Letter to the New York Times

March 20, 2007

Letters to the Editor

Re: "Public Universities Chase Excellence, at a Price," Dec. 20

To the Editor:

A major consequence of the skyrocketing enrollment of high-income students at public universities ("Public Universities Chase Excellence, at a Price," Dec. 20) is that private institutions are increasingly the educator of first choice for needy students.

In four of 12 states recently surveyed by the U.S. Department of Education -- Connecticut, Nebraska, Tennessee, and Indiana -- median family income was lower for students attending four-year private colleges and universities than for their peers at four-year flagship public institutions. This is a statistic unimaginable 10 years ago.

Nationwide, according to the Education Department, private colleges enroll virtually the same percentage of students with family incomes below $50,000 as public universities. We also educate higher percentages of minority students, and students with characteristics that put them at greatest risk of not graduating.

Far from being bastions of privilege, private colleges and universities are serving students from all backgrounds and the public good.


David L. Warren
National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities


MORE News from NAICU