Private and Public Colleges: Similarities and Differences


In the current age, students are presented with various options regarding higher education. Most countries provide private and public college opportunities, enveloping both paid and state-supported tuitions. While both types of education are available for all country citizens, private college organizations tend to require a more extensive amount of fees in exchange for the services offered. Nevertheless, considerable similarities and much more significant differences emerge upon closer examination of this subject. Numerous social and environmental factors should be mentioned when addressing this topic, from community interactions to teaching quality. In this essay, the concepts of public and private colleges will be compared and contrasted, highlighting the primary resemblances and distinctions between these types of education.

Exploring the Corresponding Traits of Private and Public Colleges

The most remarkable similarity between private and public college education resides in the type of learning presented to the attendees of these institutions. Primarily, college schooling is practice-oriented, serving as a mediating option between universities and career engagement. To obtain practical experience and knowledge for a certain profession, it is necessary to enroll in a schooling organization that can provide such information (Epple et al., 2017). Both private and public colleges aim to offer individuals knowledge of applied disciplines that can be successfully utilized after the program’s completion. Another significant corresponding feature to be considered is the range of the subjects provided by private and public college education. Most colleges maintain the same general approach to tutoring, with high graduation rates and low ratios between students and faculty representatives (Sakellariou, 2017). In this regard, the two institutions are equivalent as they provide their students with achievable, practical goals and attempt to hire a smaller number of teachers. In addition, the programs available mostly transpire over 2-4 years, delivering opportunities for shorter education (Epple et al., 2017). Considering this information, most private and public colleges follow comparable learning strategies and goals.

Primary Contrasting Features

A deeper consideration of the topic in question uncovers additional attributes to be examined. First of all, it is necessary to outline the evident cost difference between the two types of colleges presented. Private colleges employ multiple paid courses, charging significant tuition for the services provided. Such fees might range significantly depending on the schooling institution, its sponsors, and education quality, but even so, these payments from the students are always more substantial than compared to public colleges (Bleemer & Zafar, 2018). Public education establishments are referred to as state educational organizations financed by the government, thus securing additional support. Striking differences in payment can be observed between the two types of colleges, presenting public institutions as a more favorable option for the families. Secondly, another distinct trait to be discussed is the size of the institutions. Private colleges are usually funded by business corporations or rely on student fees and endowments, vastly decreasing the overall scale of the organization (Eide, 2018). Therefore, private colleges are more diminutive in personnel and campus numbers, offering fewer program opportunities. Public establishments are more diverse, as more extensive monetary resources allow them to expand faster and more efficiently.

An essential difference arises from this examination, a feature that concerns the social environment. Given the personnel and space limitations, private colleges form much smaller classes, resulting in closer relationships between the schoolmates and their professors (Chui et al., 2016). Public institutions, on the other hand, are capable of admitting significant student numbers, causing restrictions on the interactions between learners and their teachers (Chui et al., 2016). Considering private colleges, fewer entertainment events and communication experiences might be gained due to the institution sizes and population numbers. Most students residing in public colleges are exposed to an exceptional amount of relaxation and interaction activities, creating a perfect atmosphere for developing multiple social skills (John et al., 2018). However, even though the students should communicate with larger numbers of individuals, such situations can also contribute to negative outcomes, which are less likely to occur within a private college environment.

Addressing the dissimilarity in connection to the quality of education offered is an essential part of this examination. According to various scholarly statements, private colleges can provide a far more superior schooling experience for their students, securing the success of their future professional endeavors (Chui et al., 2016). Although smaller numbers of learning programs are available, meaning that the attendees are forced to choose from specific options, the excellence of the education acquired can compensate for this disadvantage. Many private colleges select a particular scientific area or a specialization, focusing on supplying their students with high-quality schooling in this specific branch (Chui et al., 2016). As a result of this strategy, the standards achieved appear to be preferable for individuals who desire to direct their attention to a certain subject (Bleemer & Zafar, 2018). Furthermore, it is crucial to note that small-scaled classes are advantageous for the learners, allowing them to concentrate more on their studies and offering the teachers an opportunity to adopt a more personal educational approach.

A final aspect to be mentioned regards the work availability supplied by the colleges. Learners attending private campuses commonly appear to possess fewer opportunities to find a suitable professional occupation since such colleges, as stated before, often engage in teaching only specific topics, dramatically reducing the job expectation. Considering public institutions, there is tremendous potential to attain a more lucrative position, for example, provided by the organization or its contributors (John et al., 2018). Nevertheless, it is vital to highlight that a narrow field of specialization may be more beneficial. Altogether, it is necessary to consider multiple factors when discussing future possibilities, as some of them might be provided by the college during education.


To conclude, several similarities and differences were explored in detail in this work. Private and public colleges possess corresponding characteristics, making them equivalent in some terms. A college education’s overall goals are quite alike, because this type of schooling is aimed at acquiring a practice-oriented experience during a particular amount of time. However, multiple distinctions are present, arguing that private and public colleges are highly contrasting, mainly in tuition fees, institution size funding establishments, social environment education quality, and consequent work availability. Various private colleges require a considerable amount of monetary resources, as they primarily depend on student payments and additional endowments, while public colleges receive their funding from the state. It appears that the remaining differences originate from this feature, as reduced costs allow public institutions to provide their students with higher program and entertainment availabilities. Private colleges, in contrast, endorse their unique specializations, individual teaching approaches, and education quality.


Bleemer, Z., & Zafar, B. (2018). Intended college attendance: Evidence from an experiment on college returns and costs. Journal of Public Economics157(2018), 184–211. Web.

Chui, T. B., Ahmad, M. S. bin, Bassim, F. binti A., & Zaimi, N. binti A. (2016). Evaluation of service quality of private higher education using service improvement matrix. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences224(2016), 132–140. Web.

Eide, S. (2018). Private colleges in peril. Education Next18(4), 1–13.

Epple, D., Romano, R., Sarpça, S., & Sieg, H. (2017). A general equilibrium analysis of state and private colleges and access to higher education in the U.S. Journal of Public Economics155(C), 164–178. Web.

John, E. P. S., Daun-Barnett, N., & Moronski-Chapman, K. M. (2018). Public policy and higher education: Reframing strategies for preparation, access, and college success. Routledge.

Sakellariou, C. (2017). Private or public school advantage? Evidence from 40 countries using PISA 2012-Mathematics. Applied Economics49(29), 2875–2892. Web.

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