College Guide


October 19, 2012 11:00 AM When Public Universities Have More “Freedom”

By Daniel Luzer

Deregulation, a strategy often pushed by public universities to allow them to raise more money, and have more control than they enjoy under traditional governance, under which the state is in charge, is supposed to allow universities to raise necessary funds through tuition. Universities argue these are the funds for operation they need to perform effectively in the absence of money from the state, but it turns out it doesn’t really work.

According to a study of deregulation efforts in several states released by Policy Matters Ohio:

Our analysis suggests that deregulation does not increase college completion, make college affordable, or close the higher education gap. In many cases, deregulated states seem to perform worse than the nation on many indicators of accessible and affordable higher education.

Deregulation does, of course, allow state universities to raise money, because they have freedom from financial rules laid down by the state in order to keep tuition low, but it doesn’t appear that freedom to raise funds actually helps the universities do a better job.

Policy Matters Ohio performed this study in order to evaluate the likely outcome of prosed deregulation plans in the state of Ohio. It’s worth looking at worth looking at the study in order to evaluate implemented university deregulation plans in Colorado, Virginia, Illinois, New Jersey, Texas, Kentucky, Maryland, and Minnesota.

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer


  • Snarki, child of Loki on October 19, 2012 7:46 PM:

    State universities provide the "public option" competition with private universities, that keep tuition (somewhat) in check.

    Turn those public universities quasi-private, and tuition will take off to the ionosphere, even more than before.

    Well, until the whole thing comes crashing down to Earth, as enrollment craters.