There are a few types of higher education institutions in the U.S., they have differences from curriculums they focused on to the core ideals they value, and from physical size to the time it takes to finish the degree.

Types of Universities in the USA: Public universities, Private universities, Research universities.

Types of Colleges in the USA: Community colleges, Liberal arts colleges, Other colleges.

Public universities

They by public means, such as state-funded, they are often bigger in size than private ones and are characterized by lower tuition costs.

Public universities tend to enroll more part-time and commuter students.

International students that wish to enroll will have to pay higher fees than domestic students at such universities.

Private universities

They rely on primarily donations, endowments, and tuition itself, these universities tend to have higher tuition fees than public universities, they account for a significant number of enrollments in the U.S.

International and domestic students alike are on par when it comes to tuition costs in private universities.

Non-profit private universities

Their main purpose is not be most profitable, they rather offer high-quality education. They are more focused on producing high-quality curriculums and education.

For-profit private universities

Their aim is not only to educate students but to generate revenue for the share-holders and they tend to gravitate towards money-making. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that these universities don’t deliver quality education as well. In fact, there are many for-profit private universities with great curriculums.

Research universities

They can be public or non-profit private universities, which are regarded as doctorate degree-granting institutions that spend millions in research expenditures and have high research activities.

There are around 130 such institutions in the U.S., which include all eight Ivy League universities and other highly regarded universities of which many are public universities.

Ivy League schools

They consist of eight Northeastern U.S. based universities and is an American collegiate athletic conference. They all have a long history from the oldest Harvard University founded in 1636 to the youngest Cornell University, founded in 1865.

They are all regarded for their academic excellence, social elitism, and admission selectivity.

Among the colleges in Ivy League, Columbia University in the City of New York has the most enrolled students of 33,800 while Dartmouth College has the least number of students of 6,800 for both in graduate and undergraduate programs.

The eight Ivy League schools include Harvard University, Princeton University, Brown University, Dartmouth University, Cornell University, University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University, and Yale University.

Types of Colleges in the USA

Colleges in general are smaller in size in both campus and enrollment.

Colleges such as community colleges, usually take less time to complete, with an average of two years to graduate. However, there are also numerous four-year colleges, which are often akin to universities. Colleges too can be separated into several kinds.

Community colleges (CC)

They sometimes referred to as junior colleges, and are primarily two-year higher education institutions.

They provide lower-level tertiary education (compatible to the first two years of a four year university), and they grant associate degrees, diplomas, and certificates. For the most part, these institutions attract local students and are usually funded by the state.

Many students, including many international students use community college as a stepping stone to a four-year university or a liberal arts college. Although the term junior college is used to describe community colleges; junior college refers to private two-year colleges, whereas community college refers to public two-year colleges.

Liberal arts colleges

Liberal arts colleges are mostly non-profit private colleges (there are a number of public liberal arts colleges) that are relatively small in size, and they offer programs in humanities, sciences, and social sciences. They tend to put emphasis on an undergraduate and well-rounded education rather than research, and they generally not too focus on athletics.

These colleges will usually offer one expansive area of study instead of breaking one degree into a few branches. They tend to focus on the more academic side of higher education rather than vocational skills.

Other colleges

They include religious colleges, same-sex colleges, specialized colleges, art colleges, and for-profit colleges. These colleges can be either public or private, and often very similar to community colleges in function, but with a specific set of rules that are unique to each institution.

We hope the above types of higher education institutions in the U.S. helped you better understand universities and colleges in USA.

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