The Higher Education System in the United States is quite diverse. All 50 states have colleges and universities, which serve both local and international students from all over the world.
To make the matter more complicated, it’s also highly decentralized. Each state governs over the universities and colleges within the state’s territory. For a simplified understanding of the types of American higher education institutions, let’s divide them into public or state universities, private universities, and community colleges .
Public or State Universities
Public universities receive the majority of their funds from the state government. They are often vibrant campuses, with long-standing traditions, which are highly supported and shared not only with their students, but also with the local community.
Public universities, also called state universities, offer a vast number of degrees and majors. They are among the most popular and affordable options to obtain a Bachelor’s, Master’s, Ph.D., and even a English Language certification.
Some institutions offer only Bachelor’s degrees, while others include Masters and Ph.Ds. Besides their own state of the art buildings, most of these institutions offer on-campus housing, restaurants, libraries, bookstores, gyms, healthcare offices, and more.
State universities come in all shapes and sizes. They may be located in major cities, mid-sized towns, and even rural areas. Some belong to university systems and have multiple campuses in different towns around the state.
Many international students choose these types of institutions due to their high education quality and affordability. They also have great student support services, which include immigration, English as a Second Language courses, cultural integration, amongst others.
Unlike its public counterparts, private universities receive the majority of their funds from individuals and private organizations through donations and tuition fees. Therefore, they enjoy greater flexibility when spending their funds in exploring uncommon and groundbreaking academic programs.
Some of the best, and more selective universities, in the United States are private institutions, such as Harvard, Stanford, and Yale. These schools are often characterized by higher academic standards.
Private universities, as you can imagine, have higher tuition costs and competitive admission policies. Their campuses and class sizes are usually smaller, with excellent faculty, and great facilities.
Many international students choose to attend Private institutions for graduate and postgraduate programs. However, they are still an ideal option for any student who wants to receive high quality education at any level.
Community colleges are two-year institutions that grant associate degrees, as well as non-degree certificates. They can be either public or private institutions that serve as a pathway for students who usually wish to transfer to a 4-year university later. Community colleges and universities have strong academic relations, which helps this transfer.
They can also provide education opportunities that serve the work force of the state by offering technical degrees, as well as specialized courses in specific fields for professionals.
Community Colleges are gaining popularity amongst international students as they offer high quality education, affordable ESL courses, flexible admission standards, and provide a friendly transition to the United States’ 4 year institutions.
The United States offers a great variety of institutions for you to consider. Different types of institutions may fit different people, but each category has great options for international students.
Regardless of your choice, you will be studying in an institution that offers high quality education, and an adequate learning environment for international students.