Do Small Colleges Always Cost More?

Students sometimes think that the cost of small colleges is much higher than the cost of attending a larger college. One reason why some think this way is because they confuse size with funding. When you look at smaller colleges, you’ll often find that many of those smaller schools are private colleges. Colleges that get funding from the state are generally larger and cost less. There are several factors you should consider before you look at some of the benefits of these smaller campuses.

Private vs. Public

Private schools almost always cost more than state schools do. A state or public school is one that gets funding from the government. Those campuses include major schools like Ohio State University and Michigan State University. The University of Pennsylvania, Harvard University and Princeton are a few examples of private schools. Private schools have higher tuition rates because those schools need funding. Those colleges often accept donations from alumni, hold fundraising campaigns and increase tuition rates by a small amount each year to remain open.

Four vs. Two Years

The tuition that a school charges may relate to the type of programs it offers as well. A community college, also known as a junior college, usually offers programs that culminate in an associate’s degree. These schools are public and accept students of all ages and backgrounds. You might enroll after dropping out of high school, taking time away from school to raise your kids or after working for a decade or longer. These schools are often much more affordable. Not only can you earn your degree, but you can also transfer your credits to a traditional university later. Spending just two years at a community college may save you $10,000 or more.

In State or Out

The cost of small colleges also depends on where you lived before you enrolled. Most schools require that you show proof of residency to take advantage of in-state tuition costs. Those who come from outside of the state will pay much more. According to Mike Patton of Forbes, the cost of attending a public university for four years is around $39,000. Those who lived in a different state and attend that same school will pay closer to $98,000. If you decide to attend a private university that is a little on the smaller side and move to a different state, you might pay more than $130,000.

Benefits of Small Schools

After looking at the cost of small colleges, you might wonder why anyone would choose a small private college over a larger public or state school. One big benefit of attending these schools is that you have the chance to form better relationships with both your professors and other students in your program. The low ratio of students to teachers can help you better understand the information presented to you and get help with any problems you might have. Many of these schools also require that professors teach more of their classes and rely less on teaching assistants.

Resource: 50 Best Deals on Competitive Small Colleges

Smaller colleges do not necessarily cost more than larger colleges. If the small school that interests you is privately funded, you’ll find that your overall tuition rises. Though the cost of small colleges that are private is higher than public schools, many students prefer the benefits that those schools have.