Con: Prestige means nothing

Con: Prestige means nothing

Students planning to transfer after Pierce College have many factors that they need to think about and implement into their future, and deciding whether to go to a public or private university is one of them.

The biggest difference between public and private universities are where the funding comes from and the application of the education provided.

Private universities are funded through endowments and private donors whereas public universities are funded through the government. Because private universities receive funding discreetly, it breeds the idea that private universities are also providing students with more personal attention.

Is that personal attention worth the money invested into the university?

US News found that the cost of tuition and fees are higher at private colleges, and that these universities have a history and pattern of providing education to the wealthiest students. They also found that close to 65% of students take out loans at a public university whereas almost 74% of undergraduate students took out student loans while attending a private university.

Over the years, the college experience has gotten the image of trying to fit in a certain spot within a social and financial hierarchy. Students factor in the prestige and reputation of the colleges they are contemplating to attend.

The Atlantic found that during the 2018-19 school year, undergraduate students who attended America’s top ten universities (including Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Princeton, and Yale) paid anywhere from $70,240 to $76, 650 that year. Students who attended public universities such as the University of Oxford and UCLA paid between $12,000-$35,000.

Some private universities are also known for their affiliation with religion and religious practices. By law, public universities are secular whereas private colleges do not have a legally binding precept.

The Fatherly found that almost 79% of students attending a private university attend some form of religiously affiliated school and almost 18.4% of all the students enrolled in private university were non-Catholic.

The New York Times had interviewed the President of California State University of Long Beach F. King Alexander and asked him his stance on public versus private universities.

Alexander said that the price of the university does not mean it has a higher quality of education or resources. He explained the Chivas Regal effect, in which Alexander stated “the bottle looks great, but what’s inside doesn’t taste better.”

Alexander also said that most private colleges most likely cannot achieve the same ‘network effects’ yet while still charging a tremendously higher amount for tuition compared to public universities.

CNBC found that the cost of college has increased over 25% within the last ten years and has increased student debt, generating the question if college is worth it in the first place.

Choosing which college, whether private or public, is every individual student and their family’s decision. Both decisions can be good for what the student wishes to do in the future yet factoring in the aspect that you can get to the same place with less money invested into college is something to think about.   

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