Private university

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Private universities are universities not operated by governments, although many receive tax breaks, public student loans, and grants. Depending on their location, private universities may be subject to government regulation. This is in contrast to public universities and national universities. Most private universities are non-profit organizations.



Egypt has many private universities, including Canadian International College.


There were few private universities in Ghana before the beginning of the new millennium. Ghana has seen a flood of the establishment of private universities and colleges, which is a reflection of the country's stable governance and peaceful atmosphere, and most importantly the pace of economic growth. Most of these universities are not known to be sponsored by foreign corporate organisations and government universities, and the aim is to avoid the Ghana government's excessive payment of bond which is a requirement for all foreign institutions endeavouring to operate business in the country. Almost all the private universities in Ghana have a similar kind of academic discipline, like Business Administration, Human Resource, Accounting, Information Technology, etc., which are offered by universities like Ashesi, Regent, Valley View, Ghana Telecom, and many others. The recent discovery of oil and gas in commercial quantities has influenced the development of oil and gas management courses within the private universities' curriculum.

Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) is still under the public debate to either distinguish it as a public or private tertiary institution, as it receives grants from government and NGOs alike, and the institution is also managed by military personnel and civilians. KAIPTC could have been the only private tertiary institution with specialised focus if there were no governmental management and grants directing to the Centre.

Be-Great Security and Intelligence Academy (BGSIA) is recognised as a private university academy with specialised programs like Security Studies, Intelligence Management, Investigation Studies, Forensic Investigative Psychology, Diplomacy, Crime Prevention, Criminal Justice, and other law enforcement courses. As the name suggests, Methodist, Presbyterian, Pentecost and Islamic universities are all aiding with the sustainability of the Biblical and Quranic teachings.


Libya has number of recognized private education institutions and universities, approved by the Ministry of Higher Education, ranked and qualified to specialize in academic programs in Business Administration, Computer Science, Law, Medicine and Humanitarian. These institutions include:

  • Al Rifaq University for Humanitarian and Applied Science - Tripoli City
  • Ibn Al Haytham Center for Technology Education and Scientific research - Tripoli City
  • Libyan International Medical University - Benghazi City
  • Libyan University for Humanitarian and Applied Science - Tajora City
  • Tripoli Community University - Tripoli
  • Tripoli Institute for Medical Sciences - Tripoli City
  • United Africa University - Zawia City


In Nigeria there are scores of private universities, including:

Recently, specialised private universities are entering into the Nigerian educational scene. An example is the Thompson & Grace Medical University, which is about to take off in Akwa-Ibom State, South-South of Nigeria.

The National Universities Commission of Nigeria has the responsibility to approve private universities and accredit their courses. This ensures a minimum standard in curriculum and teaching. There are currently 60 approved private universities in Nigeria and still counting as there are hundreds of application under processing.Da

South Africa

In South Africa there is a distinction between public universities and what the government calls private higher education institutions. Milpark, Varsity College,[1] Vega School of Branding,[2] Midrand Graduate Institute and Regenesys Business School are all recognized as private higher education institutions.



A number of private universities were established in Bangladesh after the Private University Act, 1992 was instituted, and amended as the Private University Act 2010. All private universities must be approved by University Grants Commission (UGC) before they are given a permit to operate. See external links for: Private Universities Act 1992.

As of 2014, there were 80 private universities in Bangladesh.

Brunei Darussalam

Private institutions must confer the students with external programmes such as BDTVEC (the largest awarding body in the country), BTEC and Cambridge International Examinations pathways. Accreditation by Brunei Darussalam National Accreditation Council (BDNAC) is very crucial in order to establish a private institution.


Since 1997, private universities have been established in the Kingdom of Cambodia.


Since 2003, joint-partnership private universities have been established in the People's Republic of China (PRC). English is the only language of instruction in all three institutions.

Hong Kong


In India, privately funded institutions have existed since the country's independence. Many of these universities offer multidisciplinary professional courses similar to state funded universities; however, institutions offering single stream specialization programs are also in existence.

As of 31 December 2015, there are 227 private universities in India.[3] The oldest is Sikkim Manipal University of Health Medical & Technological Science, with a gazette notification date of 11 October 1995.[3]

Prestigious schools include Swami Vivekanand Subharti University in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh; Amity University; and Lovely Professional University.

New private universities in India include (Alakh Prkash Goyal) Shimla University situated in Shimla (H.P.), Xavier's International University (supervised under Goa University) and some part of North Eastern region of India are University of Science and Technology Meghalaya, Assam Don Bosco University, North East Frontier Technical University, Aalo, West Siang, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam Down Town University, Himalayan University, Kaziranga University who have got recognition and are duly authorized by University Grants Commission as per section of 2 f of UGC act 1956.[4]


  • Muhammadiyah University of Magelang - a private university belonging to Muhammadiyah organisation; known as UMMGL, standing for Universitas Muhammadiyah Magelang; founded on August 31, 1964
  • Islamic University of Indonesia - a private university located in Yogyakarta, Indonesia; established in 27 Rajab 1364 (Islamic Calendar) or in 8 July 1945 as STI (Sekolah Tinggi Islam - Islamic Higher School) by political figures of the day including Dr. Muhammad Hatta, Mohammad Natsir, Mohammad Roem, Wachid Hasyim as well as Abdul Kahar Mudzakir. STI developed into Universitas Islam Indonesia on 14 December 1947. Historically, UII is the first national university in Indonesia, and is also the oldest private university in the country.




As of 2010 Japan had 597 private universities, while there are 86 national universities and 95 public universities.[5] Private universities thus account for about 3/4 of all universities in Japan. Many, but not all, junior colleges in Japan are private. Like public and national universities, many private universities use National Center Test for University Admissions as an entrance exam.

The most famous colleges are:

Kantō region
Another five colleges, called "MARCH"
Kansai region


There are four private universities and five colleges in Kuwait:

  • American College of the Middle East (ACM)
  • American University of Kuwait (AUK)
  • American University of the Middle East (AUM)
  • Arab Open University (AOU)
  • Australian College of Kuwait (ACK)
  • Box Hill College Kuwait - higher education for women
  • College of Aviation Technology
  • Gulf University for Science and Technology (GUST)
  • Kuwait-Maastricht Business School


There are 19 private universities in Lebanon.[6] Among these, the American University of Beirut and the Lebanese American University are internationally acknowledged.[7]

The languages of teaching in private universities are mainly French and English, while Arabic is widely used in religious universities and Armenian is used in the Armenian university.

The first university opened in Lebanon was the Syrian Protestant College in 1866 (which became the American University of Beirut in 1921). It was founded by Daniel Bliss, a Protestant missionary. The second university opened in Lebanon was the Université Saint-Joseph, founded by the Jesuits in 1875.



The private universities of Malaysia include:


Kathmandu University: When established in November 1991 as a non-profit, autonomous, public university,[8] by an Act,[9] Kathmandu University became the first privately managed public institution of higher learning in Nepal.


The Higher Education Commission (HEC), formerly the University Grant Commission, is the primary regulator of higher education in Pakistan. It also facilitates the development of the higher educational system in Pakistan. Its main purpose is to upgrade the to be world-class centres of education, research and development. It also plays a leading role towards building a knowledge-based economy in Pakistan by giving out hundreds of doctoral scholarships for education abroad every year.

In spite of the criticism of the HEC, its creation has also had a positive impact on higher education in Pakistan. Its two-year report for 2004 to 2006 states that according to the Institute of Scientific Information, the total number of publications appearing in the 8,000 leading journals indexed in the web of science arising out of Pakistan in 2005 was 1,259 articles, representing a 41% increase over the past two years and a 60% increase since the establishment of HEC in 2002. The HEC digital library now provides access to over 20,000 leading research journals, covering about 75% of the world's peer-reviewed scientific journals.

Until 1991, there were only two recognized private universities in Pakistan: Aga Khan University, established in 1983; and Lahore University of Management Sciences, established in 1985. By 1997, however, there were 10 private universities. In 2001-2002, this number had doubled to 20. Among the first to gain degree awarding status was Hajvery University, Lahore (HU), established in 1990. In 2003-2004 Pakistan had a total of 83 private degree granting institutions.

The HEC website also points to a 40% increase in enrollment in universities in Pakistan over the last two years, which it attributes to efforts on its part to encourage higher education in the country.

See external links for Higher Education Commission.

Saudi Arabia

There are nine private universities in Saudi Arabia:


Stansfield College, founded in 1993, is a long-standing private higher education institution and a trusted provider of the University of London International Programmes in Singapore. Through its collaboration with the University of London, Stansfield offers undergraduate degrees and diplomas in a range of academic disciplines which include Law, the Humanities, and the EMFSS suite of programmes with specialisations in Accounting, Business & Management, Banking & Finance, Economics, Mathematics & Economics and the Social Sciences.[12] The college has also expanded its range of programmes to include several university foundation awards including certificate and diploma programmes that allow students to progress academically at Stansfield or to gain admissions into overseas universities. The college also provides postgraduate diplomas and executive development courses and seminars.[12]

The college enrolls over 500, with students from over 30 countries studying at its campus.[12]

SIM University (UniSIM) is the first and only full-fledged private university in Singapore. It was established in 2005 with the approval of Singapore's Ministry of Education (MOE) to award recognised Singapore degrees. Singapore citizens and permanent residents studying for their first degree in UniSIM are eligible for up to 55% fee subsidy from the Singapore Government. There are four degree-awarding schools in UniSIM: the School of Arts & Social Sciences, the School of Business, the School of Human Development & Social Services, and the School of Science & Technology. As of early 2012, student enrollment stood at approximately 12,000.

South Korea

Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka there are many private universities, and several independent institutions that are non-government funded. These mostly provide undergraduate degrees, with a limited few proving postgraduate degrees. The Informatics Institute of Sri Lanka (IIT),[13] Horizon Campus[14] and Sri Lanka Institute for Information Technology (SLIIT)[15] are examples. Some foreign universities franchise parts of their degree courses in Sri Lanka with local institutes. Students are charged for the study (some of these universities are state funded institutions of their home countries) and these charges are often a fraction of the cost studying in the home countries of these institutions.

Efforts to establish private universities have been blocked due to protests from state universities' undergraduates and leftist political parties.



In Taiwan (ROC), unlike the United States, private universities are typically not as prestigious as some public (national) universities. They are not as highly ranked as public institutions, and also cost nearly twice as much. This is due to the form of testing in schools in Taiwan, in which students take a national entrance exam to determine their university qualifications. The famous private university is Fu Jen Catholic University, and the earliest is Tunghai University.



Since the 1990s a lot of private universities have opened in Vietnam. Hochiminh City Open University was one of the first. Typical characteristics of Vietnamese private universities as of 2010 are higher (very high in some cases) tuition fees, poor infrastructure, and limited faculty and human resources.

Private universities are often named after scholars (Fulbright University William Fulbright, Vo Truong Toan University, Nguyen Trai University, Luong The Vinh University, Chu Van An University, Yersin University, Phan Chau Trinh University), or heroes/legends (Hung Vuong University, Quang Trung University), although there are exceptions, such as FPT University, named after the FPT Group and Tan Tao University, in Tan Tao Group.

In Vietnam, there exists the "semi-private university"; schools in this category can receive partial financial support from the government. Almost all private universities have to invite professors and lecturers from the state universities. Many lecturers from state-owned universities take up positions in private universities after their retirement.



In Austria, educational institutions must be authorised by the country to legally grant academic degrees. All state-run universities are governed by the 2002 Austrian Universities' and University Degree Programmes' Organisation Act (Federal Law Gazette No. 120/2002). In 1999, a federal law (Universitäts-Akkreditierungsgesetz) was passed to allow the accreditation of private universities. The Akkreditierungsrat (Accreditation Council)[16] evaluates applicants and issues recommendations to the responsible Austrian accreditation authority (the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science & Research).

Accreditation by the council yields a couple of privileges: degrees issued by accredited private universities have the same legal status as those issued by state-run universities. Private universities can appoint or promote professors. Their students enjoy the same privileges pertaining to social security, foreigner law and state scholarships as students of the state universities. Educational services of private universities are not subject to value added tax, and donations are tax deductible.

Accreditations must be renewed regularly and can be withdrawn, e.g. in the case of repeated academic misconduct as happened in 2003 when the accreditation of International University Vienna was withdrawn. In 2006, when the accreditation of IMADEC University expired, the Accreditation Council rejected requests for renewal.

Austrian law provides that private universities in Austria must use the term Privatuniversität (literally, "private university") in their German names, although their formal names in other languages are not regulated. Thus, there is the possibility of private institutions employing the term "university" as opposed to "private university" in their advertisements in all languages except German while still complying with Austrian law.

While the legal definition of "private university" prohibits funding by the federal government of Austria, funding by other public bodies is not prohibited. Consequently, some of Austria's private universities are partly or wholly funded by provincial governments, while others are fully privately funded.

Accreditation of private universities began in 2001. As of 2010 Austria has 12 private universities. Most are small (fewer than 1000 students) and specialise in only one or two fields of study:

Four former private universities are not accredited any more:


Bulgaria has a number of private universities, among which the most renowned are New Bulgarian University, located in the capital city Sofia; Burgas Free University; Varna Free University; and American University in Bulgaria.


Finland does not officially recognise private universities, but does not explicitly forbid them either. Helsinki School of Business is an example of one such educational institution operating in this market.


France has a dual system with universities and grandes ecoles.

Universities are usually public, such as Université Paris La Sorbonne and Université Paris-Dauphine, but some are private, such as the Lille Catholic University. They provide courses in all academic fields (engineering, law, medical, economics, arts, business administration, sociology). One may join university after a high school degree and study there for a bachelor's, master's or doctoral program (3, 5, 8 years).

Grandes ecoles can be public or private. They operate mainly in engineering studies and business administration. Universities and grandes ecoles compete in these two fields. The most prestigious grandes ecoles are public. Some of them report to the Ministry of Higher Education, such as Arts et Métiers ParisTech and Ecole Centrale Paris, and others to the Ministry of Defense, such as Ecole Polytechnique. However, several private grandes ecoles are members of the Conférence des Grandes Écoles, such as ICAM or ISEN. One may join a grande ecole after two additional specific years in high school (called classes préparatoires), following the high school degree. A selective examination after the two additional years is taken to enter a grande ecole. Within European Union standardisation, this full 5 year cursus (two year preparatory classes plus 3 years in engineering or business school) is equivalent to a master's degree for international exchange programs.

Grandes ecoles for studying business administration are usually part of the Chamber of Commerce. HEC and ESCP Europe are part of the Chamber of Commerce of Paris (CCIP), and are therefore semi-private.


Germany has 83 private universities (called Privathochschule) and 45 church-run universities (called kirchliche Hochschule). Similar to the state-run universities, they are subdivided into Universitäten, Fachhochschulen (universities of applied science) and Kunst- und Musikhochschulen (art schools). Private universities in Germany need institutional accreditation by the state.

The first private university in Germany, the Ukrainian Free University, was established 16 September 1950 in Munich. Witten/Herdecke University opened in 1982. Though private universities are numerous in Germany, they represent only less than 1% of all students. Some private universities, including Hanseatic University Rostock (2007–2009) and the International University in Germany in Bruchsal, have gone out of business.

Most of the church universities are run by the Protestant or Catholic churches; however, there is one Jewish university (Hochschule für Jüdische Studien) in Heidelberg.


In Greece private universities are prohibited by the constitution (Article 16). However, laboratories of liberal studies (Εργαστήρια ελευθέρων σπουδών, ergastiria eleftheron spoudon) operate freely in the country, and, based on a law from the 1930s they are registered as private for-profit businesses and regulated by the Greek Ministry of Commerce. Their academic degrees, which are not recognised in Greece, are directly provided to students by foreign universities in the United Kingdom, United States of America, or other countries, usually through franchise or validation agreements (the franchise agreement usually being considered better). This has limited access to the laboratories, which usually teach in English, to high-income Greeks who for various reasons (usually family matters) did not want to go abroad.

In 2008 a law was introduced that forced all private institutions collaborating with foreign universities to offer programmes in the country, to register with the Greek Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs as colleges (κολλέγια, kollegia) by August 2009. Further amendments to the framework in 2010, 2012 and 2013 (4111/2013, 4093/2012) were introduced. Today there are a series of private colleges mostly offering programmes in Business Administration and other fields.



In the Republic of Ireland, a private university (more commonly known as a private college) is one that is not funded by the state, and therefore not covered by the free-fees initiative. All universities, institutes of technology, colleges of education, and the National College of Ireland and some religious institutions are publicly funded and therefore covered by free-fees initiative. There are few private colleges, and they are highly specialised, such as Griffith College Dublin, Dorset College and Dublin Business School. The major representative body for private colleges in Ireland is the Higher Education Colleges Association. Private colleges in Ireland can seek to have their programmes validated/accredited by the Higher Education and Training Awards Council.

See external links for: free-fees initiative and Higher Education Colleges Association.


Nyenrode is the only private university in the Netherlands at the graduate level. The university was founded in 1946. It serves as a graduate school for business and management. Both programs are taught in English.[citation needed] Recently, Nyenrode merged with the Institute for CPA Education and both institutions share their facilities. The Nyenrode Business University also contains a campus and active student body.

Other Dutch private universities are universities of applied science (HBOs) where one can obtain a bachelor's degree. These include Business School Notenboom (founded in 1958)[18] and IVA Driebergen for the automotive industry with its earliest beginnings in 1930.[19]


There are 321 accredited private universities in Poland.[20] They award bachelor's degrees, master's degrees and doctorate degrees.


The oldest non-state-run university, the Universidade Católica Portuguesa - UCP (Catholic University of Portugal), a catholic private university (concordatory status), with branches in the cities of Lisbon, Porto, Braga, Viseu, and Caldas da Rainha, was founded before the others, in 1967, and officially recognized in 1971. UCP offers some well-recognized degrees and is reputed for the economics, law and business management degrees it awards at its Lisbon branch. Other degrees awarded by UCP, like biotechnology and dental medicine, amassed increasing success and popularity since the 2000s.

After the Carnation Revolution of 1974, in the 1980s and 1990s, a boom of educational private institutions was experienced in Portugal, and many private universities started to open. Most had a poor reputation and were known for making it easy for students to enter and also to get high grades. In 2007, several of those private universities, or their heirs, were investigated and faced compulsory closing (for example, the infamous Independente University and Internacional University closings, and the Moderna University scandal) or official criticism with recommendations that the state-managed investigation proposed for improving their quality and avoid termination.

In the mid-2000s, within the Bologna process, a reorganization of higher education was started which included more stringent regulations for private education and expanded state policies with regard to private education quality assurance and educational accreditation. In general, the private higher education institutions were often considered the schools of last resort for underachieving applicants who didn't score enough points in the admission examinations to enter the main public institutions.

Nearly open-admission policies have hurt private universities' reputation and the actual quality of their alumni. Without large endowments like those received, for example, by many US private universities and colleges which are attractive to the best scholars, researchers and students, the private higher education institutions of Portugal, with a few exceptions, do not have neither the financial support nor the academic profile to reach the highest teaching and research standards of the top Portuguese public universities. In addition, most private universities have faced a restrictive lack of collaboration with the major enterprises which, however, have developed fruitful relationships with many public higher education institutions. Most Portuguese private universities specialise in a limited number of fields, most often in the social sciences and humanities.


Further to the public Universities in Switzerland, the country is well known for its high-quality private education system. For a more complete listing, please consult:


In Turkey there are now 66 private universities. Bilkent University, founded in 1984, was the first.

In Turkey, according to the laws of private universities, on the recommendation of the Higher Education Council is established by law. The establishment of such universities, established a new university building or in the form of a higher education institution will be the name of the university. Foundations for the establishment of the university, the university faculty, the formation of at least two of the bodies of the faculties of arts and science education programs related to the fields to be present, the university of arts and science programs to be among the first to be launched training programs and eligible to attend the university's commitment to the education of students in these programs start year necessary.

The well known private universities in Turkey are:

United Kingdom

There are five fully-fledged private universities in the United Kingdom, the University of Buckingham, BPP University, Regent's University London, the University of Law and Arden University.[21][22][23] Of the five only Buckingham and Regent's are non-profit. Other private degree awarding bodies in the UK include Ashridge Business School and ifs University College, which are privately funded charitable bodies. In addition the private Richmond, The American International University in London has its degrees validated by the public Open University; it is also a non-profit university and awards American degrees accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

All other British universities are partly publicly funded and regulated: the government regulates their tuition fees, student funding and student loans and commissions and regulates research assessments and teaching reviews. However, unlike in Continental European countries, the British government does not own universities' assets, and university staff are not civil servants: government regulation arises as a condition of accepting funding from bodies such as HEFCE and any university can in principle choose to leave the HEFCE regulated system at any time.[24] Since September 2012 government funding for teaching and background funding for research has been substantially reduced, with one study indicating that annual government funding for teaching and research will make up just 15% of universities’ income by 2015.[25]

In the UK, an institution can only use the title "University" or "University College" if it has been granted by the Privy Council, under the terms of the Further and Higher Education Act 1992.[26] Prior to 1992, these titles were conferred by Royal Charter or Act of Parliament




Chile has 31 completely private universities and an additional 14 universities which are run by private organizations (mostly religious) but receive some state funding.[27]



In Guatemala, the only public university is Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala. The rest of the degree offering institutions in the country are private. See list of universities in Guatemala for a list of the private universities in the country.


United States

In the US, many universities and colleges are private, mostly operating as educational and research nonprofit organizations, while there are also for-profit universities. About 20% of American college students attend private colleges.[28]

While most liberal arts colleges are likewise private, there are also some public liberal arts colleges. Some private universities are closely affiliated with religious organizations (for example, the University of Notre Dame, Southern Methodist University, and Duke University), some are directly operated by religious organizations (such as Brigham Young University) and some are non-affiliated religious organizations (such as Oral Roberts University).

Legally, private universities may not discriminate, but generally have a somewhat free hand in setting admissions policies. Universities base their selections on many secondary factors other than academic performance.[29] Since the post WW2-era, following in the mold of James Bryant Conant at Harvard, most private universities have made enormous strides in becoming meritocratic.

The US system of education has also been transplanted to other countries. Private universities such as the American University in Cairo and the American University of Afghanistan typically offer a liberal arts curriculum to their students.

Tuition fees at private universities tend to be higher than at public universities, though many private universities offer financial aid as well.[30] For example, at Princeton University 60% of the Class of 2013 received financial aid, with an average grant amount of $36,000. The average grant now exceeds Princeton’s $35,340 annual tuition.[31]



Bond University, Australia's first private university, dates from 1987.[32] It runs three semesters per year (correlating exactly with the Northern and Southern Hemispheres' schedules), which allows a student to complete a six semester degree in two years, and an eight semester degree (e.g. Law) in under three years.[33]

Since Bond University's foundation, the University of Notre Dame Australia opened as a private university, in 1989.

Melbourne University, a public university, owned a private university called Melbourne University Private from 1998 to 2005. The private university was not successful, losing A$20,000,000 over its lifetime.

Torrens University Australia, part of the Laureate International Universities network, opened as Australia's third private university in 2012.

Carnegie Mellon University operates a private branch campus in Australia called Heinz College Australia.


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External links