When it comes to selecting colleges or universities, there is one thing you have probably heard time and time again: private institutions are always more expensive than public. Though it can be the case that private college tuition is higher, it’s not always true. Read on to learn about the differences in tuition and fees for public and private colleges and universities so you may make an informed decision about where to apply if your choices are ruled by weighing the cost.

Are Private Colleges Always More Expensive?

The short answer: No.

But it’s a little more complicated than that. Public institutions for higher learning receive funding from government at both the federal and state level, which can make them the most affordable option for students that are deemed residents of the state that houses the college or university. However, it is important to note that these same public institutions can cost more per year to attend than a private college for students who are considered students from “out of state.”

Related resource: 60 Most Affordable Accredited Online Christian Colleges and Universities 2016

Sometimes a private college can cost less than a public school. Qualified students can take advantage of competitive financial aid and scholarships made possible by astronomical amounts of money donated by trusts and well-to-do alumni that have attended private institutions and often credit their alma mater’s moniker on their resume with some of their success.

The long answer: don’t count out a school as an option simply because it’s a private college and you think it will cost more. There are many factors that could prove that to simply not be the case.

Deciding Between Private and Public College

Regardless of whether your dream school is a public or private college or university, it’s most likely going to be a very expensive endeavor for the average student. When weighing the pros and cons of each, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Look for schools with Merit Based Scholarships. Merit aid is a type of financial aid granted to students regardless of financial need. It is based on grades and other achievements. Common types of merit scholarships awarded are for musical talent, sports and athletic talent, and great academic achievement.
  • Consider a college with a good Work Study program. Work study is a program that allows students to work part-time while attending college to either offset the cost of higher education or expenses to survive while studying.
  • Figure out the real cost of attending the institution. Before you panic about the price tag of a school, see if the college is one of 7,000+ schools to include a net-price calculator on the website. If so, crunch some numbers. If you have a long list of dream-schools, this could be a good way to narrow it down.

It’s Not All About Cost

Though the price tag of your private college tuition could be a little bit heart-stopping, choosing the right school is about more than cost. Ultimately the decision must be made based on what school can meet your needs and over-all goals for higher education.

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