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November 1st. 2005 According to this ranking of the best Universities in the world, prepared by The Times, London, edition 2005, the best Brazilian University is Universidade de São Paulo, placed 196th; number 190 is Gothemburg University, Sweden, and number 199 is University of Florence, Italy.
Universidade de São Paulo was the only Brazilian university to appear among the top 200; in the 2004 edition, there was not any Brazilian University in the top 200 list. In Latin America, the only other University to appear among the top 200 was the National Autonomous University of Mexico, position 95.

Universities in Brazil

There are public and private colleges and universities in Brazil. There are public institutions maintained by the Federal government (the majority), by the States (a few) and by municipalities (very few).
The tuition in public institutions is entirely free to the students; lodging is very rarely provided, usually for students who come from other cities; books and other learning material is not provided; restaurants are usually subsidized.
Public universites are usually better than private ones. For a long time, governments were the only entities willing to invest the massive amounts of money required to create and maintain good universities. Until today, the absolute majority of Brazilian scientific researchers are found in the public universities (very little research is funded by private colleges or private corporations).
In recent years, with the creation of Provao (a system to evaluate the quality of superior institutions - see link further below), private institutions have been struggling to improve their standards, and the quality gap between public and private colleges has been narrowing.

Access to Universities graduation.
Institutions, both private and public, have relative freedom to select their alumni. Even though a few institutions have been using the results of ENEM (tests which are periodically applied to the students of high-school) to evaluate candidates, the main means to select alumni is by a process called vestibular.
Vestibular is adopted by practically all public universities, because the number of candidates is usually superior to the number of vacancies offered.
Vestibular is a test open to all students who have completed highschool (similar to American GMAT, but the preparation of tests and evaluation of results is up to each college); the students with the best scores qualify to enrollment.
The vestibular of public universities rank candidates by intellectual abilites only; factors like abilites in sports or family background are not relevant. Some private institutions adopt the practice of sponsoring high level athletes.
In consequence of this system, the vacancies in the most sought after courses (Engineering, Laws, etc) in public colleges are taken by candidates from the upper and middle class, who can afford to have a good fundamental and secondary education. The poorer usually resort to the private institutions, where competition is lower.
Recently, a few active policies have been adopted to give more opportunities to minorities . The Federal University of Rio reserved vacancies to the poor (people under a certain income level); at the University of Brasilia, vacancies were reserved to black and brown people (the policies are controversial, and are still under discussion).

Access to post-graduation.
Most mastering and doctoring courses occur in public institutions; in some cases, even in public institutions, tuition is paid for.
Institutions have freedom to select alumni; requirements usually include recommendation letters and curriculum evaluation.

Other topics.
(The Big Test) - A system to evaluate the quality of Brazilian universities.

List of Universities in Brazil

(Under construction - July 2005)

Universities in Acre
Universities in Alagoas
Universities in Amapá
Universities in Amazonas
Universities in Bahia
Universities in Brasilia
Universities in Ceará
Universities in Espírito Santo
Universities in Goiás
Universities in Mato Grosso
Universities in Mato Grosso do Sul
Universities in Maranhão
Universities in Minas Gerais
Universities in Pará
Universities in Paraná
Universities in Paraíba
Universities in Pernambuco
Universities in Piauí
Universities in Rio de Janeiro
Universities in Rio Grande do Norte
Universities in Rio Grande do Sul
Universities in Rondônia
Universities in Roraima
Universities in Santa Catarina
Universities in São Paulo
Universities in Sergipe
Universities in Tocantins

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