What is the difference between "University of ____" and _______ State University?

Most U.S. states have two major public university systems. For instance there is the University of California system and the Calfornia State system. What is the difference, if any?

It’s a multi-tiered educational system. Generally speaking, the “University of XXX at wherever” would be in the top tier, with somewhat higher admissions standards, while “State” is the second tier. Of course, all of the academics will want to be employed in the top tier, so one might postulate that the research and instruction might be of a slightly better qualiity in the top tier.

In reality, I think the net difference has little effect on most peoples’ lives.

There’s no consistency in the use of these names. In Ohio, it’s the opposite of the way that Ringo suggests. Ohio State is larger and has more graduate and professional programs than Ohio University.

I had always been told that “State” was the ag. school and “University of …” was the “regular” school.

Yeah, I actually thought of Ohio State when I wrote that; hence “generally speaking.” Nevertheless, the multi-tier system is supposed to have a top tier that is more academically rigorous and diverse, while the second tier exists to ensure a steady supply of trained worker bees.

There’s no single distinction. For example, the University of Pennsylvania is a private institution, whereas the Pennsylvania State University is a public one.

Quite simply, what they decided to name them. There is absolutely no consistency, no standard rule.

That said, there is one guideline that seems to be true in several cases: The “University of Franklin” is the growth of an early state liberal arts school, while “Franklin State University” derives from a land-grant college based on the Morrill Act. U. of Michigan and MSU, and UNC and NCSU follow this format, and I believe it’s the case in several other states.

In some cases, the “State” school used to be called “Agricultural and Mechanical School” (Oklahoma State U. and New Mexico State U., for instance). That suggests they were founded under the Morrill Act, which provided federal funding for each state to establish a college for practical arts. States that already had a “University of” usually started a separate campus.

It may be that, for the former A&M schools, they had eventually expanded their curricula to the extent that the old names no longer fit well, and they got tired of being the butt of Aggie jokes too. If the “U. of” name was already taken, that left “State U.” as the best alternative.

The University of California system has fewer campuses, higher admission standards and a greater emphasis on research and postgraduate education than the California State University system.

Nevertheless, CSU does more than train worker bees. Some students feel they can get a better education there as professors are more likely to be involved in actual instruction of students. I’ve taken UC courses where we hardly ever saw the big-name professor and a student ran the class. In my CSU experience, the person whose name was in the catalogue taught the class.

So where does “The University of the State of New York” fit in?

Others will correct me if I’m wrong, but my understanding is that New York’s public university system was created rather late. Until then they relied on private universities. One consequence is that the state provides more direct aid to private universities than is usual. The state system is usually referred to as SUNY, the State University of New York, and doesn’t really have a second tier. I guess they figured they could load up on all the names. The name also helps to distinguish it from CUNY, the City University of New York.

The “University of the State of New York” is the body consisting of the Regents who head the state’s Department of Education and who make the requirements for high school diplomas, certificates for teaching in the public school system, etc., along with the staff that supports their work. It’s not a degree-granting, course-giving institution in the sense that, say, the University of Michigan or Ohio State University is, or even a confederation of schools under a single aegis like the University of North Carolina System and the University of California System are.

Added: Distinguish the above from the “State University of New York” which is a confederation like the two examples I gave, including campuses at Stony Brook, Buffalo, Albany, and Binghamton (and somewhere else I cannot remember), and colleges of varying descriptions at Oswego, Potsdam, Plattsburgh, Geneseo, etc., as well as the A&T schools at Canton, Morrisville, etc., and, indirectly, the community colleges of the counties of the state.

Thanks for the information but they do grant degrees.

And don’t forget, the land-grant institution of New York State is actually Cornell Univeristy. Colleges here are distinguished by either being “endowed” (private) or “statutory” (state-funded).

There’s a SUNY Cobleskill, but I don’t know if it’s a college or an actual campus like as to the one in Albany.

In the case of Mississippi, University Of (Ole Miss) is the one everybody knows and is more prestigious, and State U (Miss State, where I attended one and one-half semesters before getting sick of being The Yankee) is the ag. college. And used to be a military school.

I’ve never heard of the University of the State of New York. Which is strange since, given my location, I should have heard about them. A quick trip to Google led me to their website http://www.nysed.gov/, where you will find that UsNY is actually the State Education Department.

Every public and private university, college, high school, elementary school, and special education school in the state is under its purview. It is a degree-granting institution only in the sense that it authorizes other educational institutions in the state to do so. There is no actual campus that you can drive out to and see a big sign that says “The University of the State of New York” with buildings and dorms and teachers and students. You will never receive a diploma that has “The University of the State of New York” written on it in Gothic script.

Again, yes you will. And I’m sorry, I can’t cite my wall.

I type corrected. Would you mind telling us which school you went to?

Didn’t attend a school. Took GREs, CLEP, DANTES, and had credits from other schools. Once I had enough credits and waited until class graduation (May) I was given the degree. It was a program offered through the military for people who could not met resident status (last 45 credits thing) that all other universites have. Some described it as a paper mill but I scored 98% on the Education GRE and was given **-**3 points for duplicating course work. I was offered a sociology and psycology degree but I liked the sound of “Liberal Studies,” not Liberal Arts but Liberal Studies.