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College Types

Public colleges vs. Private colleges

Local and state governments fund public colleges and universities and typically offering lower tuition to in-state residents. Out-of-state students can attend public institutions but usually pay higher tuition. Tuition and other sources fund private colleges and universities. Most private institutions have higher tuition than public institutions, although they also typically offer significant discounts for most students.

College vs. University

People consider four-year institutions as a college or university. Both colleges and universities confer the same type of baccalaureate or bachelor’s degree. Universities often offer graduate degrees, in addition to bachelor’s degrees. Some large universities might have divisions within the university called colleges. For example, a university might have a College of Liberal Arts or College of Science.

Religious colleges

Religiously affiliated colleges are connected to religious faith. All religiously affiliated colleges are private institutions. Some incorporate faith in everyday student life, while others do not. Some of the colleges do not require students to share the faith of the college, while others require a statement of faith during the application process.

Single-gender colleges

Single-gender institutions only admit students of one sex. The majority of colleges and universities in the U.S. are coed. However, there are a small number of single-sex institutions in the U.S. The majority of men’s colleges are seminaries preparing men for religious service. The majority of women’s colleges are liberal arts schoo

Specialized and mission-driven colleges

Specialized mission colleges focus on educating specific groups of students. For example, historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) were established to serve the black community and have an African American majority. Additionally, Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs) have at least 25% of their undergraduate student population identifying as Hispanic. Both HBCUs and HSCI offer activities, programs, and services targeted to the students they enroll.

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