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Public Versus Private Schools: Understanding the Difference

Public Colleges and Universities receive part of their income from federal, state and local dollars. This helps to keep tuition down for instate students. In order to be considered an in-state student and eligible for the lower tuition price, you must be able to establish that your primary residence is in the state in which you are going to school.


If you live in Connecticut and your parents are in New Jersey and supporting you, you are a New Jersey resident. One exception to the rule is the New York State and city system which allows any graduate of a New York high school to attend as an instate resident. Be sure to check the regulations in your state. Be sure if you are applying as an instate student you ARE a state resident.

Generally speaking, state universities will have the simpler application process. Many do not require teacher recommendations or SAT subject tests. Private colleges and universities generally have the highest tuition and room and board fees. However, frequently the financial aid packages that these schools offer will rival or beat the costs of in state tuition. Many of the most elite private colleges will require 2-3 SAT subject tests, more than one essay and teacher recommendations.


This information has been written by consultant Jan Raymond for use by City Year.


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