- An organization representing private liberal arts colleges is touting the results of a report it commissioned which indicates that states can save costs and boost college graduation rates by offering students tuition assistance for private universities as opposed to funding their education in public programs, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.
- The report’s authors claim that money that would be spent expanding the use of already-crowded public colleges could be better spent by helping to pay the tuition expenses for students at private colleges, which are often comparatively underutilized.
- The report’s findings were dismissed by supporters of public universities and colleges, who say the argument is counterintuitive.
The reaction to the report, which was made for the Council of Independent Colleges and conducted by professors from two public universities, illustrates a potential consequence if more states follow New York’s lead in offering tuition assistance to attend public universities. Some private college presidents worry that the announcement could lead to a conflict between public and private universities in the midst of an immediate future where federal and state education funding cuts for public universities are all but assured.
The suggestions made in the report are valuable, but it remains unknown how publicly financing private college tuition would work. In the New York State plan, students must be enrolled in school full-time, averaging about 30 credits per year. Students must keep a grade point average that enables them to graduate, and must also live and work in New York for the amount of years they benefited from tuition assistance. It remains to be seen how these restrictions would be fitted to private college tuition assistance.