Private university vs. public – does it really make a difference?

Receiving a higher education is turning point in any person’s life. When students start scouring for colleges, they are often stuck deciding between the private and the public universities. While both schools promise a fulfilling academic experience and career to follow, students have to make a careful choice because there are many pros and cons involved.

Before we dive into specifics, let’s understand the difference between the two institutions.


Private colleges are institutions that are not funded by government agencies. These colleges maintain their faculty and infrastructure with their own funds. There are two subsets of private institutions, namely for-profit and not-for-profit, with the majority of private colleges being not-for-profit institutions focusing on the quality of education. Yale and Harvard are examples of private colleges that have produced many billionaires in the present era.

On the other hand, public colleges are institutions that are established and run by government agencies. These colleges are supported by the state government to maintain their infrastructure and faculty. Arizona State University, University of Maryland, Penn State University, and the University of South Florida are few examples of public colleges in the country.

Private university vs. public – does it really make a difference?

Class size and culture

The class size of private colleges is usually smaller than that of public colleges. This benefits students who are looking for individualized classes. Public colleges may involve fewer group discussions owing to their large class sizes. Talking about demographics, private colleges welcome both in-state and out-of-state students, unlike public colleges, which have more in-state students, but are also open to out-of-state students.

Tuition fees

Public colleges are to known to have considerably low tuition fees compared to private colleges so that in-state students can afford them. Although private colleges are more expensive, students there can usually apply for scholarships and grants to afford these institutions in the first place.


Private colleges tend to offer more specialized academic programs, which allow students to customize their curriculum. On the other hand, public colleges can provide much more diverse major options to students. Public colleges are also often broader in scope when it comes to extra-curricular activities, owing to their larger student population.

Which college to choose?

While choosing between private and public colleges, there are many factors students must take into consideration. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to choosing between the two options. Students should go to a college that suits their budget and career aspirations.

Private university vs. public – does it really make a difference?

So in the end, the great debate on private university vs. public – does it really make a difference? Should we even go to college after all, regarding the radical changes the world has went through in the last few years?  The true quality of education is the most critical factor to keep in mind while making a choice, and students shouldn’t always go by the prestige of the college.

A college that provides the courses you are looking for, involves more practical learning, and promises good job opportunities, is what students should ultimately choose. No matter what you choose, just do what is right for you.