There are many universities and colleges in the United States with names such as "... State University".
The word state has many distinct meanings, but pertinent to this question are:
- government, ministry, administration, executive, regime, powers-that-be: The state does not collect enough revenue to cover its expenditure.
- One of the more or less internally autonomous territorial and political units composing a federation under a sovereign government: the 48 contiguous states of the Union.
Thus, it is possible to take the name to mean "university belonging to one of the 50 states", eg Arizona as opposed to Alabama. It is also possible to take it to mean "university owned and operated by the state", as in, not privately funded.
The distinction is a bit pointless in English because of homophony, however other languages have different non-interchangeable words for state in the sense of "administrative subdivision of a federal government" (Russian, for example, calls the US states штат -"штатный университет"?-, with obvious etymology, and even Russia's own states get a different term, область, meaning roughly "region") and in the sense of "government-operated" (again, in Russian a state university in this sense would be государственный университет - eg Moscow State University, Московский государственный университет).
So in which sense are American state universities, "state universities"? Especially when translating, into languages such as Russian above, which meaning is more appropriate for selecting word choice?