Public Colleges in the US

Answers to your frequently asked questions– including how private and public colleges are different.

Public colleges are popular with many US students, but tens of thousands of international students attend them every year as well.
Are you considering a public college? If not, maybe you should! But first, learn a little more about them.

What are public colleges?

Public colleges are institutions of higher education that are partially funded by the government. Many are state universities that receive money from the government of the state where they are located.

How are private and public colleges different?

While public colleges receive money from the government, private colleges and universities do not.

Why do many public colleges list two tuitions?

Most public colleges list in-state and out-of-state tuition costs.
In-state tuition is for students who are residents of the state where the college is located. Out-of-state tuition is for everyone else, including international students.
In-state tuition is almost always less expensive than out-of-state tuition.

Are all public colleges big?

Many are large, both in space and the number and diversity of students. But public colleges, like private colleges, come in all shapes and sizes.

What are the advantages of public colleges?

Public colleges usually offer a wide range of academic majors, minors and colleges courses.
The size of a public college can also be an advantage. A large number of students can mean a big variety of interests. That can lead to a lot of student groups and activities for you to choose from.
And of course, if you are an in-state student, tuition for a public college probably will be less expensive than a private college.


You should consider applying to a public college in the same way you would consider applying to any other type of college or university.
Public colleges have many advantages, and so do private colleges, community colleges and other types of institutions for higher education. Only you can decide if a public college is right for you.