By the way ... Pitt ranked 49th on the list.
Lack of financing is a key weakness. Public and private spending on higher education in the European Union amounts to only 1.3% of the EU economy—an average $12,000 per student. That compares with 3.3% of gross domestic product in the U.S., or $50,000 per student.
The Bruegel report calls for European countries to invest an additional 1% of their economies in higher education. But the report cautions that distribution of the money should be based on performance, not egalitarianism.
To foster excellence, Europe's universities should be given more autonomy and incentives for better performance—and they should be rewarded financially when they excel, says André Sapir, an author of the report. "There needs to be more performance evaluation," Sapir says. "Differentiation is key."