Welcome to the first episode of NYCollegeChat, a weekly podcast for New York State parents and high school students about the world of college. NYCollegeChat is a program of Policy Studies in Education and is hosted by Regina Paul and Marie Segares.
This episode is part of our series on understanding the world of college and is focused on the differences among public, private, and proprietary colleges.
Public colleges are paid for, at least in part, by state and local governments—that means, by your taxes—primarily for the benefit of their own residents.
States fund public colleges. New York has the State University of New York, with its 64 two-year and four-year campuses. Some states have more than one system of colleges, like California’s University of California campuses, California State University campuses, and California Community Colleges campuses.
Some local governments, like big cities and counties, can afford to help fund their own public higher education—like the City University of New York or Dallas County Community College District. Even in those cases, however, the state governments provide part of the funding, at least in some cases.
But even with public colleges that are supported by tax dollars, student tuition is a major source of revenue.
2. Public College Enrollment and Tuition
Public colleges usually have a large student enrollment—larger than most, but not all, private colleges.
Public colleges have lower tuition than private colleges, so the cost of attending a public college is lower than attending a private college, unless a student has been awarded a generous scholarship by a private college. Of course, students can be awarded scholarships by public colleges, too, making the cost of attending a public college even more attractive.
3. Attitudes About Private Colleges
Private colleges, which are funded by the tuition of its students and by donations from its alumni and others, are often seen as being more prestigious or as being “better” colleges than public colleges. The fact is the some private colleges are indeed better than some public colleges; another fact is that some public colleges are better than some private colleges.
What is “better”? Students are smarter. Professors are better educated. Classes are smaller. Extracurricular activities are more available. Campus facilities are more impressive. Alumni are more successful. The fact is that some public colleges beat some private colleges in all these areas, so it pays to know as much as you can about what a variety of colleges have to offer your child.
4. Proprietary Colleges
Public and private colleges are nonprofit organizations whose first responsibility is to their students. Proprietary colleges are profit-making organizations whose first responsibility is to its owners and stockholders.
That does not mean that proprietary colleges provide a bad education; in fact, some provide a very good education.
You should have a close look at any proprietary colleges your child is interested in. Check out their majors, their courses, their faculty, their costs, and their record of success.
Listen to the podcast to find out about…
- Great public colleges you might consider
- Public and private college names that are misleading
- The special public–private partnership that is Cornell University (Ithaca, New York), made up of 3 public colleges and 4 private colleges
Check out these higher education institutions we mention…
In New York State
- City College of New York CUNY
- City University of New York CUNY
- Cornell University
- DeVry University (also has out-of-state campus locations)
- New York City College of Technology CUNY
- New York University
- State University of New York (SUNY)
- Stony Brook University SUNY
- University of Albany SUNY
- University of Rochester
Outside of New York State
- California Community Colleges
- California State University
- College of William and Mary in Virginia
- Dallas County Community College District
- Georgia Institute of Technology
- Michigan State University
- Ohio State University
- Penn State University
- University of California
- University of California at Berkeley
- University of Colorado Boulder
- University of Illinois
- University of Michigan
- University of Minnesota
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- University of Pennsylvania
- University of Pittsburgh
- University of Texas at Austin
- University of Virginia
- University of Washington
- University of Wisconsin-Madison
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- Reviewing parent materials we have available at Policy Studies in Education
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