Here's Megan McArdle, four years ago, responding to assorted answers to "Why Have Public Universities at All?"  "Why, after all, should the state subsidize certain educational institutions if what they are fundamentally trying to do is the same thing that private universities do and in the same way?"  The stiffer challenge, dear reader, remains today what it was four years ago, or for as long as Cold Spring Shops posts have been appearing, is tempering the principle that the state-subsidized universities are in the same business as the privates with the practicality that state-subsidized universities which lift their academic profile are more likely to cater to matriculants from more favored circumstances who will themselves do well in life.

The current tussles between state university administrators and stingy legislators, however, is generally over underachieving graduates and disengaged dropouts, not over course offerings and job placements that put the Ivies to shame.

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