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What is the Difference Between... Colleges, Universities, and Institutes?

These terms are almost interchangeable: Colleges tend to be smaller; universities larger. Institutes typically specialize in just a few subject areas.

State Universities

State universities are supported by state governments. They are often large, divided into “schools” or “colleges” (engineering, business, the arts, and others), and are typically less expensive than private universities and colleges.

Community Colleges

Community colleges usually offer two-year programs and degrees, after which students can transfer to a four-year university or college.

Technical Institutes

Technical Institutes offer higher education programs, degrees, and certifications in technical fields such as electronics, web development, computer programming, computer networking, and computer drafting/design.

Art Institutes

Art institutes offer higher education programs that prepare students for careers in creative fields, such as graphic design, interior decorating, fashion design and industrial design and in media and culinary arts.

English Language Institutes and Programs

English as a Second Language (ESL) and Intensive English language programs are ideal for students who want to improve their English language skills before applying for admission to a college, university, or institute.

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