Colleges & Universities

Here's what you need to know to choose a college, apply for admission, obtain your degree, and leverage your education for a higher-paying, more satisfying career.
Frequently Asked Questions
  • What is the difference between college and universities?

    Although “college” and “university” are often used interchangeably, each term actually describes a different type of academic institution. Colleges are generally academic equals with universities, in that they both grant undergraduate degrees, except they tend to have smaller student bodies and class sizes. Universities, meanwhile, are required to meet certain criteria in order to earn the title, mainly having a graduate degree program.

  • How do I pay for college?

    If you or your parent(s)/guardian(s) can’t afford to pay for a higher education out of pocket, then there are several types of financial aid available to you, such as loans, scholarships, and grants. Student loans come in both federal and private varieties, with the former requiring you to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to receive any federal aid. Unlike student loans, scholarships and grants usually don’t need to be repaid, though applicants may have to meet certain criteria or make specific commitments to be eligible.

  • How do I get a full-ride scholarship?

    Full-ride scholarships are only awarded to the most exceptional students. Those who demonstrate academic merit, leadership, athletic skill, financial need, and/or meet the requirements for certain state-sponsored programs have a greater chance of earning a full-ride scholarship. Although the rarity of full-ride scholarships means most students won’t receive one, it’s still worth applying for any scholarships that you may be eligible for, even if they won’t cover the full cost of attendance.

  • Where in the world is college free?

    In 2020, there were 22 countries that provided a completely free university-level education, nearly two-thirds of which are located in Europe. These countries were Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Norway, and Sweden, in Europe; Egypt, Kenya, and Morocco in Africa; Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay in South America; Panama in North America; and Malaysia in Asia. However, several of these countries only offer free education to their own citizens or are only available to international students with certain visas.

Key Terms

Explore Colleges & Universities

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Page Sources
Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy.
  1. Elmhurst University. "College vs. University: What Is the Difference?"

  2. New York State. "Pay for College."

  3. Federal Student Aid. "Complete the FAFSA Form."

  4. Scholarships360. "What Is a Full-Ride Scholarship?"

  5. The Edvocate. "Which Countries Provide Free Education at a University Level?"