As a private university, Florida Tech understands why making the decision between private versus public education can be difficult. A private education typically costs more but is that really the case when you compare the opportunities, resources and class sizes to those at a public university? Some factors to consider when considering the value of a college education and assessing the differences between schools include:
- Small class size and personal attention. At a private university, size of the student population is much smaller than a large scale public school. This equates to individual class sizes being smaller than most. In this type of setting, students receive much more one-on-one attention from the professor and do not exist as just a number. The opportunity for students to hide in the back of a lecture hall filled with hundreds of students isn’t available and it’s not an option to skip classes as attendance is something that is noted regularly. When a student is struggling with the course material they have their professor readily available for support and help. Professors exist more as dedicated mentors at a private institution and students tend to be more dedicated as well because of the selectivity that exists when applying for a private college. The end result is a better understanding of the course material as well as better grades for the majority of the students enrolled.
- Stronger programs because of resources available. Private universities in the United States are run as non-profit organizations. While they sometimes are required to follow government regulations, they do not receive federal funding. Resources come in the form of public subsidies, tax breaks and grants. This allows for resources to be used more liberally where needed for investing in individual departments, resulting in stronger programs. Students at a private university can get a breakdown of tuition costs, helping them to understand better where there money is going rather than blindly paying fees that they don’t know the details of or don’t apply to them. For-profit universities are run more as a business entity and often neglect programs that need the most attention and funding. The value of a college education is important and shouldn’t be downplayed by a university trying to make money.
- Better financial aid. While the upfront cost of a private university can be higher than public, this often means there is more money available to give to students for financial aid if they qualify based on a FAFSA application process. Money also comes in as donations from alumni as well as local businesses but public universities often have more restrictions placed on the use of the money. This doesn’t always allow for money to be allocated for additional aid to students especially with the state of the current economy. Once enrolled, there are a number of scholarship opportunities available for undergraduates who choose to apply.
- Undergraduate research opportunities. Student populations are usually smaller at a private college, smaller class sizes provide for better research opportunities for undergraduates. Staff members have the ability to pick out unique students who excel in their curriculum and provide them with individualized projects when these students might go unnoticed in a larger setting. The competitiveness that this inspires among students helps them strive to excel and teach them independence and drive. Private colleges also allow more flexibility within majors to help students study topics and material that interests them but may not currently be part of the required curriculum for their degree. The private businesses and companies that participate in the funding and support of schools often provide students with research opportunities on their behalf.
- Return on investment. While the upfront cost of a private education can be high, students receive more individualized attention from not only their professors but also from advisors and career counselors that are readily available to them throughout the school year. This can help provide better direction for students that lead them in the right direction for securing a job and beginning their career out in the field. The value of a college education at a private university comes down to the job opportunities that may arise from prestigious alumni members that are loyal to their alma mater. When unemployment rates are high, the invaluable connections students make at a private university can make a world of difference once they graduate and are sent off into the world.
A private university can be a great value because of the individualized attention students receive. The resources private institutions allow for better aid to students, better degree programs and more opportunities. College is an important investment to make for the future and the choice should come down to much more than the price tag. The value of a college education has now become a necessity for obtaining a well-paying, secure job and a private university is a great option to choose for the best preparation for the future possible. While student loans often exist after a degree has been completed, a better job in the long run can not only benefit the graduate but also pay off their loans faster.