Higher Education: Public vs. Private

Higher Education: Public vs. Private

By: José A. Morales


When the last days of classes are around the corner, high school students begin to think about their future. What are they going to do? What universities choose to apply? What to study? Study in a public or private higher education system? Are some of the questions they began to ask themselves and had in mind.

Many of them would choose a short-career, since these are economically speaking bad times and others will choose between a private or public university system depending on what they want to study and their parent’s economical position is, since private systems are slightly more expensive than public one’s.

If a public higher educational system is chosen, probably it would be any University of Puerto Rico (UPR) system or if a private system is chosen instead, it would be either the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico (PUPR), Interamerican university of Puerto Rico (INTER) or Universidad del Sagrado Corazón (USC).

“I choose to study at the INTER because I always like the private system, it had what I was looking for” commented Milly Torres a private system student. In the other hand, Denisse Díaz, added that she prefers the public system, referring to the UPR, because it had a better academic reputation and it’s accessible to low-income students. UPR alumni from Mayagüez campus, Anibal Rubert commented us that he choose the UPR system because of its reputation and accessibility.

All of them are very prestige universities but, deciding which one to apply could be difficult. Every one of them, requests a grade point average (GPA), which is a student index that establish a punctuation a student should have to enter any bachelor’s degree. If the applicant has the minimum GPA required for the bachelor degree of its choice, it could be very possible he or she should get accepted in the system, either public or private, applied for.

Their academic offers vary depending on the system selected to apply, public or private, since some of them are specialized universities. Comparing the UPR public education system with the private system PUPR, UPR offers 247 bachelor’s degrees programs against only bachelor’s degrees in engineering only. Comparing the UPR with the USC and INTER, they three offers bachelor’s degrees, graduated studies programs and professional development studies for the alumni who want to keep in touch with new advances and technologies in their field of study. About the academic comparison between UPR and INTER, Torres commented us that both curricula are the same, practically they offer the same courses and bachelor’s.

“I’ve been working with people graduated from private institutions and the knowledge they have does not compare to the one I have.” “Group works and skills are also better due to the vast knowledge acquire during my studies” Rubert said.

Financial aid is also available in all the systems so future students can apply for it. They all have federal, institutional and governmental funds to help applicants lower their economic charge, cause by the chosen area of interest. Each one of the institutions has specified requirements to be eligible for. “I applied for financial aid and receive the Pell Grant to pay for my studies” commented Díaz. Pell Grant, student loans and study and work were some of the aids I applied for when studying, said Torres.

Torres also commented that despite the INTER being expensive, “With the aids I receive, I could afford paying for my studies”. “ When studying, I received the Pell Grant and the legislative fund” said Rubert.

Many good top of the class students can have honor enrollment no matter their economic status in any of the institutions described.  Others can choose to study ad work inside the university campus helping other students. Also, many parents thinking ahead of their children going to university are putting money in bank accounts to help paying tuition fees, lodging, food, clothing and transportation.

When a student decides going to university is his or her goal, needs to know what are the most important aspects such as how far is from home?, near home or out of town?, inside campus lodging?, a relative home or roommates sharing?, a full or part time program?, the career chosen and it future and the fact that what we choose is what will make us happy.

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