Private vs Public Universities: Which Is More Affordable?

student holding a pen looking pensively out a window

When deciding which college or university to attend, it could be said that choosing whether or not to apply to a public or private school has already been made. This is usually because students have subconsciously decided which type of educational institution is more affordable. Many people have already assumed that a public university’s tuition rate is going to be less expensive than a private educational institution. The truth is you might find some public higher education institutions more expensive than private ones. It just really depends.

While there might be some affordable private colleges out there, it may not be the right fit for you. Furthermore, private colleges tend to be a little more difficult to get into than state colleges. This is because they’re privately funded so the admissions process tends to be a bit more selective.

Research suggests that college graduates are earning less money than in the past. Even with this decline, the average lifetime earnings for bachelor’s degree holders are $2.1 million as opposed to $1.2 million for high school graduates. Clearly, a college degree is a deciding factor over a lifetime for achieving financial success.

Doing the Research for Yourself

While you might be somewhat correct in assuming a public college is less costly than a private college, it’s important for you to understand why that might be. As a college student, it’s imperative that you make decisions based on research from your own discoveries, not just what other people say. Your college education depends on it, not to mention your future career.

It’s all a matter of perspective. Some may tell you that public universities are better than private colleges, and another person will tell you the complete opposite. What you cannot dispute though, are the numbers.

The cost of earning a college diploma has increased dramatically over the past several decades, making the student debt crisis over $1.5 trillion in student loans.

According to the College Board’s 2018 Trends in College Pricing Report, from 1988 to 2018, “sticker prices” tripled at public four-year schools and doubled at public two-year and private non-profit four-year schools. These private, non-profit, four-year schools boast higher graduation rates with graduates making high salaries, but they conversely also own the most student debt.

Sticker Prices include tuition, fees, room, and board but don’t account for scholarships, grants, and tax benefits. For this reason, students may want to estimate what five years of tuition and fees will cost them at schools with low four-year graduation rates, and be mindful of planning their schedules and making the most of AP and other college credits before they attend university.

Looking at the Money

These days, it’s affordable for almost anyone to pursue a college degree. Many colleges offer financial aid assistance and scholarships that can significantly reduce the costs for students.

However, the type of scholarships offered varies depending on the college. While private colleges are said to give more generous scholarship opportunities, it’s wise to keep in mind that those awards may only offset the more expensive tuition rate you have to pay. So, you might end up paying the cost of public college tuition anyway. You could reason that if you enroll in a public university and won scholarships, you’d end up paying even less!

Looking at Long-Term Cost Financially

Few students rarely ever think about paying their student loan debt after graduation because frankly it just seems so far off. Nonetheless, it’s in your best interest to be mindful of how much money you take out in student loans because no matter whether you choose a public or private university when you graduate, it will be time for you to pay that back.

It generally takes about 6 months after graduating with your degree before you’re obligated to start paying back a school loan unless you decide to re-enter college under another degree program.

Your Future is Affected by the College You Choose

To determine which type of school is more affordable really depends on your personal income—your present and future income. You also want to take into consideration what industry you’re aspiring to work in, what the median pay is, and how that is going to factor into repaying your loan.

Throughout your college career, things can change. You might even change your mind in regards to what major you want to pursue. There’s even a probability that you may even want to change colleges.

Consider the Industry When Choosing a College

Not every college or university will offer you what you’re looking for. For instance, if you want to attend a school in Florida and possibly even live in this state, you’ll find that there are a myriad of healthcare job opportunities available, specifically in the South Florida area. Likewise, if you are interested in pursuing a degree and career in Florida, it might be a good idea to attend a university in that area.

South Florida is home to many groundbreaking healthcare facilities. Students attending a public university like FNU will not only get an affordable education but also have the opportunity to land internships in the Miami area.

Affordable Higher Education That You Can Rely On

While taking these important factors into considerations, our best advice is to also factor in your goals and the experience you want to have during these 4 years. Your university days will be some of the most cherished in your life. Make sure the program, the university, the staff, and student body are a place where you will feel comfortable, confident, and give the resources to reach the next level of success. That in itself is a value that cannot be given in hard numbers but is something you must determine for yourself.

At Florida National University, we aspire to be a community worthy of your investment. We care about more than just the education we provide, but also the availability of opportunities within your field, the quality of your professors, and the chance to grow personally with multiple clubs, sports, and organizations to join.

Advantages of Attending FNU, a Private University

FNU offers many accredited degree programs are offered 100% online. That means out-of-state students can actually remain out of state while earning a quality education they can afford. Take a look at some of the online programs that FNU has to offer here.

Our students go on to accomplish great things in their career paths without a great burden of debt or feeling unsupported by their alma mater. See some of their stories here.

To view FNU’s full list of degree and non-degree programs, click here.

For working professionals, FNU also offers continuing education courses here.

Florida National University: The Public’s Choice!

Ultimately, the value of your college education will depend on you. Learning everything that you can from your courses, completing internships, volunteering, and working jobs that are related to your field will help you gain the skills you need to succeed in the professional world.

If you’re interested in earning a quality education at the most affordable rate possible, contact one of the FNU advisors to schedule an appointment at any one of our campuses. If you’ve already chosen the degree program and want to start classes right away, start the application process online now. Take advantage of enjoying the benefits of an accredited public university and become an FNU Conquistador today!