Public College and Private College in Canada: What is the difference?
Despite these struggles, millions of students across the country are getting ready to apply to college, and many are likely wondering how private and public colleges differ. Each school type has its own traits and qualities that may better suit your learning style and desired college experience. What’s the difference between private and public colleges? And which type of school is right for you? Keep reading to find out.
Canada is famous for its high-quality educational system. Hundreds of thousands of international students study in Canadian institutions every year. Many of these students start their education at the post-secondary level. They complete their high school or secondary diploma in their home country and then they continue their post-secondary training in Canada in a university or a college.
What is a Public College?
Canada is divided into ten provinces and three territories, namely British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Yukon, and Nunavut. The Canadian provinces financially support some of the colleges in their province. These publicly-funded colleges are called public colleges. They may receive funds from the federal government of Canada or other sources as well. Due to the funds they receive, the community colleges may easily reduce their tuition fees.
What is a Private College?
Private colleges do not receive funds from the federal or provincial governments. They rely on tuition fees to run their business. Most provinces use rigorous procedures to accredit these colleges. Private colleges are usually smaller than community colleges and more expensive for local students. Private colleges in the province of Ontario are called Private Career Colleges (PCC) as they are focused on skills development for specific career opportunities.
Pros and Cons of Studying in Public College vs. Private Colleges
The following list compares community and private colleges from different angles for international students.
- Tuition Fee: Since public schools are largely funded by state and federal governments so local students don’t have to pay the full price. However, when it comes to international students the tuition fee is not much different between them. In some cases, you may even find a private college that is cheaper than a public college since private colleges have more scholarship, some of are them up to 50%.
- Class sizes: The number of students in private colleges is usually a lot less than in community colleges. Of course, exceptions apply.
- Financial Aid: Both public and private colleges provide federal financial aid to students. Private institutions, however, often have more money available to award grants and scholarships due to their large endowment funds. In addition, they frequently offer more sizable tuition discounts than public schools.
- Length of education: Many private colleges strive to offer similar programs to community colleges in shorter periods of time without compromising the quality of education. This approach saves you time and also could compensate for higher tuition fees to some extent. The shorter education time means you spend a lot less on food, accommodation, and transportation. You also achieve your educational goal faster.
- Admission: The only source of income for private colleges is their students. They are always thirsty for new students and consequently more flexible towards giving them admission.
- Designation by the Immigration Authorities: All public colleges are designated by the immigration authorities. As an international student, you may only register to Designated Learning Institutions (DLI) to be able to secure a Study Permit. Some private colleges may not be designated. To make sure if a college is designated by the immigration authorities or not visit the IRCC website. For local students, the designation by IRCC does not matter.
- Working while studying in Canada: If you hold a valid study permit you may work up to 20 hours per week while studying in Canada. You may even work full-time during normal breaks such as winter and spring breaks. This opportunity is available to both community and private colleges.
- Educational credential assessment (ECA): As an international student you might want to eventually immigrate to Canada and become a Permanent Resident of Canada. Some methods of immigration (e.g. the Express Entry) expect you evaluate your educational credentials through an approved organization, also known as ECA. If you complete your education in Canada you do not need to go through the ECA process. This feature is the same for both private and community colleges.
- Post-graduate Work Permit: If you are an international student and graduate from a community college you may apply for a special work permit (PGWP) to stay in Canada and work after graduation. This option is rarely available to private colleges. Visit the IRCC website to make sure your prospect college qualifies for a PGWP after completion of your studies.
Private or Public College: Which Is Right for You?
Although your education should be your top priority, your social and campus preferences should also align with your chosen school. Public and private schools can differ sharply in terms of the environment, extracurricular activities, and overall campus experience they offer.
Keep in mind that these generalizations don’t apply to all colleges equally. When you’re searching for universities to apply to, it’s important to research specific schools and assess each institution’s unique attributes.
One of the most important factors to consider when choosing between a private and public college is the learning environment.
Students who are independent learners typically fare better at public colleges. While professors still hold office hours and are willing to provide extra help outside class, students are entirely responsible for reaching out and seeking assistance.
Private colleges, on the other hand, are better suited for students who may need a little extra direction and supervision. The smaller campus and class size allow academic advisors and professors to form close relationships with their students, which, in turn, results in more direct guidance and assistance for students throughout their college careers.
About Canada Admission Hub
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Our parent company CVH Immigration Ltd. Admission Hub is helping and supporting International Students around the world to Study, Work, and Immigrate to Canada. We are proud to partner with over +150 Canadian Institutions.
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