What is a Private University?
A private university is an institution that relies on private funding and tuition to maintain operations, instead of government funding. Private universities have significantly more control over setting admission policies than public colleges, but they still cannot discriminate in their admission practices.
Private colleges in the U.S. are generally operated as non-profit education or research institutions. The tuition and fees for private colleges are generally higher than that of public colleges, but financial aid is offered by many schools. Many private universities in the U.S. are either affiliated with or operated by religious institutions.
Benefits of Private Colleges
Although private colleges are often criticized for their high price tags, there are many benefits to attending a private university. Private colleges are generally smaller in size than their public counterparts, and therefore a student can benefit from smaller class sizes and more personalized faculty attention. Many private colleges have long-standing traditions, historic campuses and a rich educational history. Examples of private colleges with traditions of educational excellence that you might recognize include Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Stanford, and Columbia.
Private colleges are also known for their large alumni donor base which helps them provide scholarships and other financial aid awards to students in need.
Top Private Colleges
There are many organizations that provide college rankings for private colleges. Here are a few resources to help you find top private colleges:
Top Private Colleges – College Finder
Peterson’s Best College Picks
Create a personal profile and Peterson’s will help you identify colleges that are a good fit for you.
Fill out a profile and CollegeBoard will match you up with schools.
CollegeBoard allows you to enter your school choices and compare universities side by side through this tool.
Top Private Colleges – General Rankings
U.S. News and World Report College Rankings
You can find college rankings based on school type, program type, cost, and more.
Princeton Review College Rankings
Rankings based on information collected and student surveys.
Top Private Colleges – Best Value for Your Money Rankings
Kiplinger Best Values in Private Colleges