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2019 Hawai‘i College Guide

(Sponsored) Your guide to navigating the admissions process, financial aid applications, preparing for college, avoiding the Freshman 15, building a network and more. Plus, get an insider perspective on studying abroad.


(page 10 of 17)

Types of Colleges

There are nearly 5,000 post-secondary schools in the U.S., according to the National Center for Education Statistics. But that doesn’t mean they all fall into the same category. Let’s take a look at what the differences are.

By Kathryn Drury Wagner



Nonprofits can receive funding from multiple sources, such as donors and local government. Nonprofits tend to have a wider variety of programs available.



Private college

  • Funding comes from student tuition and endowments, as well as some aid from the government in forms of student loans and tax breaks.

  • Leadership of the institution is a board of trustees.

  • Since they are relying on private support, these schools can develop their own institutional plans.

  • They have higher average costs than public nonprofit schools, but also often offer financial aid opportunities.



For profit college

  • The majority of funding comes from state or local taxes. Other funding is made up from tuition and endowments.

  • They have performance standards to meet that are set by the state.

  • They are mostly state-run and have lower tuition for in-state residents. New York, by the way, just became the first state to offer free tuition for residents. Families and people making up to $125,000 per year will qualify to attend college tuition-free at all CUNY and SUNY two- and four-year colleges, starting in fall 2017. The program will phase in over three years.


For Profit/Trade Schools 

They offer education as a service, often in specific disciplines, and are owned by a private corporation.


  • The bulk of their funding—up to 90 percent—is via federal student aid.

  • They often have flexible programs, designed for people working or taking care of a family, and have programs designed to help students finish their degrees quickly.

  • For-profit schools tend to have very specific programs on offer, so can be a good option if you know what you want to study.


What’s a Land-Grant College?

Created by the Morrill Act of 1862 signed by Abraham Lincoln, land-grant colleges were an important step in the development of America’s public colleges and universities, and gave the middle class access to higher education. The Morrill Act gave public lands to states and territories that they were to sell in order to fund new schools specializing in “agriculture and the mechanic arts” (A&M schools). A second Morrill Act in 1890 extended appropriations, and added funding for predominantly African American colleges and Native American colleges. Eventually, 106 land-grant schools were established, most of them public. A few notable examples include Cornell, the University of Delaware and MIT. Know any land-grant schools in Hawai‘i? Why, yes, you do: the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.


Good News on Tuition Costs

According to Josh Mitchell of The Wall Street Journal, tuition is growing at the slowest pace it has in decades. In an interview with NPR in 2017, he noted that, over the past year, it had been growing at about 1.9 percent, or roughly in line with inflation. Between 1990 and 2017, the trend had been far more accelerated: a galloping 6 percent on average, per year.


Is This School Accredited?

Whether or not a school is accredited—that is, meets certain standards—becomes especially important if a student transfers and needs to move credits. There are six accreditation organizations, each of which handles different regions of the country. For example, Hawai‘i and California are accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, while a school in Pennsylvania would be accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The U.S. Department of Education provides a database of accredited post-secondary institutions and programs; visit ope.ed.gov/accreditation.


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