The question on whether state universities such as San Francisco State University should compete with scientific, technology, engineer and mathematics schools such as Stanford University rings in the minds of many public university leaders.
This is because the circumstances in which the public universities are in are quite discouraging and their comparison with private research universities sometimes seems hopeless. The biggest challenge that state universities face is on finances. The government financial support for state universities has declined and inconsistent. State universities therefore cut down on their budgets when situations demand so.
On the other hand, private research universities are recording large profits from high tuition fees, grants, and endowments from the alumni. I would like to give an opinion supporting that state universities are highly capable of competing with scientific, technology, and engineer and mathematics schools. Their strength in this competition lies in three factors: high research productivity, more educational opportunities, and human capital development.
State universities boast of high volume of enrolment with each student paying less as opposed to private universities with low volume of enrolment and high school fees per student. For example, San Francisco state university enrolled 30,469 students between 2009 and 2010 while Stanford University enrolled 15,300 students.
The state universities provide the state with a very large number of college- educated persons that the country’s industries require. The low cost of tuition fees has given many American children an opportunity to acquire college education. Only seven percent of the American families can afford education in private universities. Stanford University has produced a large number of national leaders as compared to San Francisco State University but this does not mean that state universities do not have their contribution in this field.
The large volumes of student in state universities result into large faculties. This is because, the higher the number of students, the higher the number of professors required. More programs are also offered in public universities as compared to private universities. These large highly trained faculties train many students as compared to small faculties as in private universities. Large faculties have also resulted in large research productivity.
Public universities have a very good reputation. This is due to their large and reliable faculties, large number of students and their ability to adapt to changing environments. These factors place them in a better position to receive more research grants as compared to private universities. The faculty size is also a big contribution towards the large volumes of research done in public universities. The more the number of professors the more the number of publications a university is able to register in a year.
In case of changes or requirement for more researchers, public universities are in a better position to handle such circumstances. The large faculties, large number of both undergraduate and post- graduate students and other members of research staff enable this. This is not the same in private university with their small faculties and fewer students.
In conclusion, public universities might be having a big share of challenges as compared to private universities but this does not mean that they are not in a better position to compete. Public universities should seize the competitive advantage by offering more education opportunities, utilizing research production capacity and exhausting human capital development.
They might not be making large profits or their students occupying superior posts in the government and companies; nevertheless, their contribution to the country’s economy beats that of private universities by a great margin.