Why Choose a Public College or University in New Jersey?
There are 32 public colleges and universities in New Jersey, including large well-known institutions like Rutgers University. Big or small public schools and research institutions enroll thousands of undergraduate students each academic year. Some of the best public schools in New Jersey are in Newark and New Brunswick.
Additionally, New Jersey boasts world-renowned private schools, such as Princeton University. Private versus public colleges have key differences to keep in mind. For one, public four-year colleges and universities receive government funding and subsidies.
Private colleges and universities rely on donations, endowments, and student tuition fees to fund academic programs.
The best public schools in New Jersey offer a variety of majors and provide state-of-the-art student facilities. Private colleges typically feature smaller class sizes, so students may get more time with professors.
Ultimately, students must determine how to choose a college by using criteria that suit their budget and learning styles.
Pros and Cons of Attending a Public University in New Jersey
Public colleges and universities in New Jersey provide many varied degree options and often have exceptional research facilities.Students can apply for federal financial aid to get help covering tuition, fees, and other costs.A diverse student body often means more opportunities for minority and nontraditional students.Public four-year colleges usually cost less than private colleges.
Large campuses and class sizes mean professors and other administrators may be less accessible.Students must be self-motivated and possess excellent time management skills.Some students may get lost in the crowd unless they're motivated to join clubs and organizations.Popular classes can be harder to get into because of the number of students.
Nonprofit vs. For-Profit Colleges and Universities in New Jersey
While public colleges and universities are nonprofit, private colleges and universities can be nonprofit or for-profit institutions. Nonprofit colleges and universities are traditional colleges that put profits back into college operations. Conversely, for-profit colleges pay their investors with the money they generate.
For-profit colleges typically cost more, and degrees from these schools can get a bad rap compared to degrees from public four-year colleges. However, for-profit colleges usually charge lower tuition than private nonprofit colleges. For-profit colleges also tend to have higher acceptance rates.
New Jersey has 13 for-profit colleges. Students can check the college's website, call admissions, or use the College Navigator tool to determine a university's nonprofit status.
How Much Does It Cost to Attend a Public University in New Jersey?
Learners should also consider in-state versus out-of-state tuition. The average cost of room and board at public four-year colleges in New Jersey was $14,012 in 2019-2020.
However, tuition varied dramatically for state residents and out-of-state students. The average cost for in-state tuition at public four-year colleges in 2019-2020 was $14,360. Out-of-state students paid an average of $29,435.
In 2021-2022, the most expensive public institution in New Jersey was the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), with an in-state tuition of $18,016. The out-of-state tuition was $34,034. Still, a public college or university costs less, on average, to attend than private colleges and universities in New Jersey.
There are also common misconceptions about how much money students actually pay out of pocket. Some private colleges may offer more grants and scholarships than public institutions, making those private schools more affordable.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Public Colleges and Universities in New Jersey
How many public colleges and universities are there in New Jersey?
There are 32 public institutions in New Jersey. Some of the best public schools in New Jersey are also influential public research institutions. For example, NJIT boasts over 100 programs in several specialized schools that enrolled over 11,600 students in fall 2020. New Jersey also has big and small public schools that focus on business, the arts, technology, and nursing.
What is the most expensive public college or university in New Jersey?
The most expensive public colleges and universities in New Jersey vary depending on whether you're an in-state or out-of-state student. For example, NJIT was the most expensive school, with an in-state tuition of $18,016 in 2021-2022. By contrast, out-of-state students paid nearly double what state residents paid for tuition.
Public four-year colleges offer learners rigorous academic programs, such as nursing, engineering, and information technology. Graduating from world-renowned schools like NJIT may make professionals more competitive job candidates. Tech careers are among the highest paying jobs today, so NJIT's higher tuition may be worth it.
What is the least expensive public college or university in New Jersey?
The least expensive public college or university in New Jersey is Thomas Edison State College in
Trenton. In-state tuition was $7,182 in 2021-2022. By comparison, out-of-state students paid $9,342 in 2021-2022. But other costs like room and board, books and supplies, and technology fees can add up.
The cost of public colleges and universities in New Jersey is only one factor to consider when choosing between colleges. Learners should also weigh academic programs, student services, graduation rates, and financial aid.
What is the biggest public college or university in New Jersey?
Rutgers University-New Brunswick is the biggest public institution in New Jersey. The school had an enrollment of 50,411 in fall 2020. Of the enrolled students, 35,844 were undergraduates, 2,414 were undergraduate transfer students, and 14,567 were graduate-level students. Montclair State University follows Rutgers, with a significantly smaller student body of 21,005 students.
Private schools typically feature smaller student bodies than public institutions in New Jersey. However, New Jersey City University had an enrollment of 7,550 in fall 2020. Students can find big or small public schools that fit their budget and offer a program that suits them.
Is a public college or university right for me?
A public college or university might be right for you if you're self-motivated, enjoy getting involved with extracurricular activities, and value diversity. Although, it could be harder to get into more popular courses at a public college. Private schools tend to have smaller student bodies, making it easier to get into classes.
Graduates from public colleges and universities in New Jersey may have less debt than students at private colleges. State residents pay less expensive tuition than out-of-state learners. Students attending public four-year colleges can also qualify for federal financial aid. However, private colleges offer scholarships that can reduce the cost of college as well.