International students choose to study in the United States because of the “enormous opportunities available for students seeking personal and professional growth”.
The US education system features different types of institutions. Universities provide a variety of academic and social environments which have entry requirements, degree programs, and majors in which a student may specialize. US universities not only offer flexibility in choice of courses but more importantly there is the option for students to transfer from one institution to another. It is quite common for students to complete the first two years of a degree program at one institution, usually a community college, and then complete their degree requirement at another institution.
Types of Higher Education Institutions
• Degree granting institutions can be called either Colleges, Universities or Institutes.
• Colleges and Institutes are in no way inferior to Universities.
• As a general rule, colleges tend to be smaller than universities and typically offer only undergraduate degrees.
• Universities, typically offer undergraduate degrees as well as graduate school and master degrees
• The words “school,” “college,” and “university” are used interchangeably in the common language in the US.
• Within each college or university you will find different schools concentrating in specific fields of study. An example of this would be the School of Business at XYZ University/College.
• Each school is responsible for the dynamic degree program curriculum offered by the college or university in that area of study.
Another way of classifying Universities is State Universities, Private Universities, Community colleges, Technical and Vocational Colleges.
• Founded and subsidized by the U.S. state (California, Michigan, Texas, etc.) governments to provide low- cost education to residents of that state
o In-state students, residents of that state, pay lower tuition than students who reside in a different state within the U.S. and students who stay outside the U.S. (international students)
• Tend to be large with enrollments of 20,000 students or more with more lenient admitting requirements
• Tuition costs are generally lower than that of private universities.
• Also called public universities to differentiate from private universities
• International students do not benefit from State Universities because they pay a higher fee than even out of state students.
• Funded through a combination of endowments, tuition fees, research grants, and gifts from their alumni (graduate of the former university/college)
• Tuition tends to be higher than state universities
• Every student, whether in-state or out-of state, pays the same set amount of tuition.
• Usually are religious affiliated and/or single-sex restricted.
• Generally, have fewer than 20,000 students enrolled and may have 2000 or fewer students on campus.
• Provide two-year associate degree programs; Associate of Arts (A.A.) or Associate of Science (A.S)
o Also provide excellent technical and vocational programs
• Community-based institutions with close links to secondary schools, community groups, employers
• Can be public or private institutions which are sometimes called junior colleges or two-year colleges
• Students tend to live close to campus with their families, making it more commuter type school
• Tuition costs are often lower at two-year than at four-year institutions
• Easily transferable programs to continue third year of a bachelor’s degree at a local state university
• Becoming more of an interest for international students
Technical and Vocational Colleges
• Specialize in preparing students for entry into, or promotion within, the world of work
• Offer certificate and other short-term programs that train students in theory behind a specific vocation or technology
• Also teach students how to work with a specific technology
• Usually, programs last two years or less
• Several thousand of these colleges across the U.S., private or public institutions