Comparing Public Universities vs. Private Universities

Posted on: 19th April 2020


Writing a public university vs. private university essay can sometimes prove to be a daunting task. There are many times we think that physical tasks are more scary and daunting than mental tasks. Is this true? Probably not. It’s true to say that physical tasks have their own challenges. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that mental tasks are any less challenging. 

I trust you already know public universities are funded by the state, federal, and local authorities, while private universities are not. What other information do you have about these institutions? As a student, which of them should you choose? Why?

To compare and contrast between public and private university, you need to take your time and do extensive research to gather the latest information about these two groups of institutions. Research shows that most students who fail in writing custom essays have challenges crafting unique and plagiarism free essays, meeting assignment deadlines, using correct referencing styles, or have little knowledge about a given subject.

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The Difference between Public and a Private University

What is a public school?

Public school is a college or university that is generally funded by the state. However, federal and local governments can also fund these institutions. Historically, it’s the state that carries the bulk of financing these schools, although federal spending has been increasing in the recent past. Since taxpayers support these schools, they often offer cheaper tuition rates.

What is a private school?

A private school is a privately funded institution that can also view as an educational non-profit organization. Much of the funding for these institutions comes from tuition fees and donors. Although not always, these institutions are smaller compared to public schools. They also operate independently. This means that they set their own school rule and policies.

Let’s compare and contrasts between public and private university:

Tuition Fee

Funding is the major difference between these universities. Funding directly affects parents and students because it has a direct link to tuition fee. Most public institutions are very old, and since their inception, the state has been the one overseeing their operation as well as their management. Most of them have trustees and appointed board members that report to the state on various matters that affect these institutions.

Due to this continuous state funding, tuition fee has always been less expensive. The small tuition fee raised can’t enough for college expenses like remunerating the faculty and staff. However, in a private university, all donations and tuition fees are the primary sources of funds necessary for the smooth running of the school.

It’s important to note that this is not always the case. Some private universities are cheaper than public universities. For instance, there are private schools that boast of a fee as low as $ 5,000, while some public universities are as high as $ 17,000. Moreover, there are private schools that are entirely free.

Number of Courses offered

Private universities generally have fewer courses to offer students compared to private universities. The small number of students has a direct influence on the number of courses provided. If an institution has few scholars, it does not need many courses. This is because there are not many students that demand various programs.

On the other hand, a public university offers very many courses to ensure the needs of the vast number of students looking for various courses are met. Moreover, most public universities offer postgraduate study programs while only a few private universities offer these programs.

Size of University

The size of a university has a lot of influence on a student’s school life. Private universities are generally smaller compared to public ones. A private school has smaller classes that take students from as low as 500 to about 3000. This means students are likely to meet most of these students. However, a state institution may have thousands of students in a single class, most of whom you might never meet. For example, a class can have over 10,000 students.

A smaller class means that every student is likely to get individual attention, although this isn’t necessarily true. Due to there small size, it’s more common for students to graduate on time. The smallest public university in the United States has over 60,000 students-Arizona State University, while the largest private university has about 20,000 students-New York University. 

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International Popularity and Global Ranking 

Every student looks forward to having a globally recognized degree. It’s for this reason that most students check the ranking of various universities before applying for a degree program. Generally, private universities rank better than most state-owned universities. Most private universities are famous, both locally and internationally. They are also among the world’s best universities.

Graduate employability

Other than acquiring knowledge, students go to school to get a brighter future, with the ultimate goal of getting a degree that can help them build a successful career. Although the university you study doesn’t really affect your employability, students from private schools tend to be favorites for most firms.

This is because private universities have a low capacity that ensures they get the most out of their class. So, why do some public universities rank highly but don’t get jobs for most of their students? It’s simple. These days, employers are looking for more than just grades. They are looking for personalized skills and graduates who live up to the tasks easily get employed. It’s for this reason that most employees resolve to hire graduates from private universities. 


Although some public schools can rival private schools when it comes to prestige, most of them fall short of that for different reasons. This is because private institutions are more focused and ensure their resources are fully utilized. For instance, a private university can employ influential academic experts, professors, or faculty members. In general, people tend to attach less prestige to public universities. 

The mere fact that professionals teach students rather than adjunct professors or graduate students helps students feel more eager and comfortable to learn. Besides, private universities are known to conduct some of the best research studies. Some examples include Harvard, Yale, John Hopkins, and Stanford. I believe you know how hard it to get into these universities. 

 However, it’s important to understand that a simple fact that your degrees came from a prestigious university doesn’t mean that you’ll fair better in an interview. If you’re thinking about improving your resume, a well-known university will help you do that. But is it really worth it if you lack the right skills? Remember, interviews are more concerned with your skill and what you have learned instead of your former school.


Private universities are known to have some of the most rigorous academic programs. They also have more than one curriculum. Although this is true, many well-organized state-owned schools produce some of the best graduates yearly.

If a student wants to enroll in a university, it important that they consider their ability and interest in a particular course instead of choosing between a private and public university. Your focus and interest must align with the kind of program you want to take. This will help you do what you like and thus perform highly.

Application Deadline

Every university has its own application deadline. Some groups of schools receive applications throughout the year, while others have a fixed application deadline. However, most state-owned universities tend to have application deadlines at almost the same time. This ensures those who want to apply for programs are always aware of the dates.

International study programs

The number of international programs being offered in various universities keeps increasing yearly. Public universities offer most international study programs, although a few are programs also offered by private institutions. 

Private universities offer international programs that may not be provided by public universities. Generally, private schools tend to offer international programs in fields that are less competitive-with the majority of them being innovative courses.

Teacher-student ratio and its effect

As earlier mentioned, public institutions have larger classrooms compared to private schools. As such, public universities have a high teacher-student ration. For instance, one professor can teach a class of about 700 students.

A low teacher to student ratio brings about a better learning environment since most of the students receive more customized teaching methods as well as more personalized training. In the case of group work, classes with less number of people can work more efficiently than those with many students. Therefore, if you are looking for personalized leaning and a small class where you can interact with everyone, private universities might be you need. 

Work availability in Universities

Since state-universities offer a lot of training programs, the amount of work available in these institutions is more than that of private universities. Other than jobs for professors and lecturers, state-owned universities can employ students while they are still learning. This helps most of them to pay their fees. Moreover, most of the surrounding community of a public school is likely to have a lot of jobs compared to other institutions.

Although private universities also offer jobs, they are very few. Private institutions always try to ensure you concentrate on your studies; thus, they don’t prefer students working while in university.

Campus Life and Amenities

There is also a difference between public university life and private university life.  Public schools tend to have more school-sponsored events and also lets you hang out with a wide variety of students. You are also likely to interact with international or non-state students. Due to their large numbers, most students live off-campus, where there are fewer restrictions compared to when they live on campus.

Private schools host events buts after a few weeks or so. There are plenty of activities that get students involved. Moreover, private school students tend to have weekend parties, just like public universities. 

Demographic variation

Most of the students in state universities are from within that state, and most of them live near these institutions. This is especially important for parents who prefer their children to come back home every day. On the other hand, private universities attract students from different parts of the country or world. This is largely due to their personalized way of teaching.

If you’d like to study in a different geographical location, it will be better if you go for a private institution instead of a state-owned university.

Interacting with students from other states or countries helps students learn about different cultures and believes. For instance, Yale students can learn how to prepare Chinese food, while Chinese international students can learn how to make American foods.

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