Differences Between Private And Public Colleges
All institutions are either public, private, or national. In this article, however, we’d be focusing on private and public colleges or universities.
Private universities and private colleges are institutions operated or owned by an individual, a group of individuals, or any organization whatsoever other than the government. Private colleges can either be for-profit or nonprofit. Private colleges and universities rely heavily on student tuition and fees, alumni, and endowment to fund their programs. Often, however, private colleges are subject to government policies.
On the other hand, public colleges and public universities are institutions that are owned by the state. Consequently, they receive most of the funds used in running the institution from the government.
While public colleges are always nonprofit institutions, private colleges can either be for-profit or nonprofit. For-profit, institutions are like businesses and the major aim of the owners and managerial team is to make a profit. Nonprofit institutions on the other hand are more concerned about giving their students the best education than they are about profit margins.
From the modus operandi and source of funds, it is crystal clear that public and private colleges have a whole lot of differences. Let’s proceed to see some of them.
Cost of Attendance
The cost of attendance is the major distinguishing feature between private and public colleges.
The cost of attending a public college is way cheaper when compared the cost of a private. This is because since public colleges are funded by federal and state governments, they can afford to give subsidiaries, and that way, students don’t have to pay full tuition and fees.
This is particularly the reason why in-state students pay lesser than their out-of-state colleagues because the former helps funds the government through their taxes.
Private colleges on the other hand do not give the student’s fees subsidiaries and for this reason, students are required to pay their tuition in full as that is the major source of funds for the institution. The cost of attending a private college is estimated to be 250% higher than what it will cost to attend a public college as an in-state student.
The programs available to students in private colleges are usually fewer thereby limiting the majors and minors students can choose from. This is not altogether a bad thing as students who are already decided on what programs, majors, and minors they want to pursue will benefit immensely from private colleges that specializes or focus on their field of interest.
Students who are having a hard time making up their minds on what programs to offer will fare better in public colleges as these institutions have a large variety of programs to meet the different needs of the students that make up their large student body. Some public universities offer over 200 majors giving students a wider variety of majors and minors to choose from.
Students at public universities have access to a large array of research facilities and labs provided by the government. Consequently, students who have to carry out academic research as part of their program will find better opportunities at public institutions.
This is not to say that private universities do not have research facilities as many private universities just like public universities provide their students with a wide array of facilities and labs. However, only big private colleges can afford this as smaller private colleges simply do not have the resources to match public colleges’ research efforts.
Although both public and private colleges offer financial aid to their students in form of scholarships, grants, awards, and loans, private colleges, however, outdo public colleges in this respect as they often award more grants and scholarships owing to their large endowment funds. In the same vein, private college students who don’t get awarded any form of financial aid may get a sizeable tuition discount.
While it is true that the average cost of attending a private college is higher than that of a public college, students may sometimes pay lesser in private colleges because of financial aid packages and tuition discounts.
Private colleges usually have a not-so-large student body which translates into a low student-to-faculty ratio. This makes private colleges an ideal learning environment for students who may need extra direction and supervision as academic advisors and instructors know every student on a personal level. This personal relationship fosters more direct guidance and assistance to students.
Academic advisors and instructors in public colleges may not be able to establish this sort of relationship with their students owing to the large number of students they have to deal with daily. The overwhelming number notwithstanding, advisors and instructors are more than willing to render any extra assistance when needed but it is however entirely up to students to initiate it.
As the popular saying goes: “the more, the merrier.” Students at public colleges have a more vibrant social life. This is because owing to a large number of students, there are a variety of social groups and students are at liberty to be members of more than one of such groups at a time. In addition to on-campus groups, they have more bars, concert venues, tailgate parties, and lots more. This is not to say students at private universities do not have an active social life— it just usually comes on a smaller scale.
Asides cost of attendance or tuition, class size is another area where the difference between private colleges and public colleges is glaring. Public Colleges have larger classroom sizes. You could have a hundred or more classmates depending on the college. Due to this overwhelming number of students, one on one interactions between instructors and learners rarely exist.
Private colleges on the other have a lesser number of students with most classes in most public colleges having less than twenty students. This small number fosters good personal interaction between instructors and learners and creates an intimate learning environment.
Because private colleges charge the same tuition irrespective of the state of residency, the colleges’ student body comprises students from all over the globe. Public colleges on the other hand have mostly students from the same demography owing to the preferential treatment they give in-state students.
Now that you know the differences between public colleges and private colleges, we trust you to make the best decision for yourself.