Colleges and Universities in the USA

►Buy the Expat Guide to the USA in PDF format



 

Colleges and universities in the USA
The US has over 4,000 degree-granting institutions, which translates into an amazing wealth of opportunity for expats moving to the country with children approaching college age. Though the sheer magnitude of options can seem daunting, a bit of research and background knowledge can make it easier to narrow down the school selection process and focus on specific applications.
 
Note that Americans tend to use the words "college", "university" and even "school" quite interchangeably; therefore the term used in normal conversation may not necessarily denote a difference in size, quality or category.
 
There are three kinds of institutions that new arrivals in the US ought to consider

Community colleges grants graduates an associate’s degree (AA/AS) after two years of study, often at significantly lower cost than at four-year institutions. Many of the courses offered by community colleges are vocational – auto mechanics, secretarial training, medical technology, paralegal education, etc. But they will also offer many courses that will allow students to transfer to four-year institutions after two years. These represent the lowest rung of tertiary education in the United States.

Colleges are institutions that grant bachelor degrees (BA/BS) and in a few instances also master's degrees (MA/MS). They tend to be smaller in size, and they vary quite dramatically in selectivity and in quality. Some of them are state institutions, though the majority are privately owned and run. There are some colleges run by specific religious groups, and also a few women’s colleges.
 
Universities also award bachelor degrees but in addition, they grant master's and doctoral degrees as well (PhD). Universities tend to be larger – some state schools may have tens of thousands of students – they often have very good research facilities.

The universities and colleges in the US tend to be well financed and often have a number of scholarships or financial aid available to supplement tuition. Though expat children do not usually qualify as easily as formal American citizens, there are still opportunities available that are worth researching. Additionally, expats should check with government and private organisations in their country of origin to see if a child can take advantage of any available financing.

Search Expat Arrivals

Our the USA Expert

andrea's picture
Johannesburg, South Africa. Palo Alto, California
After attending high school in Johannesburg, I did both undergraduate and postgraduate studies at Wits. I left South Africa... more

Got a question about your new country?

X
Login with your Facebook account (Recommended)
, after login or registration your account will be connected.