USC should celebrate higher rankings, improvements for public schools

UCLA could not possibly be considered a university of the same caliber as USC, right? Wrong, according to the latest U.S. News and World Report National University Rankings.

This year, USC and UCLA respectively fell and rose a spot from last year’s rankings, leaving them tied for the 24th spot. While many students are angry that we have tied our rivals, we should actually be celebrating UCLA’s achievement.

USC is a prestigious institution abundant with opportunities. It also happens to cost about $40,000 per year. Despite the university’s financial aid policy, many potential students simply cannot handle this kind of economic burden.

These students, however, should still have the opportunity to pursue higher education—which is exactly why public school systems like the University of California exist. Unfortunately, countless budget cuts in recent years have made UC schools more expensive and less reputable. UCLA’s improved ranking suggests that public education is making a comeback.

I hope UCLA continues to compete with us in academic ratings. Socioeconomic status should not prevent young people from receiving the education they deserve.

Furthermore, I am happy to know that there is a school nearby that offers an academic caliber similar to our own. This allows for better collaboration between the two schools—which translates to more resources and opportunity for us—and it helps make Los Angeles a better educated city.

Education is a right, not a privilege. While our outrageously expensive tuition should certainly buy us something—small class sizes, for example—we should still celebrate when public institutions can compete with private ones.

USC’s reputation is important. But we should strive to pull other, less expensive schools to the top along with us, so that more students can achieve a high quality education. A better educated populace benefits everyone, including us private school folks, and we should be happy that UCLA is moving in that direction.