State and Land-Grant Universities: Opportunities and Choices
From the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges
America’s state and land-grant universities offer an environment that can
match the needs and interests of every type of student. As the people’s universities,
these institutions offer access and opportunity to millions of Americans—opening
doors to a better life for many who might otherwise be denied a college education.
Since 1862, the nation’s state and land-grant universities have played a pivotal
role in the development of our democratic society. These institutions are committed
to providing students with challenging opportunities that enrich both their professional
and personal lives and to offering a curriculum that provides both a liberal arts
and a particular education. In short, our public universities are producing the
leaders of tomorrow.
Access and Opportunity for All
- A state and land-grant university exists in every state and territory of the United
States, as well as in the district of Columbia.
- In 1993-94, public universities enrolled one-half of all full-time students and
produced two-thirds of all bachelor’s degrees.
- Approximately one-half of the members of the U.S. Congress in the recent past and
one-half of the chief executive officers of America’s 500 largest corporations
were educated at public universities.
A Diverse Campus Culture
Diversity in every aspect of student life— social, cultural, and academic—is
one of the greatest strengths of public universities. Students at these institutions
- Choose from a broad spectrum of elective courses while focusing on one major discipline.
- Make friends with people from all over the United States and around the world in
a stimulating environment that offers abundant opportunities to explore other cultures
and broaden intellectual horizons.
- Select from a variety of living arrangements—dormitories; off-campus apartments;
group houses; fraternities and sororities; and even such unique situations as “language
houses,” in which everyone speaks a foreign language and lives and learns
in that culture.
- Participate in an array of social activities and situations, including clubs, choruses,
theaters, bands, school newspapers, radio broadcasting, concerts, dances, and both
intercollegiate and intramural sports.
More Value for Money Spent
Low tuition costs are a major benefit of attending a public college or university,
and approximately one-half of the students at public universities receive some financial
aid. A variety of assistance is available, including state and private scholarships,
grants, loans, internships, and work-study programs.
- The average in-state resident undergraduate tuition (including fees) at 4-year colleges
and universities in the fall of 1996 was $2,966 per year.
- The average nonresident undergraduate tuition (including fees) at 4-year colleges
and universities in the fall of 1996 was $8,253—a more economical cost than
that of most private institutions.
Faculty Leaders in Every Field
From Fulbright Scholars and Nobel Prize winners to accomplished artists and renowned
writers, public university faculty are leaders in their disciplines. Full-time faculty
spend the majority of their time teaching or engaged in research and scholarship
activities. Research conducted at state and land-grant universities has touched
the lives of almost every American by improving the environment, creating cleaner
energy resources, reducing cleaner energy resources, reducing pollution, and promoting
better health and human development. Many of these research projects are translated
into the classroom environment, giving undergraduate students opportunities to work
with great scholars.
Public university faculty are highly qualified:
- In 1992, 7 in 10 (71 percent) public university faculty members had attained a doctoral
- Almost three-fifths (58 percent) of the institutions with the largest number of
Fulbright Scholars in 1994-95 were public institutions.
- About one-half of the 60 new members elected to the National Academy of Sciences
in 1996 hailed from public universities.
- In 1992, almost one in four (23 percent) faculty members were women; approximately
one in eight (12 percent) were persons of color.
Public university campuses offer students high-quality resources and facilities
for both learning and socializing. On the typical campus, students have access to
large libraries and many major research centers; computer; modern athletic fields
and gymnasiums; laboratories with cutting-edge equipment; student union buildings
with eateries, meeting rooms, and lounges; and art galleries, theaters, and concert
A Commitment to Building a Better Society
Public universities are committed to working with urban and rural, local and regional,
state and national leaders in every field to help build a better society for America
and the world. This commitment leads public higher education to prepare students
for jobs that fill the needs of society. At state and land-grant universities, students
become familiar with the professional world, gain valuable hands-on experience,
and enhance their knowledge of specific fields through internships and community
For More Information
To learn more about the opportunities offered at state and land-grant institutions.
Visit the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges’
Internet site at www.nasulgc.org.