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

Students stand at graduation ceremony in caps and gowns
Master's Degrees in the U.S. vs. the U.K.: What's the Difference?
A student studying a book on his desk.
What Does the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Measure?
Blue Hour, John W. Weeks Bridge, Dunster House, Havard University, Cambridge, Boston, Massachusetts, America
At Harvard, Expect High Tuition But Generous Aid
group of students around a teacher
The Best Undergraduate Business Program for 2020
Where to Find INSEAD Locations
Campus
6 European Countries With Free College Tuition
Older woman in college setting
Going Back to School: Can I Afford to Go Back to School?
Washington Square Park Arch and buildings in Manhattan, New York City
Is a Degree from NYU Worth the High Tuition Bill?
Should I Go to Grad School After College?
Celebrating college graduates.
Honor Societies
What Counts When Applying to Grad School?
People walking in line across world map, painted on asphalt.
Deciding on Going to College Abroad
The University of California-Berkeley’s Graduate School of Education, School of Public Health, and Department of Psychology
When Is Grad School Worth It?
Kelley School of Business at Indiana University
Oxford Skyline and Radcliffe Camera
Saïd Business School (SBS)
Woman checking stocks and shares data with smartphone in city.
How Intelligence Relates to Wealth
International Institute for Management Development (IMD)
Skyline and river-view of Manchester, U.K,
Manchester Business School (MBS)
A picture of the building of Yale university
Yale School of Management
group of university students in line at graduation wearing gown and cap
Is University Prestige Really That Important?
Midsection of Woman Reading Book While Sitting at Table
College Level Examination Program (CLEP)
Should MBA Applicants Take the GRE or GMAT?
Harvard Business School Bldg. Ext.
MBA Alternatives to Business School
College Degrees of the 1%
Foster School of Business at the University of Washington
Cross street of Wall St. and Broadway
Lancaster University Management School (LUMS)
Columbia Business School Definition
University of Southern California campus, Los Angeles, California, USA
What Is The Marshall School of Business?
GMAT concept image
Introduction to the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT)
What Does B-School Mean?
McDonough School of Business Definition
What Is the Wharton School?
Kellogg School of Management
Durham University Business School Definition
Fisher College of Business Definition
Haas School of Business Definition
Melbourne Business School
Stanford Graduate School of Business Definition
Wake Forest University School of Business Definition
The Stephen M. Ross School of Business
ESADE Business School
Goizueta Business School Definition
Tuck School of Business Definition
UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School Definition
The Marriott School of Business
Wisconsin School of Business Definition
Darla Moore School of Business Definition
What is the Thunderbird School of Global Management?
Carlson School of Management Definition
HKUST Business School Definition
What Is the W.P. Carey School of Business?
What Is the Questrom School of Business?
What Is the University of New South Wales Business School?
Carroll School of Management Definition
What Does University of Miami Patti and Allan Herbert Business School Mean?
High Angle View of Chicago River
What Does Booth School of Business Mean?
What Is the University of Virginia Darden School of Business?
What Does IESE Business School Mean?
Stern School Of Business At NYU
Greenberg School of Risk Management
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?" https://www.elmhurst.edu/blog/college-vs-university/

  2. New York State. "Pay for College." https://www.hesc.ny.gov/pay-for-college.html

  3. Federal Student Aid. "Complete the FAFSA Form." https://studentaid.gov/h/apply-for-aid/fafsa

  4. Scholarships360. "What Is a Full-Ride Scholarship?" https://scholarships360.org/scholarships/what-is-a-full-ride-scholarship/

  5. The Edvocate. "Which Countries Provide Free Education at a University Level?" https://www.theedadvocate.org/which-countries-provide-free-education-at-a-university-level/