Deciding on where to go to college is a tough and exciting decision for students. During this process, many students consider attending either a private or public university.
Although the cost of tuition is often higher for private universities than for public ones, one should still consider the advantages of attending a private university, as opposed to a public university.
One benefit of attending a private university is the size of the student population. According to Florida Tech News, the student population at private universities are often smaller than those of public universities. This means class sizes are smaller and more interactive and students can develop stronger connections with their peers.
A smaller student body also allows one to easily network with others and their community, without having too much competition. Socializing and making friends or finding others that share similar interests is also easier and more likely within a smaller student body.
Private universities also tend to have stronger alumni networks, since students are able to form close knit communities. Some alumni will even donate money to the college, which benefits incoming students because there are more opportunities for them to gain scholarships.
At private universities, professors are more readily available. In contrast to public universities, where many classes are taught by graduate assistants, classes at private universities are taught by professors.
Since class sizes are smaller, it is likely that students will have an easier time contacting their professor. Forming meaningful relationships with professors helps students gain new connections and get letters of recommendations.
Although private universities are typically known for their high tuition and fees, many of them are generous with financial aid. According to US News, private institutions tend to offer financial aid that is sometimes more than what is offered by public universities.
The College Board reported that the average financial aid per student at four year public universities was $7,330 for the 2020 – 21 school year, while at private nonprofit universities, the average was $21,660.
This is because private universities are funded by endowments funds and students’ tuition fees, as opposed to the state government. By offering more financial assistance, these universities hope to attract more students to their school and it encourages them to look beyond the “sticker price” and see the reduced costs.
Private institutions are also ideal for students who have a specific interest or major they would like to pursue. Unlike public universities, private universities often offer fewer majors. Yet, some colleges may emphasize certain areas of studies, such as liberal arts, fine arts or STEM. This is beneficial for students who are certain about what they want to study or for those who are interested in majors that are not typically offered at public universities.
Graduation rates also tend to be higher at private universities than at public ones. The National Center for Education Statistics reported in 2019 that the 6-year graduation rate for first-time, full-time undergraduate students who began seeking a bachelor’s degree at 4-year degree-granting institutions in 2013 was 62 percent at public universities and 68 percent at private nonprofit universities.
When making one’s college decision, it is beneficial to look beyond just the cost of tuition and attendance. The advantages of attending a private university may outweigh or make the higher fees worth it.