Private vs Public college

Private colleges are the ones which does not fall under the ownership of government and whose main focus is to make profits. Public colleges on the other hand, are the ones that come under government ownership and their focus is not to make profits.

Posted by Ankita Paul on 1st May 2018

Private College  

A private college is an independent school which is owned by individual personalities, has its own set rules and regulations (even independent examination rules), and is privately funded.

These colleges are not operated by the government.

They are generally less big than public colleges in size and the fees are higher than that of public colleges.

Private colleges can be:

  • Private Not For Profit Colleges- A private Not For Profit college is an institution that is run or owned by a private sector but they don’t strive for money making. They are funded by endowments and donations. They are generally public colleges but it is not necessary that they cannot be private sectors. Their primary focus is quality of education and educational aspects. Money making is just a part of it.

  • Private For-Profit Colleges- Private For-Profit colleges just focus on the money-making concept. Students looking for big campuses, infrastructural facilities, and reputation can go to profit-making colleges. They guarantee a good campus and other amenities along with education which helps them earn a good amount of profits.

Public College

A public college means “any institution of higher education or any technical above the secondary school level, provided that such public school or public college is operated by a State, subdivision of a State, or governmental agency within a State, or operated wholly or predominantly from or through the use of governmental funds or property, or funds or property derived from a governmental sources”- 42 U.S. Code & 2000c. Public colleges are less costly compared to private colleges and are supposed to be bigger in size.

Comparison between Private & Public Colleges

  • Tuition Fees- The main difference in both of these is that public colleges charge very low than private colleges. Public colleges are generally founded by the government. The government usually pays the cost of operating in public colleges. Public colleges are even looked after by government-appointed board members or trustees. Whereas, private colleges have to look after their own costs and spending as they are set up by individual businessmen or other people. They rely heavily on tuition fees and private contributions so their fees are higher.

  • Size and degree offerings- Public colleges are bigger in size than private colleges. The students who want many options in their career choice usually go for public colleges as they have more offerings than private colleges.

  • Prestige- The public universities fall a little short in terms of reputation compared to the private colleges. Though the education received is not less than a private college, the recognition is not always there. Private colleges have some of the best faculties coming and teaching that is why people have names like Yale, Harvard, Stanford, etc. stuck in their minds.

  • Work Availability- The amount of work availability is higher in public colleges than private colleges. The university itself is likely to have more jobs for students, as well as work-study programs to assist payment of tuition. While work-study is likely available, the job selection is slim at private colleges. The expectation is that you focus on your studies, so if you want to be working through college, you might have a harder time.

  • Extra-Curricular Activities- There’s a club or committee for every activity if you think of it if there’s not then you can always demand one. While in Private colleges also there are plenty of clubs involved as they like their students associated with extra-curricular but there might be smaller groups than the public colleges.

Private & Public Colleges

Private colleges

 There are many private colleges. Some of them are listed below.

Private for Profit colleges

Private Not for Profit colleges

Penn Foster College

University of the People

Ashworth College

AMES Christian University

Louisiana Baptist University

Christian Leadership University

Stevens Henager College

Hiram College

CNI College

The Baptist College Of Florida

Public Colleges

There are many public colleges and given below are some of it-

Florida Gateway College

College of Coastal Georgia

Dalton State College

Broward College

Pennsylvania College of Technology



Well, I hope this tells you a lot about the private and public colleges. The private colleges are the ones which are mainly for individual needs and is not for a charitable sake. The public colleges are generally opened to benefit the society as a whole. I hope further you can choose the right kind of college according to your needs through our The College Monk site.