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Private universities are not operated by governments though many receive public subsidies, especially in the form of tax breaks and public student loans and grants. Depending on the region, private universities may be subject to government regulation. Private universities compare to public universities and national universities.


Bond Universitymarker is Australia's first private university, founded in 1987. 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.

Since Bond University's foundation, the University of Notre Dame Australia has also been founded as a private university, in 1989. They remain Australia's only private universities.

Melbourne Universitymarker, 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 life.


In Austriamarker, educational institutions must be authorised by the State to legally grant academic degrees. As of today, all universities in Austria are governed by the 2002 Austrian Universities' & 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, [124912]) evaluates applicants and issues recommendations to the responsible Austrian accreditation authority (the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science & Research).

Accreditations must be renewed regularly and can be withdrawn, e.g. in the case of repeated academic misconduct as happened in 2003 where the accreditation of International University Viennamarker, was withdrawn. In 2006, when the accreditation of IMADEC Universitymarker 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, e.g. in English, 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 Republic of Austria, funding by other public bodies is not prohibited. Consequently, some of Austria's private universities are funded by provincial governments.

Accreditation of private universities started in 2001. Today, there are 12 private universities in Austria. Most of them are small (fewer than 1000 students) and specialise in only one or two fields of study: Three former private universities are not accredited any more:
  • International University Viennamarker: Accreditation was withdrawn in 2003 due to academic misconduct.
  • IMADEC Universitymarker: First accreditation period ended in January 2006 and was not renewed.
  • TCM Privatuniversität Li Shi Zhen in Viennamarker: Accreditation period ended 2009; TCM did not call for renewal. All students could finish their studies.


A number of private universities sprouted in Bangladesh after the Private University Act, 1992 was instituted. The biggest private universities of Bangladesh include North South Universitymarker (NSU), BRAC Universitymarker (BRACU), Shanto Mariam University Of Creative Technology (SMUCT),East West University (EWU), United International University (UIU), American International University-Bangladeshmarker(AIUB) and Ahsanullah University of Science and Technologymarker (AUST). All private universities must be approved by University Grants Commission (UGC) before they get Sanad (permit) to operate.


Several private universities were established in Canada


Since 2003, joint-partnership private universities have been established in the PRC. English is the only language of instruction in all three institutions.


In Greecemarker 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 successful students by foreign universities in the United Kingdommarker, United States of Americamarker, 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 the Nea Demokratia-led government of Greece voted a law that will force all laboratories of liberal studies to register with the Greek Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs as colleges (κολλέγια, kollegia) by August 2009. It is expected that this will help to widen the participation of Greek students in private colleges, thus allowing the expertise and efficiency of the private educational sector to benefit the Greek students and society.


Hong Kong


In Indiamarker, privately funded institutions are in existence since independence, but they were not recognised as private universities. Many private universities (or institutions classified as universities by the University Grants Commission or those that define themselves as university) have come up only recently. Many of these universities offer multidisciplinary professional courses similar to state funded universities, however institutions offering single stream specialization programs are also in existence.

SRM Universitymarker is India's number 1 ranked University conducted by TOI.Birla Institute of Technology and Sciencemarker (BITS), in Pilanimarker, Rajasthanmarker and Birla Institute of Technologymarker, Ranchimarker, Jharkhandmarker are two well respected private universities in India that are considered as being competitive with the Indian Institutes of Technology. Thapar University in Patialamarker, Punjabmarker is a well known private engineering college of north India. Similarly VIT Universitymarker in Vellore (South India) has also been ranked among the top technical universities in India. BITS Pilanimarker has been awarded with the highest 5 star ranking by NAAC.

Manipal University in another famous private university in Manipalmarker, Karnatakamarker. It has over 20 constituent colleges that offer over 180 programs in 14 disciplines. Manipal University is the preferred destination of students from over 55 countries. KIIT University, Bhubaneswarmarker became the youngest institute to get university status in India and entered the Limca Book of Records. It is one of the best private university in eastern India.

Many institutes specializing in management education (like Xavier Labour Relations Institute, and The Indian Institute of Planning and Management) have been around since the 1940s and the 1970s respectively. Some of the noted private universities in western India are the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, and D. Y Patil University, Navi Mumbai and

Dnyaneshwar Vidyapeeth, Pune has been awarding engineering degree and diplomas for 30 years.

Vedanta University, near Bhubaneswarmarker, Orissamarker is India's first large multidisciplinary private university.. The government of Orissa passed a landmark bill to allow the massive university to be set up and function with autonomy in July 2009.

Symbiosis University, a top management and law university of India, is another private university. It started its Engineering faculty in 2008.


In Irelandmarker, 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, as well as the National College of Ireland and some religious institutions are publicly funded and therefore covered by free-fees. There are few private colleges, and they are highly specialised, such as Griffith College Dublinmarker, 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 Private Universities in Iraq


As of 2007, there are 568 private universities, while there are 87 national universities and 89 public universities. 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.


There are 19 private universities in Lebanon. Among theses universities, two are internationally acknowledged, namely, the American University of Beirutmarker and the Lebanese American Universitymarker. The languages of teaching in private universities are mainly French and English, while Arabic is widely used in religious universities and Armenian in the Armenianmarker university. The first university opened in Lebanon was the Syrian Protestant College in 1866 (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.


In the Netherlands there is one private university named Nyenrode. This University has been founded in 1946 and is still active as a Graduate School for Business. You can get your master degree in Management and do an MBA. Both programmes 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 highly active student life.The Dutch HBOs (universities of applied science) count more private institutes like the Nootenboom University for Business and the IVA for the Automotive industry.


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 higher educational system in Pakistan[1]. Its main purpose is to upgrade the List of universities in Pakistan to be world-class centres of education, research and development.

The HEC is also playing 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 HEC, its creation has also had a positive impact on higher education in Pakistan. In their two year report for 2004 to 2006 it is mentioned 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. In addition 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 Universitymarker established in 1983; and Lahore University of Management Sciences established in 1985. By 1997, however, there were 10 private universities and 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 rapid expansion of private higher education is even more remarkable if we look at the number of institutions established on a year-by-year basis. In 1997, for instance, three private institutions were established; in 2001 eleven new private institutions were opened; and in 2002 a total of 29 private sector institutions sprung up.

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.


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 Lisbonmarker, Portomarker, Braga, Viseumarker, and Figueira da Foz, was founded before the others, in 1967, and officially recognized in 1971. UCP offers some well-recognized degrees and is reputed for law and business management degrees it awards at its Lisbon and Porto branches. 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 private universities 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 closing and the Moderna University scandals) 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, the 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.


The famous private university is Fu Jen Catholic Universitymarker, and the earliest is Tunghai Universitymarker.


In Turkey there are 29 private universities. The well known private universities in Turkey are Koc University , Sabanci University , Bilkent Universitymarker.

United Kingdom

The private university/public university split does not fit the United Kingdom university system very well. British universities have institutional autonomy, which is well respected as it has developed over centuries, but in the first half of the 20th century they came to rely on the government for most of their funding. The only two universities which are wholly privately financed are University of Buckinghammarker, and Richmond Universitymarker. Richmond University does not itself have the power to award UK degrees: for this purpose its degrees are validated by the Open Universitymarker. Regent's College in Central London is now also known as a private university, its degrees are validated through the American system as it is a subsidiary of an international university.

United States

In the U.S., most prestigious universities and colleges are private, operated as educational and research nonprofit organizations. 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 (e.g., the University of Notre Damemarker) and some are directly operated by religious organizations (e.g., Brigham Young Universitymarker).

Proprietary colleges are also private though they are most often referred to as proprietary colleges to prevent confusion with non-profit private institutions.

Like government-operated institutions, private universities are eligible for educational accreditation, but some private universities (primarily proprietary colleges) are not accredited (see list of unaccredited institutions of higher learning), and their degrees are not formally recognized.

Legally private universities may not discriminate but generally have a somewhat free hand in setting admissions policies. E.g., universities in the Ivy League historically based their selections on many secondary factors other than academic performance. In recent years, however, many private universities have been making an effort to appeal to and recruit academically talented students from underprivileged backgrounds.

The U.S. 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.


  1. Burrows, Toby & Philip G. Kent. (1993) Serials Management in Australia and New Zealand. Haworth Press. p. 19. ISBN 1-56024-453-4.
  2. Princeton Review. (2004) Guide to Studying Abroad. The Princeton Review. p. 105. ISBN 0-375-76371-6.
  3. Private University Act, 1992
  4. Diane Stone, "Market Principles, Philanthropic Ideals and Public Service Values: The Public Policy Program at the Central European University", PS: Political Science and Politics, July 2007: 545—551.
  6. Wells, Georgia. (2005) "New Indian university modeled after Stanford." The Stanford Daily, July 27, 2006 [1]
  7. Bill for Vedanta varsity gets legislative seal
  8. Lebanese Ministry of Higher Education Website (in Arabic) [2]
  9. Education in Lebanon, CSRD report, Lebanese American University, 2004 [3]
  10. Gladwell, Malcolm. (2005) "Getting In: the social logic of Ivy League admissions." The New Yorker, October 10, 2005 [4]
  11. Tottie, Gunnel. (2001) Introduction to American English Blackwell Publishing. p. 65. ISBN 0-631-19792-3.

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