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Comparing public vs private colleges

College admissions expert Sean Logan discusses the differences between public and private colleges. Public colleges are state-run and generally larger, while private colleges are privately-owned and can vary in size. Private colleges often have smaller class sizes, while public colleges may have larger, lecture-style classes. Public colleges tend to be more affordable, but private colleges can offer substantial financial aid, making them competitive in terms of cost for low-income students.

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Video transcript

- [Voiceover] We're here with Sean Logan, Director of College Counseling at Phillips Academy. Sean, can you tell us a little bit more about the difference between public and private schools? - [Sean] Sure. Private schools tend to be privately-owned, public schools are generally state-run. The number of students in general, they vary quite a bit, but most public institutions tend to be larger, whereas private schools can be large schools as well, but also might be much smaller institutions as well. And that's what correlates a little bit to class size, so at private institutions, one of the strengths of them tend to be that they keep their class sizes smaller, not all, but a lot will have, say, a class size of 18 students in a class, whereas public institutions may have larger class sizes, more lecture-style classes than discussion-style classes. With those institutions, though, one of the real strengths of public schools is that they tend to be more affordable. Their overall price tag is less, but with private schools, a lot of them are pretty well-funded, and so if you are a low-income student looking at this, and you see a price tag of $60,000 for an education, one of the things you want to make sure you look at closely though, is what kind of financial aid do they they have, because there are lots of private schools that do a very good job of financial aid and may cost the same amount as a public school. I've actually been in several situations over my career where the private school was much less expensive than a public school. So there are different factors to look at as you compare both schools. - [Voiceover] Great. Thank you so much, Sean.