Many colleges and universities seem to have similar features, but the way they are structured or managed can reveal a lot about their academic programs and social environment. When you start researching individual colleges, you should know which general category that school falls under: Non-Profit (private or public) or For-Profit.
Public colleges and universities receive funding from tuition and endowments, but the larger part of their funding comes from state or local taxes. Most public postsecondary schools are state-run, which lowers the tuition for in-state students.
Private, non-profit colleges and universities receive funding primarily from student tuition and endowments. These institutions function as non-profit organizations that usually follow the leadership of a board of trustees. Private colleges and universities may receive some governmental support in the form of tax breaks and student loans, but operating mostly on private support allows them to develop their own institutional plan.
For-profit colleges are run by companies that operate under the demands of investors and stockholders. These institutions are privately run and exist, at least in part, to earn money for their owners. Nevertheless, for-profit colleges can receive up to 90 percent of their revenue from federal student aid.
Read more: College Categories