Departmental Papers (School of Law)

Document Type

Book Chapter

Date of this Version

January 2005


Over the past decade, a number of different industrialized democracies have critically examined the structure and performance of their postsecondary education systems. By and large, the focus of this attention has been on the capacity of the state to support the needs and aspirations of the traditional publicly funded research-intensive university. In the received model, the public research university receives significant levels of funding from the state to support its research and teaching activities, but is subject to some level of state oversight and control so as to render the activities of the institution congruent with the public interest. The level of state intervention in the affairs of the public research university (and its precise form) varies of course from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but typically involves some regulation of programs (priority may be placed on education and research programs that are geared to the local economy), tuition fees (typically set at below market rates), student financial assistance, and admissions (preferential treatment for in-state versus out-of-state or out-of-country students). In contrast, privately funded research universities (to the extent that they are permitted to operate in jurisdictions supporting public university education) are not subject to the same degree of oversight, but also do not receive the same degree of public funding.


Reprinted from Taking Public Universities Seriously, edited by Frank Iacobucci and Carolyn Tuohy (Toronto : University of Toronto Press, 2005).

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Date Posted: 17 July 2008