Private university

Private universities and private colleges are institutions of higher education, not operated, owned, or institutionally funded by governments. They may (and often do) receive from governments tax breaks, public student loans, and grants. Depending on their location, private universities may be subject to government regulation. Private universities may be contrasted with public universities and national universities. Many private universities are nonprofit organizations.

Harvard University, a well-known private university in Cambridge, Massachusetts



Egypt currently has 20 public universities (with about two million students) and 23 private universities (60,000 students).

Egypt has many private universities, including The American University in Cairo, the German University in Cairo, the British University in Egypt, the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport, Misr University for Science and Technology, Misr International University, Future University in Egypt and Modern Sciences and Arts University.

In addition to the state-funded, national and private universities in Egypt (List of universities in Egypt), international university institutions were founded in the New Administrative Capital, which are hosting branches of Universities from abroad. Among such university institutions are The Knowledge Hub (TKH) and European Universities in Egypt (EUE).


Traditional higher institution of Ethiopia embraced by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church doctrine. Modern higher education probably traced back during Emperor Haile Selassie regime with the first university University College of Addis Ababa, now called the Addis Ababa University (AAU) formed in 1950. In 1954, the Haramaya University opened.

As of 2022, there are 83 private universities, and 42 public universities, and more than 35 institution of higher learning. There are 16,305 students enrolled in the whole higher education.[1]


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 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 Ghanaian government's excessive payment of bond which is a requirement for all foreign institutions endeavouring to operate businesses 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' curricula.


Libya has number of recognised private education institutions and universities, approved by the Ministry of Higher Education, ranked and qualified to specialise 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


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 many applications being processed.

South Africa

In South Africa there are many distinctions between public universities and what are officially termed private higher education institutions. Recognised private higher education institutions include Akademia (af), Eduvos Varsity College, Vega, Milpark, Midrand Graduate Institute and Regenesys Business School.



A number of private universities were established in Bangladesh after the Private Universities Act, 1992 was instituted, and consolidated and re-enacted as the Private Universities 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 April 2018, there were 97 private universities in Bangladesh.


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.

  • Laksamana College of Business (Brunei Campus of Kensington College of Business)


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

  • IIC University of Technology (IICUT) – Phnom Penh
  • Zaman University (ZAMANU) – Phnom Penh


Since 2003, joint-partnership private universities have been established in the People's Republic of China (PRC). Typically, the partners are a Chinese university and a non-Chinese institution. English is often the only language of instruction at such universities, and many focus on providing a comprehensive liberal arts education modeled after research universities in the United States and Europe.

  • Sanda University – Shanghai
  • Duke Kunshan University (DKU) – Kunshan, Jiangsu
  • SIAS International University (SIAS) – Xinzheng, Henan
  • United International College (UIC) – Zhuhai, Guangdong
  • University of Nottingham Ningbo, China (UNNC) – Ningbo, Zhejiang
  • Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) – Suzhou, Jiangsu
  • University of Xing Hua

Hong Kong

  • Hong Kong Shue Yan University- acquired university status on 19 December 2006
  • Hang Seng University of Hong Kong- acquired university status on 30 October 2018


Universities in India are recognized by the University Grants Commission (UGC), which draws its power from the University Grants Commission Act, 1956.[2] Private universities in India are regulated under the UGC (Establishment and Maintenance of Standards in Private Universities) Regulations, 2003.[3] Per the UGC act and these regulations, private universities are established by an act of state legislative assemblies and listed by the UGC in the Gazette upon receiving the act. As confirmed by ruling of the Supreme Court of India, recognition by the UGC is required for the university to operate.[4] Also per the 2003 regulations, the UGC sends committees to inspect the private universities and publishes their inspection report.

The UGC publishes and regularly updates the lists of private universities.[5] As of 23 August 2022, the UGC list of private universities lists 421 universities.[6]


(Incomplete list)

  • Al Azhar University of Indonesia[7] - a private university located in Jakarta, Indonesia; established in 2000.
  • Bina Nusantara University
  • Darma Persada Daigaku[8]
  • Islamic University of Indonesia – a private university located in Yogyakarta, Indonesia; established on 27 Rajab 1364 Hijri or on 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.
  • Muhammadiyah University of Magelang – a private university belonging to Muhammadiyah organisation; known as UMMGL, standing for Universitas Muhammadiyah Magelang; founded on August 31, 1964
  • Muhammadiyah University of Yogyakarta – a private Islamic university in Yogyakarta known as UMY and established in 1981.
  • Ma Chung University – a private university founded by Peranakan Chinese Indonesians, established in 2007, located in Malang, East Java.
  • Parahyangan Catholic University – a private university located in Bandung which was established on 1955
  • President University
  • Telkom University


  • Khayyam University of Mashhad
  • The Islamic Azad University system
  • University of Science and Culture
  • International University of Chabahar
  • University of Ershad-Damavand


  • Ahlulbait University College – Karbala
  • Al Hadbaa University College – Al Musel
  • Al Maamoon University College – Baghdad
  • Al Maarif University College – Al-Anbar
  • Al Mansour University College – Baghdad
  • Al Rafidain University College – Baghdad
  • Al Rasheed University College – Baghdad
  • Al Turath University College – Baghdad
  • Al Yarmouk University College – Diala
  • Alsalam University College – Baghdad
  • Baghdad College of Economic Sciences University – Baghdad
  • Baghdad College of Pharmacy – Baghdad
  • Basrah University College of Science and Technology – Basrah
  • Business & Management University – Baghdad
  • Dijlah University College – Baghdad
  • Humanitarian Studies University College – Najaf
  • Iraq University College – Basrah
  • Islamic University College – Najaf
  • Konooz University College – Basrah
  • Madenat Alelem University College – Baghdad
  • Shat Al Arab College – Basrah
  • University of Kurdistan Hewler – Erbil
  • Komar University – Slaimani
  • Ishik University – Slaimani
  • The American University of Iraq – Sulaimani
  • The American University of Kurdistan – Duhok
  • Nawroz University – Erbil
  • Cihan University – Erbil
  • Cihan University – Slaimani
  • Knowledge University – Erbil
  • British Royal University – Erbil
  • Catholic University – Erbil
  • Lebanese French University – Erbil
  • Imam Jafar Asadiq university – Baghdad



As of 2010 Japan had 597 private universities, while there are 86 national universities and 95 public universities.[9] Private universities thus account for over 75% 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 institutions are:

Kantō region
Another five colleges, called "MARCH"
Chūbu region
  • Nanzan University
Kansai region


There are one private university in Madaba city:

  • American University of Madaba (AUM).


There are 11 private universities and colleges in Kuwait:

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


There are 19 private universities in Lebanon.[10] Among these, the American University of Beirut and the Lebanese American University are internationally acknowledged.[11]

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.


  • City University of Macau
  • Macau University of Science and Technology
  • University of Saint Joseph


Sunway University in Bandar Sunway

The private universities include:

For complete list of private universities in Malaysia, see the list of private universities in Malaysia.


The private universities include:

  • Info Myanmar University
  • STI Myanmar University
  • Myanmar Imperial University
  • Victoria University College
  • Strategy First University
  • Gusto University
  • Chindwin College
  • IQY Technical College
  • STC Technological University
  • IPEM Technological University
  • Myanmar Commercial Management Institute (MCMI)
  • Mandalay Business School


by an Act,[13] Kathmandu University became the first privately managed public institution of higher learning in Nepal.


See also: List of universities and colleges in Oman

Oman is home to several private universities, including Sohar University, University of Nizwa, Middle East College, and German University of Technology in Oman. These universities offer a range of undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs in fields such as business, engineering, and information technology. Private universities in Oman offer a more personalized and interactive learning experience, as the student-teacher ratio is typically lower and there are more opportunities for hands-on learning. Additionally, private universities in Oman often have more flexible curriculums and are able to respond quickly to changing labor markets and global trends.  

All private universities in Oman must be recognised by the Omani Ministry of Higher Education in order to offer degree programs and receive approval for new degrees. The Ministry has procedures and standards that all universities must meet in order to receive accreditation and be recognised as an institution of higher education.


The Higher Education Commission (HEC), formerly the University Grant Commission (UGC), 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 schools 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.

Saudi Arabia

Al Yamamah University in Riyadh

There are nine private universities in Saudi Arabia:


Stansfield College, founded in 1993, is a private higher education institution and a 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.[16] 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.[16]

The college enrolls over 500, with students from over 30 countries studying at its campus.[16]

Auston Institute of Management is another example of a private 'university' where students who study at the college receive university awards from degree-awarding partners overseas. Auston rose to fame in the early 2000s with a collaboration with Coventry University. This partnership ended in 2012 and was replaced with new partners including London South Bank University, University of Wolverhampton, Birmingham City University, Chichester University and De Montfort University. Auston is known for its hands-on approach and its emphasis in technical areas of study such as electronics, mechatronics, computer security, and various forms of software engineering.[17]

Auston graduates about 400 students per year from as many as eight different countries, all studying in Singapore for UK degree awards.[17]

South Korea

Yeungnam University in Gyeongsan

Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka state recognized private institutes are allowed to award degrees under Section 25A of the Universities Act No. 16 of 1978. The University Grants Commission is responsible for the accreditation of these institutes and degrees. These mostly provide undergraduate degrees, with a limited few proving postgraduate degrees.[18][19] The Informatics Institute of Sri Lanka (IIT),[20] NSBM Green University (NSBM),[21] Horizon Campus[22] and Sri Lanka Institute for Information Technology (SLIIT)[23] 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 institutes 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.

However many private colleges have sprung up one of which is the affiliated campus of Auston Institute of Management, Singapore. The Sri Lanka campus was established in 2010 and is a Board of Investment or (BOI) company. It retains a similar focus to the home campus and occupies a prime spot along Colombo's famous Galle Road.[24]


  • Al-Andalus University
  • Al Rasheed International University
  • Al-Shahba University
  • Al-Wataniya Private University
  • Aljazeera University
  • Arab International University
  • Ebla Private University
  • Hawash Private University
  • International University for Science and Technology
  • Ittihad Private University
  • Mamoun University for Science and Technology
  • Syrian Private University
  • University of Kalamoon
  • Wadi International University
  • Yarmouk Private University


In Taiwan, 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.


  • Asia-Pacific International University – Saraburi
  • Asian University – Chonburi
  • Assumption University – Bangkok
  • Bangkok University – Bangkok
  • Bangkokthonburi University – Bangkok
  • Chaopraya University – Nakhon Sawan
  • Christian University – Nakhon Pathom
  • Chulabhorn Graduate Institute – Bangkok
  • Dhurakij Pundit University – Bangkok
  • Dusit Thani College – Bangkok
  • E-sarn University – Khon Kaen
  • Eastern Asia University – Pathumthani
  • The Far Eastern University – Chiang Mai
  • Hatyai University – Songkhla
  • Huachiew Chalermprakiet University – Bangkok
  • Kasem Bundit University – Bangkok
  • Krirk University – Bangkok
  • Mahanakorn University of Technology – Bangkok
  • North Chiang Mai University – Chiang Mai
  • North Eastern University – Khon Kaen
  • Pathumthani University – Pathumthani
  • Payap University – Chiang Mai
  • Rangsit University – Pathumthani
  • Ratchathani University – Ubon Ratchathani
  • Rattana Bundit University – Bangkok
  • Saint John's University – Bangkok
  • Shinawatra University – Pathumthani
  • Siam University – Bangkok
  • South-East Asia University – Bangkok
  • Sripatum University – Khon Kaen and Bangkok
  • Stamford International University – Phetchaburi
  • Thai-Nichi Institute of Technology – Bangkok
  • Thonburi University – Bangkok
  • University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce – Bangkok
  • Vongchavalitkul University – Nakhon Ratchasima
  • Webster University Thailand – Phetchaburi
  • Yala Islamic University – Yala

United Arab Emirates

  • World Master Academy – Dubai


Since the 1990s a lot of private universities have opened in Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh 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 Vietnam, 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.



There are a number of private universities and independent faculties in Armenia, mostly in Yerevan. As of 2022, there are 31 private higher education institutions in the country, most notably is the American University of Armenia and the Eurasia International University.[25]


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)[26] 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 2020, Austria has 16 private universities. Most are small (fewer than 1000 students) and specialise in only one or two fields of study:

  • Anton Bruckner Private University – Linz
  • Bertha von Suttner Private University – Sankt Pölten
  • Catholic Private University Linz
  • Central European University – Vienna
  • Danube Private University – Krems an der Donau
  • Gustav Mahler Private University for MusicKlagenfurt am Wörthersee
  • Jam Music Lab Private University for Jazz and Popular Music Vienna
  • Karl Landsteiner University of Health Sciences – Krems an der Donau
  • Music and Arts University of the City of Vienna – Vienna
  • Modul University Vienna
  • New Design University St. Pölten
  • Paracelsus Medical University – Salzburg
  • Seeburg Castle University in Seekirchen – near Salzburg
  • Sigmund Freud University Vienna
  • UMIT - Private University for Health Sciences, Medical Informatics and Technology – Hall in Tirol
  • Webster Vienna Private University (also accredited in the US)

Four former private universities are not accredited any more:

  • International University Vienna: Accreditation was withdrawn in 2003 due to academic misconduct.
  • Imadec University: First accreditation period ended in January 2006 and was not renewed.
  • TCM Privatuniversität Li Shi Zhen in Vienna: Accreditation period ended 2009; TCM did not call for renewal. All students could finish their studies.
  • PEF Private University of Management Vienna: The university closed for economic reasons in March 2012. All students could finish their studies.


Belgium makes a distinction between free institutions (as in free from the State), which are recognised and funded by the Communities of Belgium (the State until 1990) and follow the same rules and laws as fully public universities, and fully private institutions, which are not recognised nor funded by the authorities, and thus do not issue valid degrees.

Private (free) institutions are predominantly Catholic, : UCLouvain, KU Leuven or Saint-Louis University, Brussels. On the contrary, the Free University of Brussels (nowadays split into ULB and VUB) was founded by masonic individuals. All started to get recognised by the State from 1891 onwards.

It is forbidden by law to call a fully private institution "university" or "faculty", meaning fully private (non-free) 'universities' have limited visibility.


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.


Université catholique de Lille in Lille has a dual system: universities and grandes écoles.

Since 1880, it is forbidden by law for a private institution to be called "université",[27] and the most of the universities are public.

Some elder private institutions are created in 1875, under the regime of the Free Higher Education Act of 1875. These institutions are called catholic universities or la Catho, since 1880 formally theCatholic Institutes. There are five :

  • Lille Catholic University
  • Lyon Catholic University
  • Paris Catholic University
  • Catholic University of Toulouse
  • West Catholic University.

These institutions 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 licence (bachelor), master's degree, or doctoral program. By law private institutions may grant State's degrees after to contract with public universities.

Grandes écoles can be public or private, but the most prestigious ones are public. These institutions operate mostly in engineering studies and business administration. Universities and grandes écoles compete in these two fields. Some of them report to the Ministry of Higher Education, such as Arts et Métiers ParisTech and École centrale Paris, and a few to the Ministry of Defense, such as École polytechnique. Several private grandes écoles are members of the Conférence des Grandes Écoles, a lobbying group representing grandes écoles. Most grandes écoles can be joined after following two years of classe préparatoire aux grandes écoles, an intensive program following the baccalauréat. A selective examination after the two additional years is taken to enter a grande école. Following the Bologna Process, this full 5 year courses (two years of preparatory classes plus 3 years in engineering or business school) is equivalent to a master's degree.

Grandes écoles for studying business administration are usually part of the chambers of commerce. For example, HEC is part of the Chamber of Commerce of Paris (CCIP), and is 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 (research universities), 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. EBS University of Business and Law opened in 1971. Witten/Herdecke University opened in 1982 and Zeppelin University in 2003. 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 in Greece mostly in Athens and Thessaloniki.



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 Higher Education Colleges Association is a representative body for private colleges in Ireland. Private colleges in Ireland can seek to have their programmes validated/accredited by the Higher Education and Training Awards Council.



Nyenrode Business University in Breukelen

Nyenrode Business University 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. 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 where one can obtain a bachelor's or master's degree but not a PhD. These include Wittenborg University, Business School Notenboom (founded in 1958)[29] and IVA Driebergen for the automotive industry with its earliest beginnings in 1930.[30]


There are 321 accredited private colleges in Poland.[31] They award bachelor's degrees, master's degrees and doctorate degrees.


Catholic University of Portugal, a private university in Lisbon

The oldest non-state-run university, the Universidade Católica Portuguesa – UCP (Catholic University of Portugal), a Catholic private university (concordatory status) was the first to be founded, 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.

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 either the financial support or 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.


There are a number of private universities and independent faculties in Serbia, mostly in Belgrade. They were founded in the 1990s and 2000s.[32]


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, private universities have to be and all belong to and run by foundations (non-profit private legal entities) due to the high Education Law, article 3-c and annexed article 2[33] and these universities have public legal personality according to said law and defined as Foundation University (in Turkish: Vakıf Üniversitesi) in the relevant regulation. Therefore, a university organized in this type is commonly referred as a foundation university instead of a private university in Turkish. Currently, there are 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 six fully private universities in the United Kingdom: the non-profit University of Buckingham, Regent's University London and Richmond, The American International University in London, and the for-profit BPP University, University of Law and Arden University.[34][35][36]

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: status as a public body arises from accepting funding from bodies such as the Office for Students (OfS) in England, and any university can, in principle, choose to leave the publicly funded sector and the associated fee cap (although they would still remain subject to OfS regulation, which applies to all higher education providers in England).[37] Since September 2012 government funding for teaching and background funding for research has been substantially reduced, with one study from that year indicating that annual government funding for teaching and research would make up just 15% of universities’ income by 2015.[38]

In the UK, an institution can only use the title "University" or "University College" if it has been granted by the Privy Council or (in England) by the Office for Students, under the terms of the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 as amended by the Higher Education and Research Act 2017.[39][40]

North America


There are several private universities in Canada that have been granted the power to award degrees authority by a provincial authority. However, the majority of degree-granting institutions in the country are public universities; a result of the Canadian university system's historic reliance on government funds for support.[41] The oldest private universities in Canada operated as seminaries or as religiously affiliated institutions, although several for-profit and not-for-profit private universities were opened in Canada during the late-20th and early 21st century.[41]



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.


Mexico has private and public (government managed) universities. Public universities are free or require a very minimum fee and private universities usually charge for an initial enrollment and monthly fees.

The well known private universities in Mexico are:

United States

University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, one of the oldest private universities in the United States

Apart from the five United States military academies, almost all public higher education institutions are sponsored and overseen by U.S. states, not the Federal government. Private colleges and universities are generally owned by either a nonprofit corporation or a for-profit corporation, and usually participate in higher education accreditation in the United States. In the US, 4,648 out of 6,606 post-secondary institutions (70%) were private as of 2016–17, of which 1,823 (39%) were non-profit and 2,825 (61%) were for-profit. Among degree-granting four-year institutions, 2,095 were private out of 2,832 (74%), of which 1,581 (75%) were non-profit and 514 (25%) were for-profit.[43]

About 20 percent of American college students attend private colleges.[44] Most of the remainder attend state-supported schools. Universities base their selections on academic performance as well as many secondary factors.[45]

Tuition at private universities tends to be higher than at public universities, though many private universities offer financial aid as well.[46] For example, at Washington University in St. Louis, 48% of students receive some form of financial support from either the university or the federal government, averaging $34,990. This is mostly in the form of performance-based scholarships, although 13% of freshmen typically receive need-based aid averaging $8,017.[47]



There are currently three private universities in Australia. Bond University, Australia's first private university, dates from 1987.[48] Situated on the Gold Coast, 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.[49] The University of Notre Dame Australia, a private Catholic university based in Fremantle, was established two years later in 1989, and the newest of the three, Torrens University Australia, opened in Adelaide in 2014.[50]

South America


Even though Argentina has a robust network of free public universities it also has over thirty private universities accredited by the national Ministry of Education. All accredited private higher education institutions must be run by nonprofit organizations. Other for-profit institutions exist but can not give out official degrees or call themselves universities.


Chile has 31 completely private universities and an additional 14 universities which are run by private organizations (mostly religious) but receive some state funding.[51]


Peru has private and public universities.

  • Cayetano Heredia University (non-profit)
  • University of Lima (non-profit)
  • University of the Pacific (non-profit)
  • Peruvian University of Applied Sciences
  • César Vallejo University
  • University of Piura (non-profit)
  • Ricardo Palma University (non-profit)
  • Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola
  • Female University of the Sacred Heart (non-profit)
  • Private University of the North
  • Los Andes University (non-profit)
  • Marcelino Champagnat University (non-profit)
  • Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (non-profit)
  • Catholic University of Santa María (non-profit)


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