Why Choose a Private College or University in New Jersey?
When choosing a college or university, whether a school is private or public can have a big impact on its academic programs, campus culture, and affordability. Students at private colleges and universities in the Garden State enjoy many benefits not always available at public institutions. These benefits may include smaller class sizes, a close-knit campus community, and more extensive financial aid opportunities.
Prospective students can choose from a large selection of private colleges in New Jersey. The state features 75 two-year and four-year private colleges. In comparison, the state has 39 public schools, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Private schools cost more on average than public schools. However, this does not account for the financial aid and scholarship opportunities available at many private colleges. Although New Jersey does not participate in tuition reciprocity programs, many of its top private schools offer substantial financial aid packages. For instance, Princeton University tops our list of colleges with the best financial aid. The university pays 100% of demonstrated financial need for accepted students depending on their gross family income.
Pros and Cons of Attending a Private College or University in New Jersey
Smaller class sizes offer an engaging classroom experience and more opportunities for one-on-one interactions with professors.
Larger endowments can yield better resources, technology, and facilities for students.
Many private schools are considered more prestigious than public schools, especially in states with small public university systems.
Private colleges are more numerous, offering students greater geographic diversity in their college search.
A smaller catalog of program offerings and expertise areas can limit students’ academic options.
Smaller private institutions generally have limited campus life, with fewer activities and clubs than public colleges.
Tuition and fees are generally much higher at private colleges and universities than at public institutions.
The admissions process can be more rigorous and selective.
Nonprofit vs. For-Profit Colleges and Universities in New Jersey
Private colleges in New Jersey can be either for-profit or nonprofit. New Jersey has 70 private for-profit colleges and 53 private nonprofit schools.
Private companies and businesses operate and own for-profit colleges. Students often pay higher tuition rates at for-profit colleges, which aim to turn a profit off tuition. For-profit schools also have a reputation for offering limited student services. These colleges often provide a subpar education, and their lack of accreditation can inhibit a graduate’s potential when entering the workforce. For-profit colleges often heavily rely on federal funds yet generate a disproportionate share of U.S. student debt.
Nonprofit colleges, which include all public and many private colleges and universities, reinvest all profits into the institution.
Private nonprofit colleges receive most of their funding from tuition, endowments, and personal investments — funding that allows them to give back to their students in the form of scholarships.
How Much Does It Cost to Attend a Private College or University in New Jersey?
In the 2019-2020 school year, students at private four-year colleges in New Jersey paid an average of $38,652 for tuition and fees. Average room and board fees at private institutions in New Jersey were $13,980. In comparison, in-state students paid an average of $14,360 in tuition and fees during the same school year.
When deciding how to pay for college, students attending private colleges and universities in New Jersey should also consider other expenses. These expenses can include meals, transportation, textbooks, and activity, technology, and distance learning fees.
Tuition rates vary considerably among private institutions in New Jersey. But Princeton University charges one of the highest tuition rates in the state, with an annual tuition of $57,690. Some of the other most expensive private colleges in New Jersey include Stevens Institute of Technology and Seton Hall University, which charge $56,424 and $44,420 in tuition, respectively.
Bloomfield College, which charges $30,680 in tuition, ranks among the cheapest private four-year institutions in New Jersey. Students attending private colleges in New Jersey may not find tuition-free colleges, but they can save money by applying for scholarships and grants.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Private Colleges and Universities in New Jersey
How many private colleges and universities are there in New Jersey?
There are 75 private two- and four-year institutions in New Jersey. This includes private nonprofit and private for-profit colleges.
Many private nonprofit colleges have campuses in New Jersey, including Bloomfield College, Caldwell University, and Drew University. Pillar College, Princeton University, and Seton Hall University also have New Jersey campuses.
New Jersey also features several Jewish colleges and seminaries, such as Beth Medrash of Asbury Park, Bais Medrash Mayan Hatorah, and Yeshiva Bais Aharon.
What is the most expensive private college or university in New Jersey?
As of the 2022-2023 school year, Princeton ranks as the most expensive private college or university in New Jersey, with an annual tuition of $57,690. After adding in room, board, and extra expenses, Princeton charges $79,900 a year.
That said, students in the class of 2023 at Princeton receive an average annual grant of $56,500. About 61% of Princeton students receive financial aid. Stevens Institute of Technology ranks as the next most expensive private college in New Jersey, with full-time tuition of $56,424. Following a national pattern in the U.S., schools in New Jersey have become more expensive year after year.
What is the least expensive private college or university in New Jersey?
Tuition rates at private colleges and universities in New Jersey change annually. Some more affordable private schools, such as Centenary College and Bloomfield College, charge between $30,000-$40,000 per year. But these amounts do not include room and board. Some for-profit colleges, such as Strayer University, charge as little as $1,480 per course.
Paying for college requires students to factor in all expenses and financial aid, including extra expenses, scholarships, and grants. What students end up paying after factoring in financial aid could differ dramatically from the rates listed.
Is a private college or university right for me?
Although New Jersey offers a variety of private colleges and universities to choose from, attending a private college or university may not be right for everyone. Private institutions generally charge more in tuition and fees, but qualified students can find scholarships and grants to offset the higher tuition costs.
New Jersey offers a unique college landscape where top-ranked private colleges and universities outnumber public colleges. Students looking for a smaller college atmosphere with individualized classroom attention may prefer a private institution. Many private colleges, especially prestigious colleges and universities in New Jersey, may offer a higher return on a students’ investment.
Can I get more scholarship money at a private college or university?
It depends. Private colleges tend to have larger endowment funds which allow them to offer more scholarships to students. Endowments come from federal funding, corporations, and private individuals and can be used for scholarships, research, or teaching.
Many private colleges, such as Princeton, offer generous financial aid packages. In fact, about 82% of seniors at Princeton graduated without any student loan debt. At Stevens Institute of Technology, which distributes more than $72 million a year, about 94% of students receive financial aid. Students can find private and public scholarships through the financial aid office or local community foundations.