Private Colleges in the US

We answer your frequently asked questions about private colleges.

Every year, thousands of students across America and around the world decide to attend private colleges in the US.
Should you? Learn the answers to these questions first:

  • What are private colleges?
  • What is the college costs?
  • How big are private colleges?
  • Are they prestigious?

What are private colleges?

Private colleges and universities receive no money from the government of the state where the school is located (for example, New York, Illinois, or Texas).
On the other hand, public colleges and universities do receive state funding.

What is the tuition at private colleges and public colleges?

Tuition can vary by thousands of dollars at different colleges.
At private colleges and universities, base tuition (before scholarships and grants are taken into account) is the same for all students no matter where they live—in the state, out of the state or in another country.
Public colleges and universities tend to be more inexpensive than private colleges for US students who attend a school in the state where they reside.

How big are private colleges?

Private colleges and universities come in all sizes, from a few hundred students to tens of thousands. The very largest US colleges and universities, however, tend to be public.
The US has hundreds of private colleges and universities where you can earn a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree and/or a doctoral degree.

Are private colleges prestigious?

Many of the most famous and prestigious US colleges and universities are private. Harvard, Yale, Columbia and the rest of the Ivy League schools all are private.
But schools in the Ivy League aren’t the only prestigious ones. Remember that many public colleges and universities have excellent reputations, too. For example, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill both are highly regarded.

Should you apply to private colleges?

Only you can decide.
You also should consider:


Private colleges are just one of your options when you study in America. Take a look at all of your choices before you ever begin filling out a college application.