Fact or Fiction?

We know the stereotypes. Private college is elitist. It’s out of touch and behind the times; a playground for the rich. It’s not what you know. It’s who you know.

What you think you know is typically wrong. Let’s deconstruct the myths about private colleges and universities in Michigan.

Independent colleges and universities are often as affordable as public institutions.

Sticker shock is common, but an examination of actual prices proves the independents are on par with many public universities. Students at private institutions receive far more financial aid, on average. At most of our schools, more than 93 percent receive aid. That brings the costs of a world-class college experience within reach – a priceless education that is affordable.

Small classes, tight communities forge powerful futures.

At Michigan independents, classes are taught by professors. They get to know students and have a commitment to their future. That’s because the average class size at independents is just 17.5 students. Compare that to the massive lecture halls of the big public universities. We choose community over crowds.

Another benefit of a smaller independent school: Actual professors. Not the TAs (teaching assistants) – graduate students who often lead classes at public institutions.

The proof is in graduation rates. On average, the percentage of students who graduate from independents in four years is nearly double that of public institutions. The extra year gives graduates of independents a head start on their careers and saves them tens of thousands of dollars in tuition and earnings.

That’s because students at public schools increasingly need five years to graduate. So while they are paying for another year of tuition, their peers at independents have already graduated and are earning money — and experience — in their careers.

Quality education that prepares students for the real world.

An independent education doesn’t just open your mind. It opens doors to a universe of careers, from engineering and business to education and nursing and many more.

Hundreds of majors are available at Michigan independents. Students forge their own paths, but do so with the support from faculty and alumni.

Our schools produce leaders. Graduates have access to a vast, loyal network of alumni connected and committed to helping each other and placing graduates in careers.

Private colleges look like the real world.

Diversity is prized. Students come from all backgrounds, nationalities and experiences. That makes for a richer community. And it’s one that, demographically, mirrors the state of Michigan.

On average, more than 1 in 4 students at Michigan private colleges and universities is African-American, American Indian, Asian, Hispanic or Latino.

The best way to break a stereotype and debunk a myth about independent colleges and universities is to visit a campus and see for yourself. Don’t believe everything you hear. Follow your own path.