Why Choose a Private College or University in North Carolina?
Learners in North Carolina can choose from several high-ranking public and private colleges. When selecting a school, prospective students should consider their learning objectives and financial constraints.
Nonetheless, many students choose private institutions because private four-year colleges have ‘name-brand' prestige and accreditations. North Carolina is home to 36 private colleges accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Private colleges also tend to be smaller and offer more intimate class settings. Many learners embrace the opportunity to form close-knit communities and build relationships with faculty.
However, private colleges and universities tend to be more expensive and may not be financially accessible. Smaller private institutions may not offer the same breadth of majors, minors, and research opportunities as large public universities. Public colleges also tend to offer a more active campus life.
In North Carolina specifically, the Comprehensive Articulation Agreement (CAA) allows students to transfer credits easily within the state's community college and state university systems, a financial-savvy benefit that private schools may not necessarily grant.
Pros and Cons of Attending a Private College or University in North Carolina
'Name brands' attract students looking to earn degrees from reputable institutions.Many private colleges offer more direct access to faculty and, in some cases, student resources, such as tutoring or disability services.Private schools may offer close-knit campus communities and smaller, more intimate class settings.
Although exact costs depend on the institution and students' financial aid packages, private colleges are usually more expensive.Private schools might offer fewer research opportunities and academic majors.It can be more difficult to transfer credits outside a public university system.
Nonprofit vs. For-Profit Universities in North Carolina
Nonprofit colleges generate funding from state and federal governments, donors, and students' tuition. Nonprofit colleges in North Carolina use resources to directly fund school amenities.
For-profit colleges typically generate funding from students' tuition and investors. For-profit institutions function more like businesses and aim to generate money for owners or shareholders.
Since for-profit colleges are designed to make money, they often have higher tuition costs than their non-profit counterparts and may not be accredited. Even so, many for-profit schools attract students by offering support services and flexible learning formats.
While all public universities are nonprofit institutions, private institutions can be nonprofit or for-profit. Determining whether a college is nonprofit or for-profit is usually as simple as checking the school's website.
How Much Does It Cost to Attend a Private College or University in North Carolina?
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average tuition for private four-year colleges in North Carolina was $35,380 in the 2019-20 academic year. Students typically pay for several expenses in addition to tuition, including meal plans, housing costs, and student activity fees. In 2020, private colleges in North Carolina charged an average of $12,630 for room and board.
Although attending private colleges can be a hefty financial commitment, many private schools offer substantial need and merit-based aid. Some students see a private education as a worthwhile investment. Many private schools have close-knit alumni networks and other infrastructures to help students find employment after graduation.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Private Colleges and Universities in North Carolina
How many private universities are there in North Carolina?
North Carolina has 36 accredited private colleges and universities. In any given year, these institutions serve more than 80,000 students.
These colleges include Barton College, Brevard College, Campbell University, Catawba College, Davidson College, Duke University, Elon University, Greensboro College, Highpoint University, and Saint Augustine's University, to name a few.
What is the most expensive private university in North Carolina?
Some of the best private schools in North Carolina can be very costly. Wake Forest University was the state's most expensive private college in the 202-22 school year, with an annual tuition of $58,710. This figure accounts for tuition alone and does not include additional costs, such as room and board. In the same year, Duke University was the state's second most expensive college, charging an annual tuition of $55,880.
What is the least expensive private college or university in North Carolina?
Apex School of Theology is the state's least expensive private college. In the 2020-2021 school year, students at this college paid an annual tuition of $4,800. Residency does not impact tuition — all students, in state and out of state, pay the same price. Additionally, the school does not offer room and board. Students are responsible for securing off-campus housing, which can affect the total cost of attending.
Is a private university right for me?
College students looking for a more personalized learning experience, a close-knit campus community, and abundant student support services can benefit from a private education. However, private colleges are not ideal for all learners.
Although private schools can be costly, they offer high-quality learning experiences for students in specialized majors. Depending on your field of study, this can be a benefit or disadvantage.
Public institutions typically offer a wider variety of programs. In addition, students transferring from community colleges may find it easier to transfer credits to a public university.
There are several factors that students must consider to determine if a private college or university is appropriate for them, including cost and degree programs. Consider your circumstances before choosing a school.
Can I get more scholarship money at a private university?
Although private universities in North Carolina have very high price tags, the National Association of College and University Business Officersreports that as of the 2020-21 academic year, private four-year colleges offered students an average tuition discount of 48%.
However, it can be difficult to generalize schools' policies regarding scholarships and financial aid. Many private colleges and universities in North Carolina have different metrics to determine who qualifies for need and merit-based assistance. Some of the best private schools in North Carolina have large endowments and can afford to grant students with substantial financial aid.