US: Public universities seek more autonomy

With states providing a dwindling share of money for higher education, many states and public universities are rethinking their ties, writes Tamar Lewin for The New York Times. Public universities say that with less money from state coffers, they cannot afford the complicated web of state regulations governing areas like procurement and building, and that they need more flexibility to compete with private institutions.

As a result, the fundamental model for supporting higher education is being reconsidered, with many universities winning greater autonomy - sometimes even in setting tuition.

The University of Oregon's president is proposing a new model for state support: he wants the state to issue bonds raising money to build the university's endowment. In Ohio, Governor John Kasich talks of 'charter universities' that would get less state financing, but be exempt from some state mandates, like those covering construction projects. And in Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker proposed to separate the main Madison campus from the rest of the state university system, and make it a public authority.
Full report on The New York Times site