HEIs) cannot be operated in Greece nor considered Greece universities nor recognised as Greece degree-awarding bodies by the Greek government.
In Ireland, nearly all universities, institutes of technology, colleges of education and some other third-level institutions are public, and the state pays the cost of educating its undergraduates. Students must pay a contribution fee of approximately €3,000 however. There are a few private institutions of higher learning, for example the National College of Ireland but none of them have university status and they are highly specialised.
Almost all the universities are public, but they enjoy de jure institutional autonomy (limited by the state in practice, like in Greece). The majority of the funds came from the state and, therefore, students pay quite low tuition fees, decided by each university and related mainly to the student's family wealth, to the course and to the student's performances in the exams. A few scholarships, both at undergraduate and postgraduate level, are also available for the best low-income students. Private funding, even for research, ranges from low to non-existent, compared to most other European countries.
Almost all universities are public and are largely funded by the Ministry of Education. Dutch citizens and citizens of other European Union countries who are enrolling for their first Bachelor and/or first Master level degree are subject to an annually adjusted, yearly tuition fee regardless of University or program. The fee was set at 1,951 euros in 2015. Non-European Union students, and students who want to complete a second Bachelor or master's degree pay the 'legal school fee' which should cover the additional costs of the student, which is no longer funded by the government. These fees range between approximately 7,000 (for relatively cheap bachelor programs) and 30,000 euros (for master programs in medicine) a year. All universities are supervised by the Ministry of Education, even the private ones.
Universities are divided into a few categories; private universities which are operated by private citizens, societies or companies, and public universities created by Acts of Parliament. The Government pays all tuition fees, and other costs of students. Most private universities charge tuition fees directly to students, and these institutions are generally held in lower regard than public universities. A small number of private universities do not charge fees, such as John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, founded in 1918 and property of the Roman Catholic Episcopacy of Poland; the Polish Government pays all costs.
There are 13 public universities, a university institute and a distance university. Higher education in Portugal provided by state-run institutions is not free, as a tuition fee must be paid, although being much lower than the tuition fees of the private ones. The highest tuition fee allowed by law in public universities is €871.52 per year, as of 2019. The public universities include some of the most selective and demanding higher learning institutions in the country, noted for high competitiveness and nationwide reputation.
In Russia, about 7.5 million students study in thousands of universities.
A vast majority of students (over 85%) study at public universities that are run by the state. Academically well-performing students pay only administrative fees (less than €100 per year), while those who fail multiple classes in a year, and have to retake them, pay a partial or full tuition fee (ranging from €500 to €2000 per year for full tuition fee, depending on which faculty). Private universities have existed since 1989 but are considered easier than public universities and thus hold less esteem.
There are a total of 74 universities. Most of them (52), including the most prestigious ones, are public, and are funded by the autonomous community in which they are based. As such, university funding may differ (though not significantly) depending on which Spanish region the university is based on. However, the central government establishes by law homogeneous tuition fees for all public universities, and as such university fees are much lower than those of their private counterparts. The highest tuition fee allowed by law was, as of 2010, of 14.97 euros per academic credit, amounting to roughly 840 euros/year for an average 60 credit full-time course; tuition fees in private universities might reach 18,000 euros/year in comparison. Public universities are state-owned but granted a considerable degree of independence when it comes to self-government; they cannot, however, make free use of their assets (i.e., buy and sell assets as a private company would), and are subject to Spanish administrative law as any other public body of the state. In turn, public university administrators, lecturers and professors are granted civil servant status, which serves as a tenure because only under exceptional and very well justified circumstances can a civil servant lose his job under Spanish law. Research funding can be allocated either by the autonomous community or by the central government; in the former case, funding amount and conditions vary greatly from one autonomous community to another.
Most universities are public. Education in Sweden is normally free, so there are no tuition fees at any university in Sweden.
For academic year 2016, there are 183 universities and academies total in Turkey: 118 of them are state universities (five of which are technical universities, two of which are institutes of technology, and one of which is fine arts university). Turkey's higher learning institutions, governed by Ministry of Higher Education or YÖK Ministry, are accepting more and more international students. Of the current 65 private foundation universities (seven of which are two-year granting institutions). In addition, there is a category called "special" including four military academies and one police academy.
In the UK, all universities are autonomous bodies, legally independent of the state. However, universities and other higher education providers are regulated and universities may be considered public bodies for some purposes. The degree of regulation varies between the countries of the United Kingdom and varies depending on the constitutional form of the university and whether it receives public funding.
Historically, the University of London was a true public university from its establishment as an examining board in 1836 to its reconstitution as a more traditional teaching university in 1900. It has been described as "what today would be called a quango", operating out of government premises, staffed by civil servants, and directly accountable to the Treasury for its expenditure.
The right to award UK degrees and the right to use the title "university" or "university college" is controlled for all higher education providers. These rights are granted by the Privy Council for institutions in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and by the Office for Students for institutions in England. The Office for Students can also, with the agreement of parliament, revoke degree-awarding powers for institutions in England.
Almost all British universities, including all universities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, receive public funding for teaching via block grants from the Office for Students (England), the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, the Department for the Economy (Northern Ireland) or the Scottish Funding Council. Universities (and other higher education providers) receiving public funding in this manner are treated as public authorities for various purposes, including the public sector equality duty of the Equality Act 2010 and the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 for Scottish institutions), and are "likely to be public bodies for the purpose of the Human Rights Act 1998". Additionally, universities that are incorporated as higher education corporations are regarded as public authorities for some purposes regardless of whether they receive public funding.
Acceptance of public funding also brings government regulation of the level of tuition fees charged for courses. In principle, any university can choose to leave the regulated fees system at any time by not accepting public funding; for most universities (those not incorporated as higher education corporations) this would also remove their status as public authorities. In England, the only jurisdiction in the UK to have non-publicly funded universities, registration as a higher education provider (which is obligatory for universities, whether or not they are publicly funded) requires adherence to public interest governance principles. Additional public interest governance principles apply to providers with degree awarding powers (which includes all universities) and to publicly funded providers. All registered providers in England must also be members of the Office of the Independent Adjudicator.
Universities that are constituted as civil corporations (Oxford and Cambridge), statutory corporations (Durham, London, Newcastle, Royal Holloway and the ancient universities of Scotland, some of which also have royal charters) or chartered corporations (all other institutions in the university sector before 1992, except the LSE) must, due to their constitutional form, obtain permission from the Privy Council to modify their statutes. This is unrelated to whether or not they receive public funding.
Direct government funding for teaching and research has been substantially reduced since 2012, with a study in 2012 indicating that annual government funding for teaching and research would make up just 15 percent of English universities' income by 2015. As of 2014, funding council grants made up 15 to 20 percent of the income of universities as disparate as UCL (18 percent; large research university, 2014 income £1 billion), Durham (17 percent; small research university, 2014 income £300 million) and Hertfordshire (15 percent; teaching focused university, 2014 income £240 million). By 2018, this had fallen to 15 percent at UCL, 11 percent at Durham and 8 percent at Hertfordshire. However currently there are only five fully fledged private universities in the United Kingdom.
Each of the four nations within the UK has responsibility for its own system of funding resident students. Scotland offers free tuition for residents for their first undergraduate degree studied in Scotland (meaning a Scottish student who chooses to study in England receives nothing)  with the potential to fund five out of four years (known as "false-start" funding) should a student be required to repeat a year or decide to change course. The Welsh Assembly chose to go the other way and has funding follow the Welsh student, even if they choose to study outside of Wales, however they only cover around two-thirds of tuition costs. England and Northern Ireland both expect students to take out student loans to cover the cost of tuition.
In Australia, there are 37 public universities and 5 private universities. The private universities are Bond University, the University of Notre Dame Australia, University of Divinity, and Torrens University Australia, with one international private university with a campus in Adelaide: Carnegie Mellon University, Australia (USA). Adelaide formerly had campuses of Cranfield University (UK) (2007-2010), and University College London (UK) (2010-2017).
Some of Australia's public universities are variously grouped as below:
In New Zealand, all eight universities are public. Public funding is supported by research grants. The oldest (University of Otago) was established in 1869 by Provincial Ordinance. From 1870 to 1961, there was effectively a single university structure - the University of New Zealand - with constituent colleges located in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. In 1961, the constituent colleges were dissolved into four independent universities by the New Zealand Parliament to become the University of Auckland, Victoria University of Wellington, University of Canterbury and University of Otago. This change also established a new university in Hamilton, the University of Waikato. Two associated agricultural colleges - Massey and Lincoln - subsequently become universities in 1963 and 1990 respectively. An eighth university (Auckland University of Technology) was formed in 2000 by an Order in Council under the Education Act 1989.
In Argentina the national universities, also called "public or state-run universities", is the name used to refer to all those institutions whose creation arose from the enactment of a National Congress Act, except for those whose creation preceded that of the state itself (as is the case of the National University of Córdoba and the University of Buenos Aires). They lie as Public Law legal entities and their regular operation funding comes from the national state, pursuant to what is set out on the annual national budget act.
National universities hold the largest share of the entire Argentine university system: counting over 80% of the undergraduate population and with campuses stretched throughout to all provinces comprising the national territory, they account for over 50% of the country's scientific research while additionally providing technical assistance to both the public and private sectors.
Public universities are absolutely free (no fee is paid during the studies), as is the access to books in the universities' libraries. Buying in bookstores and studying material (such as photocopies of books which are very common) is, however, usually paid for by each student. For low-income students there is a great variety of scholarships.
In Brazil, there are a few hundred public universities funded by the Federal or State governments, and they include the most renowned universities in the country, such as the University of São Paulo, University of Campinas, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Federal University of Bahia, and the Federal Institutes. Professors are public servants, most of them tenured and selected by public contests, where international research publications is a major criterion for hiring. Teaching load is usually modest and leaves time for research. In contrast, most private institutions are for-profit enterprises which hire teachers on a per-hour basis and have little research when compared with the public ones, notable exceptions are certain private but non-profit universities, mostly affiliated with religious organizations, such as the Mackenzie Presbyterian University of São Paulo and the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro.
Public universities are responsible for granting nearly all the graduate degrees in Brazil, such as doctoral and masters (called in Portuguese, respectively, "doutorado" and "mestrado"). These graduate programs in public universities are also the main source of Brazilian academic research. There are no tuition or entrance fees in public universities (a right established in the Brazilian Federal Constitution), but since they have thousands of applicants every year, only the best students can pass the entrance examinations, being either the vestibular (a specific test for each university) or the country-wide ENEM. In many universities, there are quotas for students whose secondary (high school) education was made entirely in a public funded school (generally, the quota is 50%), and there are also racial quotas, but usually restricted to students from public high school too.
Some universities, like UFMG, the largest federal university in Brazil, give extra points in their admission tests instead of quotas. In UFMG a public high school student is granted a 10% bonus over his test grade, if he previously agrees to receive this advantage. Public school students that declare themselves as blacks or "pardos" (mixed race) have a 15% bonus, also if they previously agree to receive race based benefits. In recent years public funded higher education has grown a lot. Since 2005 the Brazilian Government has been offering a limited number of tuition grants to enable poor students to attend private universities.
In Canada, education is a constitutional responsibility of the individual provinces. Many early universities were privately endowed (e.g. McGill) or founded by church denominations (e.g. Laval, Saint Mary's, Queen's, Dalhousie, Mount Allison, McMaster, Ottawa) but in the 20th century became publicly funded and secular. Provincial governments established the University of Toronto on the Oxbridge model and elsewhere (Alberta, Manitoba etc.) in the pattern of American state universities. All major Canadian universities are now publicly funded but maintain institutional autonomy, with the ability to decide on admission, tuition and governance.
The U15 is an organization of the country's fifteen leading research-intensive universities. Additionally, McGill University and the University of Toronto are members of the Association of American Universities, along with sixty public and private institutions in the United States. Private universities in Canada are relatively new and mostly exist at the undergraduate level.
In Chile, older, so called "traditional" universities are more prestigious than the ones created after 1980. Even though some of those "traditional" universities are non-profit private entities, they belong to same superior university council called Consejo de Rectores (Council of Chancellors); the Consejo de Rectores runs its own admission system called Prueba de Selección Universitaria or PSU, which is roughly similar to SAT. Even though state run universities are much cheaper than the private ones, they are not tuition free for the students. It is remarkable that Chile spends only 4% in education, compared to the 7% of GDP recommended by the UN for developed nations. And in Chile the financing of higher education, private and public, is contributed by 75% by self-effort of families. The most prestigious universities in Chile are the state run Universidad de Chile, the private with State contributions Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, the private with State contributions Universidad de Concepción and the private with state contributions Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María, these four universities admit the largest numbers of high scoring students in the PSU admission test and are responsible for the largest portion of research (with the Universidad de Chile at the top). The non-traditional universities are, the most part, for-profit universities, and, with a few exceptions, don't have the same prestige as the above "traditional" ones.
In Costa Rica the University of Costa Rica, the National University, the Distance State University, National Technical University and the Costa Rica Institute of Technology, are all public universities.
In Mexico, the UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México), sometimes simply known as the "National University of Mexico", was founded in 1910. It is the largest university in the country and one of the largest in the world with over 250,000 students including its system of high schools. By percentage, it contributes the most to the country's academic research and cultural development although there are other significant public institutions such as the Instituto Politécnico Nacional, and the federal state-run universities.
In Panama, there are five public universities; but the most prominent are the University of Panama and the Technological University of Panama. Public universities are state-funded with minimal (~US$1500 over 4 years) or no funds from students. Public universities are run fully autonomously, without intervention from the state. They are also considered to be prestigious due to their free or low-cost nature which allegedly removes financial incentives to pass students.
In Peru, the admission test required to enter national (public) universities requires higher scores. Historically, many of the prestigious universities in Peru have been public. The public opinion sees this from the four century old National University of San Marcos (the oldest university of the Americas, founded in May 1551), that it has seen as the most respected public education institution in the country. Also many other public universities follow the same rigorous pattern used at San Marcos university, like National Agrarian University, the National University of Engineering, Federico Villarreal University and National University of Education.
In 2002, the most prestigious public universities in Peru (National University of San Marcos, La Molina - National Agrarian University, the National University of Engineering, Federico Villarreal University and the National University of Callao), joined and created the Strategic Alliance of Peruvian Universities (es: Alianza Estrátegica), which over the years other public and private universities joined as associate and advisory members.
States generally charge higher tuition to out-of-state students. The higher fees are based on the theory that students from the state, or much more often their parents, have contributed to subsidizing the university by paying state taxes, while out-of-state students and their parents have not.
Every U.S. state has at least one public university to its name, and the largest states have more than thirty. This is partly as a result of the 1862 Morrill Land-Grant Acts, which gave each eligible state 30,000 acres (12,141 ha) of federal land to sell to finance public institutions offering courses of study in practical fields in addition to the liberal arts. With the help of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Higher Education Act of 1965 and the Education Amendments of 1972, public universities became even more accessible for women, minorities and lower income applicants.
Public universities generally rely on subsidies from their respective state governments. "The historical data for private and public institutions reveal that public institutions have always been more dependent on external support than have private institutions." Recently, state support of public universities has been declining, forcing many public universities to seek private support. The real level of state funding for public higher education has doubled from $30 billion in 1974 to nearly $60 billion in 2000. Meanwhile, the percent of state appropriations for the cost of schooling per student at public university has fallen from 78% in 1974 to 43% in 2000. The increasing use of teaching assistants in public universities is a testament to waning state support. To compensate, some professional graduate programs in law, business, and medicine rely almost solely on private funding.
According to a 2020 study of the state university system in the U.S. state of Georgia, access to public universities had massively positive economic impacts on students, as well as led to net fiscal benefits for the state of Georgia.
The oldest public universities in the United States are the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, The College of William & Mary, and The University of Georgia. The College of William & Mary, founded in 1693, and Rutgers University, founded in 1766, were two of the nine colonial colleges. Both were private universities until the 20th century, with William & Mary becoming public in 1908 and Rutgers becoming public in 1945. Various other universities also claim to be among the oldest in the United States.[n 1]
Many U.S. public universities began as teacher training institutions and eventually were expanded into comprehensive universities. Examples include UCLA, formerly the southern branch of California State Normal School; Arizona State University, originally the Tempe Normal School; the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, formerly Milwaukee Normal School; and Missouri State University, formerly Southwest Missouri State Teachers College.
It has never been determined whether the U.S. Constitution would allow the federal government to establish a federal university system; the only federally chartered public universities that currently exist are the United States Service academies, military-associated educational institutions administered by the United States Department of Defense, and Haskell Indian Nations University, which is governed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. In addition, Georgetown University was the first federally chartered private university in Washington, D.C. (1815), and was later followed by four other colleges and universities in the District of Columbia, which are Columbian College (1821), Gallaudet University (1864), Howard University (1867), and American University (1893).
Historically, many of the prestigious universities in the United States have been private, most notably the Ivy League. However, some public universities are also highly prestigious and increasingly selective: Richard Moll designated such prestigious public universities Public Ivies. UC Berkeley, for instance, is often ranked as a top-ten university in the world and the top public university in the United States.[excessive citations] There are a number of public liberal arts colleges, including the members of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges.