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Private vs Public European University: Everything You Need to Know

Written by CB Community

When a person thinks about higher education abroad, first of all, he or she is interested in how much it will cost him? And this question is logical since it is known that education in European universities is mainly paid.

First of all, the definition of “private” and “public” universities should be clarified.

A public university is funded by the state and is considered “more reliable”, “proven” and “worthy of respect”.

The private sector receives funding from individuals, organizations, or companies.

But, for some reason, we are used to thinking that a private university is not a real university, and it is very difficult to get a job with a diploma in the future. But is it really so?

Let’s try to answer this question by finding the pros and cons of each of them.

Studying at a Public University

Here are the pros of public education in Europe:

  • Almost free. At public universities in countries such as Germany, Austria, France, and Norway, you only have to pay a semester fee, but you pay nothing for your studies.
  • Prestige. European public universities are usually institutions of higher learning with a long history and tradition. When you enter such an institution, you become a part of that history, as well as a part of its creation. That is, by graduating from such a well-known institution as the University of Vienna or the Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich, you will join the number of lucky people who can be proud of their alma mater.
  • Famous professors. European public universities usually have the best professors in the country with a high academic level of knowledge of their subject. This fact makes the university itself prestigious. This means you will receive knowledge from the most reliable hands or better-said minds.
  • Small bonuses. When you study at a public institution, you will receive appropriate discounts on public transportation, student canteens, and some other benefits that will save you money.
  • Scientific Future. If you see yourself in the future as a scientist or a great theorist, then studying at a public university is the right choice. Here you will get access to the largest libraries in the world. You can work in famous research institutions and develop world science and new theories.

The cons of public education in Europe:

  • There are many students, one teacher. Because of a large number of students and the size of classrooms, the teacher and students are not often able to communicate personally. Usually, the professor simply does not have time to pay attention to all students; so most of the time the student has to engage in self-education. However, this is not a problem. There are safe and reliable essay writing services that are the best way to get great work done.
  • It is a waste of time in the wrong profession. Many ratings and surveys show that graduates of public universities who have completed one specialty often work in a completely different field. This happens for a variety of reasons. Mainly because the person does not have the skills to work in a field of study. Universities did not have internships or because the student studied in a field to which he or she was able to compete.
  • A graduate with no real skills. Strange as it may seem, employers themselves are not happy with University degrees. A student, even after graduating from a prestigious public university, often still does not know how to do anything. So, for example, in Canada, you are more likely to be hired with a regular College degree than with a University degree. Because a College graduate is already ready to start work and does not need to be taught anything again.

Studying at a Private Institution:

Here are the benefits of private education in Europe:

  • It is easier to get in. For applicants who want to study at a private university, the requirement is lenient, since there are not many applicants themselves. However, this does not indicate a low level of institution, since both public and private universities require permission and accreditation. For example, you don’t have to worry that you didn’t pass IELTS. You can pass it when you arrive at the university or even improve your English.
  • There is a great emphasis on applied learning. If in a state university with a centuries-old tradition you are waiting for lectures by famous world professors, then in private universities are usually taught by people who are themselves directors of firms and corporations. Therefore, you will get not just a theory about something, but the specific experience of professionals who know how to do business.
  • Personal approach and close communication. At a private university, students are much more encouraged to be socially active and to work on the campus. Besides, there are about 20-25 students in classrooms, so the educator has the opportunity to meet each one in person and apply an individual approach during their studies.
  • Opportunity to learn in English. If you want to study in a German-speaking country, but have not yet had time to learn German well, you can choose to study at a private University in English. The language requirements, by the way, are not very high.
  • Guaranteed employment. Very often, the directors and professors of private universities are influential businessmen, who thus bring up new qualified employees for their companies. Therefore a capable and active graduate has every chance to work for a colleague teacher after successful completion of training.

The drawbacks of private education in Europe:

  • Paid training. In fact, this can hardly be called a minus, because it is known that what a person pays for, he appreciates more. It is rather an investment that you invest in your future.
  • A limited number of specialties. Most private universities focus on business specialties. So if you plan to study Eastern philology or art history, it is better to choose a public university.


As you can see, there is always a choice, it all depends on your capabilities and desires.

Before you apply to a university in Europe, take these points into consideration.

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CB Community

Passionate members of the College Basics community that include students, essay writers, consultants and beyond. Please note, while community content has passed our editorial guidelines, we do not endorse any product or service contained in these articles which may also include links for which College Basics is compensated.