OpportunitiesStudy AbroadUSA

Private vs Public College: What’s the difference



Both public vs private colleges are excellent choices for higher education. They differ fundamentally in terms of ownership, management, class size, course diversity, and so on. 

Funding for Private Colleges 

Colleges that are privately held are known as private colleges. Private groups own them, and tuition and donations are used to pay for them. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, Yale University, and Stanford University, among others, are some of the most well-known private institutions or universities in the United States. 

Although private institutions are eligible for government accreditation, some colleges do not have accreditation, and the degrees they give are not publicly recognized. Although private institutions are not allowed to discriminate in admissions, they do have their own admission policies. 

Related Post:Nursing in Sweden: All you need to know

Cost of education 

Private colleges have a higher cost of education than public colleges. This makes it tough for even the best students to attend their preferred college. The government provides financial aid to students. The merits of the student are used to determine these awards. The amount of grants available is insufficient in proportion to the number of students capable of academic achievement. 

The college atmosphere 

Because of the lesser number of students in the college, more attention is devoted to each student. In private colleges, students are more likely to acquire the courses they desire. 

Funding for Public Colleges 

Public colleges are those that were established by the government of the state. They, too, are run by the state, such as the University of North Carolina. Each state in the United States has a number of colleges and at least one public university. The Morrill Land Grant Act, passed in 1862, helped to make this possible. This measure aided the state in selling 30,000 acres of federal land in order to fund educational institutions and other projects. 

The cost of education 

Public institutions have a lower cost of education than private colleges. Residents of the state pay less tuition than out-of-state students at public colleges. This is due to the fact that state pupils’ parents pay state taxes. 

The college atmosphere 

The number of students attending public colleges is extremely high. This is due to the size of the institutions, the number of seats available, the range of courses offered, the excellent quality of education provided by experienced and highly competent teachers, and the cheaper tuition rates. Because entrance to these colleges is based on a student’s merit, students enrolled in public institutions have very high expectations. 

Because public colleges are supported by the state, the revenue earned is higher, and these institutions conduct a lot of research. Colleges also provide students with campus interviews after graduation.

READ This:  How long does it take to become a Neurologist?

Important Differences Between Private and Public Colleges 

When deciding on a college, there are a few important differences between public and private universities to consider. 

The Cost of Attendance 

The cost of attendance is arguably one of the most significant distinctions between public and private schools. 

Because public schools receive a major portion of their funding from the state and federal governments, they can afford to offer students reduced tuition prices. To put it another way, government subsidies cover the remaining expenditures, allowing students to avoid paying full price. 

This is one of the reasons why tuition for in-state students is far lower than tuition for out-of-state students, as the former’s taxes help pay state governments. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average cost of tuition and fees at public four-year institutions for 2020-21 is $18,809 for out-of-state students and $8,487 for in-state students. 

Because private schools rely heavily on tuition to sustain their operations, the cost of attendance is typically substantially greater. Private four-year institutions currently charge an average tuition of $30,065 – more than 250 percent more than public in-state students. 

Related Post:Best Universities in California for Computer Science

Available Programs

Private universities, particularly liberal arts colleges, tend to offer fewer academic majors than public colleges when it comes to program options. However, this isn’t always a terrible thing. Private institutions with a focused focus in their topic of interest can benefit students who know what they want to study. 

Because public institutions have a larger student base, they are able to offer more degree programs. Purdue University, for example, a huge public university in Indiana, provides practically every degree field imaginable, with over 200 majors. 

Students who are undecided about college majors and minors may prefer to attend a public university with a larger selection of majors and minors. 

Research Opportunities

Another advantage of government support for public institutions is their ability to provide a diverse range of research facilities and labs. 

On the UCLA campus, for example, there are hundreds of research institutes and labs. Public schools generally provide the best opportunity for students who are serious about using their school’s resources to conduct academic study. 

Private institutions, on the other hand, typically have fewer student resources and research facilities. Private research universities such as Johns Hopkins University and Cornell University, which spend billions of dollars on research and development each year, are an exception to this rule. 

Despite the fact that hundreds of private research institutions are similar in this sense, most smaller private colleges simply cannot match the research efforts of public schools. 

Size of the class and the number of students 

It’s not just about the money when it comes to comparing public vs private institutions. The number of pupils on campus and in the classroom is another significant distinction between the two. 

READ This:  Online Masters in Criminology : Admissions and Tuition

The majority of public institutions are constructed to accommodate huge student populations, with some undergraduate student populations exceeding 50,000. Despite the fact that large public universities have greater faculties and resources, class sizes are also larger. Undergraduate students may not be able to quickly contact professors or receive one-on-one assistance as a result of this. 

Most private universities, on the other hand, are substantially smaller, with student populations in the hundreds or thousands. Many private universities also make an effort to keep class sizes small so that students may readily engage with professors. Private universities can provide a substantial advantage to students seeking a more individualized educational experience. 

Social Interactions 

Because public institutions are typically substantially larger, they frequently provide a diverse range of extracurricular activities. Many are also recognized for their sports teams or party scenes, but with such a vast student body, there is generally something for everyone. 

Despite the lack of well-funded sports teams and widespread participation in campus organizations and activities, most private institutions have flourishing extracurricular scenes. Private institutions may be preferable for students who desire to have well-rounded social life without as much competition. 

Academics and Degree Programs 

To cater to their various student bodies, state institutions typically offer a seemingly unlimited array of majors and academic programs. Attending a state institution may provide you with the range of possibilities you need if you’re undecided or trying to choose between a few different majors. 

Private universities, like public universities, provide a wide range of degree programs, but they are more specialized. Some are noted for unique academic programs, allowing staff to specialize and perhaps attracting committed students. With the help of a faculty advisor, some private universities even allow students to create their own unique majors. 

Research Opportunities

Many public universities also serve as research institutions, resulting in a plethora of opportunities. However, with so many students vying for limited resources, landing a research position or a top-notch internship might be difficult. 

Most private institutions do not have as much research funding to offer, but there is less competition for the few chances that are available. Professors, on the other hand, may be able to assist students in finding their dream research opportunities, internships, or academic projects because they provide much more customized attention. 


Public Colleges : Though there are some schools that can compete with private colleges in terms of prestige, public universities tend to fall short for a variety of reasons. Though public school education is comparable to that provided by private schools, acknowledgement is not always forthcoming. A public institution is a little simpler to get into, but that doesn’t make it any less important of an education. 

Private Colleges: Private colleges are associated with a higher level of status. They frequently (but not always) employ some of the top teachers. People are more confident in the quality of their education because most classes are taught by tenured faculty rather than graduate students or adjunct instructors. When it comes to academia and research, most people know Princeton, Yale, Harvard, Stanford, John Hopkins, and other private institutions by name. It’s more difficult to get into such schools, which adds to their reputation as the best. It can also provide their graduates a sense of legitimacy. 

READ This:  SFU Acceptance Rate: Requirements and Tuition

Work Opportunities

Public Schools: The amount of work available in public schools is greater than at private schools. Students are expected to find more jobs at the university, as well as work-study opportunities to help pay for tuition. You might also discover that there are plenty of jobs for college students in the neighboring town. You may also have more time to work than at a private school, depending on the type of study you pick. 

Private Colleges: While work-study may be possible, job opportunities at private universities are limited. The assumption is that you concentrate on your education, so if you wish to work while in college, you may find it difficult. 

Graduation Rate

Attending a private school may be your best bet if you’re serious about graduating on time, finding quick work after college, and paying off your student loans. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 48 percent of students at private nonprofit universities complete their degrees on time (within four years), compared to 35 percent of public school students. 

What could account for the disparity? It may be more difficult to enroll in the requisite classes for your major at public universities with larger student bodies, which can lengthen the time it takes to complete school — and, as a result, raise the amount of student loans you may need to borrow.


When comparing public and private colleges, don’t forget to consider the cost of attendance. Not only should reasonable tuition be a factor in your decision, but so should finding a university that fits your goals. 

Before deciding on a school, determine your academic ambitions and intelligently choose a degree that will translate into a steady employment field. Which university has the finest facilities, resources, class size, culture, and financial aid? 

The best strategy to locate a collegiate match is to do your homework, make a list, and reduce it down to your top choices. College is what you make of it, and while tuition is expensive, the benefits of a college education are incalculable. 

Along with carefully selecting your schools, make sure to apply for grants and scholarships to reduce your overall costs. If you need a loan to bridge a gap in your finances, look around for the best student loan rates.

Related Post:How to become a Dermatologist

Leave a Reply

Back to top button