Public Universities vs Private Universities: Which Should You Choose?

Attending a university is the most crucial chapter in every student’s life, especially when you are leaving the comfort of your home to study abroad in a country like the UK, USA, or Australia. Furthermore, there is a lingering doubt in almost every international student’s mind whether to opt for a public or private university and which one would be better to invest your time, money, and effort in!

Understanding this dilemma, we have brought a coherent solution for you. As you navigate through the article, you will learn about the critical differences between the public and private universities that can help you decide which option seems suitable for you! So without further ado, let’s get started!

Accreditation and Funding

Public universities also referred to as state universities, are accredited under the national government and can be affiliated regionally. They are all funded by the state government and the subsidies it offers.

Private universities need to be accredited by the national government, i.e., from the department under the government at the national level or the university commission. Since private universities are not state-financed, they generally receive funding from tuition fees, private ventures, and investors.

Cost of Attendance and Financial Aid

Since the government finances public universities, they offer lower tuition fees to students, making them cheaper to attend. However, financial aid provided to students in public universities is less than private universities but can offer work-study positions to a large number of students.

On the other hand, private universities are not funded by the government. They rely on students’ tuition payments and fundings from private individuals or organizations to cover their operating expenses. Private universities are more expensive to attend than public universities but offer more lucrative options for financial aid than public universities, such as scholarships.

University Rankings

It is also essential to consider the university rankings when jotting all critical points for selecting a university for you. And yes, both private and public universities are well-represented in the world university rankings.

According to the QS World University Rankings 2022,

  • 5 out of the top 10 universities are public universities, such as UCL, Imperial College London, ETH Zurich, University of Cambridge, and University of Oxford.
  • The other 5 spots are equally dominated by private universities, such as the University of Chicago, Harvard University, California Institute of Technology, Stanford University, and MIT.

Moreover, you do not have to fret over finding the best affordable student housing near these universities. Whether you want to stay at  University of London accommodation or University of Edinburgh accommodation, they are safe, secure with friendly neighborhoods.

Degree Programs

Public universities offer a massive and diverse range of degree courses and programs for students to choose from. In contrast, private universities can be specialized institutes or smaller institutions that provide a limited or lesser range in degree courses than their public counterparts. Students who are sure of what course they want to pursue can choose either type of university. On the other hand, students who are still exploring their passion can consider joining a public university.


Public universities are generally bigger than private ones: the campus size, population, student body, and class sizes are comparatively bigger than private universities. However, the campus environment of the public university is less intimate due to the large number of students attending a single class.

If you flourish on a big campus with diverse people, then public university is the best choice for you. Whereas if you prefer the idea of an intimate environment and small population then studying in a private university is the most suitable option for you. Furthermore, private institutions are generally well-equipped to meet students’ needs and have various amenities like gyms, restaurants, movie theatres, and other entertainment options.


Well, there is no correct answer to which type of university would be better for you as everything, in the end, boils down to personal preferences and specific needs. And the points we have stated above can help you analyze the pros and cons of both private and public universities.

Furthermore, you can take guidance from your friends staying abroad in student housing in Austin, TX, student housing in Dallas, etc. and ask them about their experience and opinions on which type of university can provide you with better exposure and environment. Even if they don’t know themselves, they probably have someone in their circle who can advise you on it. Lastly, do your extensive research and make a wise decision after carefully considering all the relevant points. Good luck!

Do you need help in choosing suitable student accommodation?

amber is a premier student housing provider that offers rewarding experiences and pocket-friendly options for booking a home worldwide. We are upgraded with the latest COVID-19 policies and would happily assist you in finding the perfect abode for you! You can follow us on our Facebook and Instagram handles for daily updates.

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