About Private Colleges

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America’s 1,700 private colleges and universities are… 

DIVERSE in their depth and variety — in their students, mission, academic offerings, and tuition levels. America’s 1,700 private, nonprofit colleges and universities enroll some 3.5 million undergraduate students who are pursing degrees in nearly 1,000 fields of study.  The ethnic and racial diversity across private four-year colleges and universities is comparable to students enrolled at public four-year universities. 

Regardless of socio-economic background and academic preparation, most students are as likely to earn their bachelor’s degree in four years at a private college or university as they are in six years at a public institution.

AFFORDABLE as a result of generous financial aid programs, which often include sizeable grants from the institutions’ own funds. And in today’s economy, more than ever, private colleges are working to contain costs, improve efficiency, and ensure that students graduate on time — all while keeping tuition as low as possible without compromising educational quality. Finances need not be a barrier to a private college education for any student. 

Highly PERSONAL experiences marked by faculty who care about students as individuals; a wide array of counseling and guidance services; and a warm community of students, faculty, and staff who respect and support each other.  Students at private, nonprofit colleges and universities typically enjoy a lower student-to-faculty ratio—meaning smaller classes than at many state colleges and universities.   


INVOLVED in the world beyond the classroom and campus in countless ways — as major employers, sources of a pool of engaged volunteers, and leaders in research to benefit all of society. 

Private colleges and universities employ more than 1 million people nationwide and are frequently one of the largest private employers in their regions.  In addition, with more than $14.5 billion in federal research funding, many private colleges are on the cutting edge of scientific discovery—working to solve societal problems, save lives, improve quality of life and keeping the U.S. globally competitive.

FLEXIBLE enough in their programs and convenient enough in their locations to meet the needs of virtually everyone pursuing higher education — whether coming directly out of high school, returning as an older degree student, or improving career skills part-time while continuing to work.  Many offer weekend and evening classes for working adults, satellite campuses close to where students live or work, and online course offerings with or without an on-campus or in-class component.  

Whatever students’ expectations and needs, the real measure of their college education is how SUCCESSFUL they become. That means far more than just salaries or status. The greatest success that private college graduates achieve may lie in the social, ethical, reasoning, and leadership skills they gain through the caring, supportive environment they find on campus. In learning to think critically and communicate effectively, and by approaching learning as an ongoing quest, private college students develop the abilities that will serve them well wherever life may take them.

Private colleges enroll 18 percent of all college students yet award nearly 23 percent of all degrees.   

Studies show that private college students are far more likely to get their degrees in four years than students at public  institutions.  Among all those receiving bachelor’s degrees a four-year colleges and universities, nearly 80 percent of private college students were able to earn their degrees in four years or less, compared to just under 40 percent at public colleges.

For more information about private colleges, please follow the link to: Private Colleges: FactFile: http://www.naicu.edu/data_research/detail/private_colleges_factfile