What is the difference between private and public colleges in Canada?

The debate about private vs public colleges is often researched by students who have graduated from secondary school and are thinking about where to continue their studies. Choosing between attending a public or private college can be confusing, making it difficult to determine which institution is best for you to attend. Therefore, it is recommended that students invest some time in thinking about what they want from their college before continuing on their academic journey. This blog can help you decide which type of college to opt for depending on your interests.

Private college

Private colleges do not receive funding from the federal or their provincial governments and rely solely on tuition fees to operate. Courses offered by private colleges are generally smaller in number in terms of pupils and the variety of courses offered.

Public college

By contrast, public colleges (or community colleges) are primarily funded by a national or state government and the public. There are a larger range of courses on offer at public colleges though they are known to have larger class sizes. However, the cost of attending such an institution is subsidized by the government.

Key difference between private and public colleges

  • Tuitionfees – When looking at the cost of tuition fees for private colleges, there is not much difference between the cost for international students and domestic students. However, in some circumstances, private colleges can be cheaper than public colleges. In several private institutions, scholarships and grants are provided to students, particularly those who are academically exceptional. These students are usually offered financial support to cover the cost of tuition, boarding and study materials.

For domestic students, the tuition in public colleges is usually cheaper than in private colleges. Government scholarships at a national or state level make it easier for students to manage their tuition fees.As public colleges are funded and run by the government, certain colleges prefer to include university operational charges within student funding.

  • Education – Private institutions are also usually well-staffed and provide well-directed and sophisticated methods of teaching. Due to increased interaction between students and their lecturers in private universities, it is more likely that individual students will receive the attention that they require.

However, at public colleges, students may not get the opportunity to have as much focussed teaching time. There also may not be the freedom to change the structure of a syllabus based on what the students want to learn.

  • Class size – Private colleges often attract students from all around the country meaning students are able to interact with a variety of people from different backgrounds. In addition, the number of students in a private college is comparatively less, with fewer students per class.

By contrast, those who attend public colleges will often be from the local area. This is because the cost of attending national colleges can be quite expensive. The class sizes in public colleges tend to be larger in number, which may at times lead to a decrease in one-to-one teaching time.

  • Career opportunities – Private colleges provide students with the opportunity to work up to twenty hours per week while studying. International students studying at a private college may even choose to work full-time during winter and spring breaks. Private colleges also tend to form working relationships with multinational corporations and other big companies to offer placements to students.

Most public colleges allow international students to stay and work after completing their course. Students graduating from a public school are often selected to work for companies in the government sector.

Which is better – private college or public college?

Public colleges are known for their heritage. This is the primary reason for national and international students taking up courses at these institutions. On the other hand, private colleges have good reputations and offer unique courses to their students. They also outpace public colleges when factors such as infrastructure and top facilities are taken into account. Unlike most public colleges, private institutions possess well-equipped labs and modern technology. Good quality infrastructure such as the latest technological innovations urge people to choose private colleges when studying research-based courses.

Choosing a college to undertake an academic degree is considered one of the most important decisions of a student’s life. This is because determining a place of study can impact job prospects and professional growth. Toronto School of Management (TSoM) is an institution that provides students with the skills and qualifications to enable them to meet their academic, social and financial goals. For more helpful information on life and education in Canada, click here.

What are the Advantages of Studying at Private Colleges?

Individualized support services: Private colleges tend to offer more personalized support services to students, such as academic advising and career services, to help students achieve success.

Wide range of academic programs: Private colleges often offer a diverse variety of courses and academic programs, giving students more options to choose from.

Smaller class sizes: Another advantage of studying at private colleges is that they often have smaller class sizes, which means greater instructor engagement with students.

Industry connections: Private institutions often have strong connections to industry leaders and companies relevant to the programs that they offer. This is a perk that can provide students with networking opportunities and access to potential job openings.

Experiential learning: Private colleges often provide more opportunities for hands-on and experiential learning.

What are the Advantages of Studying at Public Colleges?

Studying at public colleges, especially in Canada, offers many advantages to students. One of the main benefits is their affordability compared to private institutions. Public colleges and universities in Canada are known for their high-quality education, with many ranking among the best in the world. That’s why the Canadian labour market has a high regard for international students who have finished their studies at Canadian public colleges.

They are also known for having a diverse range of academic programs for undergraduate and graduate degrees, giving students a variety of options to choose from. Public colleges and universities in Canada often have access to state-of-the-art facilities, libraries, and research centres, which can help students succeed in their academic journey.

Canada is a culturally diverse country, and this is reflected in the student body at public colleges and universities. Students have the opportunity to learn and interact with people from different backgrounds and cultures, which can be a valuable learning experience.

Public colleges and universities in Canada typically have highly qualified and experienced faculty members who are experts in their fields. There are also many extracurricular activities and organizations available, providing students with opportunities to get involved and make connections on campus.


  1.  What is the difference between a private and a public college?
    Government funding is often not provided for private colleges, which are typically for-profit organizations.  While they provide a wide range of programs and have a flexible curriculum, private colleges may have higher tuition fees. Public colleges, on the other hand, are funded by the government and also offer a wider range of programs, often at a lower cost.
  2.  How much does studying at a private college in Canada cost?
    The cost of studying at a private college in Canada can vary significantly depending on the college and the program you are interested in. When choosing a school, it’s important to take into account charges like tuition fees, additional fees, and living expenses. To learn more about the cost of Toronto School of Management programs, you can email us at [email protected].
  3.  Can I get financial aid at a private college?
    It is possible to get financial aid at a private college; it is important to research the financial aid options available at the colleges you are considering when making your decision. Some private institutions offer scholarship opportunities to students, so don’t hesitate to contact your school and inquire about these options. Here at TSoM, you can reach out to us at [email protected] for more information.
  4.  What are the advantages of attending a private college?
    Private colleges mostly have smaller class sizes, more personalized student services, and more courses on offer. They also have greater resources available for extracurricular activities and student support. It is important to consider the specific benefits and drawbacks of each college you are considering and to choose the one that is the best fit for you.
  5.  Which is better, studying at a public or a private college?
    Comparing the benefits of studying at private and public colleges is difficult, as it ultimately depends on the individual student’s needs and priorities. In Canada, both public and private colleges have their own advantages and can both provide quality education. The decision whether to go to a private or public college should be based on your own needs and priorities.

Study in Canada banner

4 Replies to “What is the difference between private and public colleges in Canada?”

  1. […] Is public university better than private in Canada? […]

  2. […] What is the difference between private and public colleges in Canada?Choosing between private and pu… […]

Comments are closed.