Not All Private Colleges Are Expensive. Here’s Why

December 11, 2020

The price tag of a college is a big factor when deciding where you’re going to apply. Because of this, many students miss out on great opportunities because they assume 4-year schools like private colleges, faith-based colleges, and other non-federally funded universities are out of their reach.


Crown College is here to set the record straight and help you find the college of your dreams.


If you’re determined to pursue your degree and your relationship with God at a private Christian college — you still can! Make sure you understand what benefits private colleges offer, and how to tell which ones are the most affordable so you can make the best choice for you.


What is a private college?

A private college or university is an independent institution that operates on its own internal governing policies and goals. They are privately funded, mainly through donations and tuition fees. 


Private colleges vs. public colleges

The main difference between private and public colleges is that public colleges get funding from the government (along with donations and tuition), and private colleges do not. But that’s just one difference! Several other underlying factors contribute to the pros and cons of attending each type.


Take a look at the general differences between most private and public colleges and keep in mind that every college is unique and may not fit exactly into this mold. 


For example, at Crown College in Minnesota, we offer a growing, up-and-coming campus and a wide selection of classes and majors to rival any public college’s offerings.

Public vs Private Colleges


Federal funding: Yes No
Out-of-state tuition: Higher tuition No change
Average room & board cost: ~ $11,500 ~ $13,000
On-campus population: Medium-large Small-medium
Average class sizes: 25-200 students 8-25 students
Average completion rates: Average 4-6 years Average 4 years
Degree options: Large selection Medium selection
Merit-based scholarships offered:        Usually Usually


Types of private colleges 

Review our list of common private colleges and their benefits to make sure you’re considering all options — and not missing out on the perfect fit!

Some private colleges may be a mix of these categories:

  • Liberal arts: offers a broad base of courses in literature, history, languages, mathematics and life sciences
  • Arts: focuses mainly on art-based degrees with options you may not find elsewhere 
  • Faith-based: includes faith-based degrees and an experience where students can grow their relationship with God
  • Single-sex college: a university that only admits one gender of students with the goal to create a comfortable, focused environment for students to learn in
  • For-profit: a school that operates as a business with the goal of turning a profit
  • Non-profit: a school that invests tuition directly into school improvements like curriculum, classrooms, dorms and other areas to improve education quality


Why do private colleges seem more expensive?

Many private colleges seem more expensive because they have a higher sticker price (the price you see when everything is totaled).

However, once you take a look at their actual net tuition price (the total tuition price minus grants, need-based aid, and merit-based scholarships) the cost to attend is much lower.


Why private colleges are more affordable than you think

Private colleges (especially non-profits) have more flexibility with their funds because they do not have as many regulations about how and where they spend their funds. This means private colleges have a better opportunity to invest in their students.


In fact, private colleges are actually more likely to offer additional aid to those with financial need than public colleges. During the 2013-14 school year, public schools offered an average of $2,000 in grants per undergraduate, but private colleges awarded an average of $12,400.


How can you tell if a private college is affordable?

As an accredited private Christian college in MN, we’ve listed a few easy-to-spot indicators of how you can tell which private colleges are expensive, and which ones may provide you with huge cost-saving benefits.


  • Look for merit-based scholarships: Some private colleges offer financial aid based on grades, test scores and achievements, regardless of financial need.
  • Calculate your real cost of attending college: Don’t rush to judgment on a price tag, even if it’s not too bad! Check out the net price calculator to see if it may be one of the most affordable options on your list.
  • Find other grants offered that are not based on financial need: Many private colleges offer additional scholarships and aid based on other criteria, like faith, athletics, heritage, and many more. 

Take a look at all of the scholarships and grants we offer at Crown College for our students each and every year!


Benefits of an affordable private college

Every college benefits its students in one way or another, but many private colleges offer their students features they won’t find at every public college. One of these benefits our students mention is their ability to create impactful relationships with the staff, faculty, and other students. 

The lower student-faculty ratio and guidance from these mentorships have been shown to improve student experiences during their time at school and through their post-college career. 

Some of the other benefits of attending a private college are:
  • Increased FAFSA spend per student
  • Lower class sizes on average
  • Increased personalized instruction & one-on-one support
  • Increase merit-based scholarship offerings
  • Faster college completion rates on average
  • Small-to-medium on-campus college population


Find a private college within your price range

Though the initial price tag of college may seem high, look for private colleges like Crown College, that invest their funds back into their students. 

As a private, non-profit Christian College, we pride ourselves on providing a well-rounded and affordable cost of attendance so each of our students can pursue their degree and their relationship with God.

If you’re called to serve and want to become prepared to lead without falling deeply into debt — choose a private Christian college that puts its students first.
Take a look at Crown College’s tuition, merit-based scholarships, and other financial aid for on- and off-campus students to get started.