Public Schools vs Private Schools | What's The Difference? — Layman's Terms Skip to content
Public Schools vs. Private Schools

Public Schools vs Private Schools

The main difference between private and public schools is how they are funded and governed. This article primarily focuses on colleges & universities, however the same principles apply to high school & middle school.

Private schools are typically independently funded and operated and do not receive government funding. They rely on tuition fees, donations, and endowments to operate. They also have more control over their curriculum, hiring, and admissions process. Additionally, they do not have to follow the same regulations and laws that public schools must follow and can set their own academic standards.

On the other hand, public schools are funded by taxpayers and are governed by state and local governments. They are required to follow state academic standards and regulations and must accept most students who live within their designated attendance area. Public schools tend to be larger than private schools, offering a wider range of extracurricular activities and sports programs.

Public schools have more diversity in their student body and more resources and facilities to serve more students. Private schools usually have smaller class sizes, and teachers provide more individualized attention to their students. Some private schools can also offer specialized programs and curricula not available in public schools.

Education Quality

It's worth noting that the difference in education quality between private and public schools can vary widely, depending on the specific school and the available resources. Several studies have shown that private schools tend to perform better on standardized tests than public schools. However, public schools may offer more resources and support services for students from low-income families. Ultimately, the quality of a school depends on its individual teachers and administrators, so it is important to research any school you are considering. Not all private schools are better than public schools, and vice versa.

Examples of private colleges in the US:

  1. Harvard University
  2. Stanford University
  3. Princeton University
  4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  5. Yale University
  6. Duke University
  7. University of Chicago
  8. California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
  9. Columbia University
  10. Brown University

Examples of public colleges in the US:
  1. University of California - Los Angeles (UCLA)
  2. University of Michigan
  3. University of Virginia
  4. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  5. University of California - Berkeley
  6. University of Wisconsin-Madison
  7. University of Texas at Austin
  8. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  9. University of Maryland
  10. University of California - San Diego (UCSD)
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