The Pros and Cons of Attending a Private University
Indeed, a lot of people across the world complain about the cost of attending a private university, nevertheless, enrolment at private tertiary institutions has continuously increased. Hence, in this article, we would look at the pros and cons of studying in a private university.
What is a private university?
A private university is an independent university whose funding comes from tuition, investments, and private donors, not from taxpayers.
Differences: private university vs. public university
Some prejudices revolve around the status of private universities: For example, that a private university is elitist or that students do not have to provide any real performance there. But is it only the offspring from rich parents who gather there? What exactly distinguishes the public from private universities?
The admission requirements can differ slightly from public universities; however, the reality is that most of the criteria for entering a private university is like what is obtainable in a public university.
Probably the most obvious difference: at public universities, studying is free in some countries and in other countries with relatively cheaper fees, that mainly consists of the semester ticket for local public transport and administration fees. A private university, on the other hand, is mainly financed by tuition fees. Depending on your degree, you will have to pay between €550 and €2,000 euros per semester in Europe and ₦500, 000 – ₦1,000,000 Naira in Nigeria. Those who do not have the funds can still afford it thanks to various financing options. Student loans, institutional grants, and numerous scholarship programs are some of the means of financing in private schools.
The high tuition fees have a positive effect on the equipment of the learning environment. The seminar and lecture rooms at private universities are usually equipped with state-of-the-art equipment. Personal contact with the lecturer is close, and sponsors often provide the latest equipment. The service, the buildings, and the computer pools are also often of a higher standard than in public educational institutions. And digitization is not a foreign word: people who are hungry for education have been able to study online there, even before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Lecturers at public universities are often overburdened with courses with several hundred students. Some do not have the time to respond to their students. If there are any questions or uncertainties, the students must rely on themselves or on fellow students. The office hours are also overcrowded – waiting times of several weeks are the norm. At private universities, on the other hand, the lecturers’ lower students per course. This ensures a more pleasant atmosphere, personal contact, and better support.
From a formal point of view, the degrees of both types of the university are of equal value – provided you are studying at a state-recognized university. Interested parties should be careful here, not every private university is officially recognized. It would be annoying to carelessly undertake an expensive study and, in the end, just hold a certificate in your hands. After all, some of the unrecognized institutions work with public universities.
The prospect of a job after graduation is often higher for graduates from private universities. The reason being that closer contact with the business, the internships, and the recommendations pave the way even during the studies. How an employer evaluates one or the other qualification ultimately depends on their attitude towards it. Both graduates have no guarantee of a job.
Private university: pros and cons
Here are the advantages and disadvantages:
Most up-to-date courses
The job market is very dynamic, regardless of the area. So, you must be aware that you need to take a degree that follows these trends, right? In this sense, the best choice is the private university, which updates the curricula of courses more frequently. It is not that public institutions offer outdated content, what happens is that there is more bureaucracy for changes and adjustments in the curriculum of their undergraduate courses.
Use of technology and innovation
Finally, it’s nice to know that private universities and private colleges invest heavily in technology and innovation. Private universities do not depend on government transfers to function, which facilitates investments in structure, furniture, and equipment for students, always focusing on comfort and the best learning conditions. The facilities are usually more modern and undergo constant adjustments. Laboratories with good equipment, up-to-date computers, and availability of classroom support equipment, such as projectors, optimize the learning process. Security is another differential, as private institutions have more freedom to hire qualified labour for this type of service, in addition to ensuring a well-lit structure with adequate equipment so that students feel safe on the faculty’s premises.
Course progress without interruptions
It is not news to anyone that strikes are common in public universities, affecting the normal schedule of classes. In private educational institutions, however, you do not encounter this problem, with the guarantee that you will finish the course at the right time to start your career as soon as possible. In public universities, strikes affect the academic calendar and result in delays in student education. In many cases, to replace the classes requested during the period, students need to attend college during the holidays, also interfering with the important moments of leisure and rest with the family. In private universities, the risk of strikes is practically non-existent, mainly because negotiations do not depend on the government. In addition, in case of specific problems that result in a lack of professors, the faculty can send qualified substitutes to ensure that students do not miss classes. In this way, the student is guaranteed that he/she will be able to graduate at the right time, at least depending on the conditions offered by the institution. Obviously, student dedication and performance also have a direct impact on this result.
Private universities offer most of their distance learning courses virtually. In addition to having all the flexibility to study through a virtual learning environment, students also acquire digital skills. This way, the student has the autonomy to follow the classes.
Focus on insertion into the labour market
It is important to point out that the focus of private institutions is entry into the labour market, whereas, in public universities, the direction is greater for scientific research and extension activities. The curriculum of private universities is constantly updated to keep up with the trends in the labour market and changes in the areas of activity, mainly because the focus of these institutions is to prepare students for professional practice. In these faculties, the faculty generally has a professional performance in the area, which makes the professors have direct contact with the market and bring trends into the course, passing on the ideas to the coordination. Thus, those responsible can make the necessary updates to adapt the curriculum.
High tuition fees – or high debts after graduation
As a result of the high tuition, some students tend to incur huge debts that extend beyond their time in the institution, thus, placing a financial burden on them as they start their careers.
Recognized degrees only from private universities with state accreditation
It has been established that some private institutions are not duly accredited by the regulatory body in charge of university education. This leads to a waste of time and money for the students who enrolled in such an institution.
Heavily regulated studies, hardly any thinking outside the box
Due to the need to meet up with a scheduled time for the session and the job market, students at private universities are bombarded with wok thus making them ‘box-thinkers.’