Many state universities are municipalities. Many have populations larger than any municipality in Essex or Clinton County: 20,000 or more students. Because they were established by state legislatures in rural areas, many provide water, sewer, fire, police, EMT, garbage removal, road repair, building and grounds maintenance, adjudication and other services one might find in a municipality. Those costs increase as state support decreases. As the university “owns” the land, property tax revenue is not possible. Universities have to meet state and federal codes, mandates and so on, many of which do not apply to private colleges.
Dalton applauds the proposed federal college rating system. But, one need not wait for the government to rank colleges. The U.S. News and World Report and SmartMoney periodicals are doing this. Also, there are ratings out for the best programs in many fields, compiled by the respective professional organizations, for example: engineering, architecture, etc.