Public university, Brazil

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A public university is a university that is predominantly funded by public means through a national or subnational government, as opposed to private universities. Whether a national university is considered public varies from one country (or region) to another, largely depending on the specific education landscape. In some parts of the world (such as China), public universities usually enjoy higher reputation domestically and they are often among the most influential research institutions in the world. Many of the prominent public universities are ranked among the best in the world by THES - QS World University Rankings and the Academic Ranking of World Universities.


In Brazil, there are a few hundred public universities funded by the Federal or State governments, and they include the most renowned universities in the country, such as the University of São Paulo and the University of Campinas. Professors are public servants, most of them tenured and selected by public contests, where international research publications is a major criterion for hiring. Teaching load is usually modest and leaves time for research. In contrast, most private institutions are for-profit enterprises which hire teachers on a per-hour basis and have little research when compared with the public ones, notable exceptions are certain private but non-profit universities, mostly affiliated with religious organizations, such as the Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie of São Paulo and the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro. Public universities are responsible for granting nearly all the graduate degrees in Brazil, such as doctoral and masters (called in Portuguese, respectivelly, "doutorado" and "mestrado"). These graduate programs in public universities are also the main source of Brazilian academic research.

There are no tuition or entrance fees in public universities (a right established in the Brazilian Federal Constitution), but since they have thousands of applicants every year, because there are no tuitions or fees, only the best students can pass the entrance examination. In many Universities, there are quotas for students whose secondary (high school) education was made entirely in a public funded school (generally, the quota is 50%), and there are also racial quotas, but usually restricted to students from public high school too. Some Universities, like UFMG, the largest federal university in Brazil, give extra points in their admission tests instead of quotas. In UFMG a public high school student is granted a 10% bonus over his test grade, if he previously agrees to receive this advantage. Public school students that declare themselves as blacks or "pardos" (mixed race) have a 15% bonus, also if they previously agree to receive race based benefits. In recent years public funded higher education has grown a lot. Since 2005 the Brazilian Government has been offering a limited number of tuition grants to enable poor students to attend private universities.

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