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Difference Between Private and Public Colleges

Private vs Public Colleges

Public and private colleges are both equally good options for higher education. They have some fundamental differences in their ownership, management, size of classes, variety of courses, etc.

Private Colleges
Private colleges are colleges which are privately owned. They are owned by private organizations and are funded through tuition and donations. Some of the most famous private colleges or universities in the U.S. are Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, Yale University, and Stanford University, etc.

Private colleges are eligible for accreditation from the government, but some colleges do not have accreditation, and the degrees they offer are not recognized formally. The private colleges may not legally discriminate while admitting students, but they have their own preferences in admission policies.

Cost of education
The cost of education in private colleges is higher than the public colleges. This makes it difficult for even the good students to go to the college of their choice. The government gives grants to students. These grants are decided by the merits of the student. The grants offered are less in number in comparison to the number of students who are capable of academic excellence.

College culture
The college culture includes smaller classes; thus the attention paid to each student is more because of the lower number of students in the college. In private colleges, one usually gets the courses they want.

Public Colleges
Public colleges are colleges which have been founded by the State government. They are also operated by the State like the University of North Carolina. In the U.S. there are many colleges in each state and at least one public university. This was made possible partly by the Morrill Land Grant Act passed in 1862. This act helped the state to sell 30,000 acres of federal land to finance educational institutions, etc.

Cost of education
The cost of education in public colleges is lower than private colleges. In public colleges the residents of the state are charged lower fees than out-of-state students. This is because the parents of the students from the state pay the state taxes.

College culture
Public colleges have very high enrollments. This is because of the size of the colleges, the seats available, the variety of courses available, the standard of education due to experienced and highly skilled teachers, and lower fees. The admissions in these colleges are based on a student’s merit thus the students studying in public institutions show very high standards.

The public colleges are funded by the State; thus the revenue generated is greater and a lot of research work goes on in these institutions. Once graduation is over, the colleges also provide students with campus interviews.


1.Private colleges are owned by private organizations and are funded through tuition and donations; public colleges are colleges which have been founded and funded by the State government.
2.The cost of education in private colleges is higher than the public college.
3.The private college culture includes smaller classes, lower numbers of students in the college, and they have their own preferences in admission policies. Public colleges have bigger classes, more courses, and more students. The admissions are based only on merit.

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