4-Year path

Public Universities

The Oregon public universities provide different learning environments for Oregon residents and out-of-state students. To determine which school may be the best fit, consider qualities like:

  • Setting (urban, suburban, rural)

  • Smaller student body (3,000-5,000) vs. larger (20,000+)

  • Class sizes

  • Athletics and activities offered

  • Academic requirements and rigor

  • Degree programs offered and specialties

  • Cost of attendance

Oregon has eight public universities located across the state, with some satellite campuses as well:

Private Colleges

  • Private colleges and universities are typically more selective than public universities, but this is not always the case. Some private schools are highly selective and their admissions will go far beyond the usual GPA, course rigor, and test score criteria.

  • Many private schools are religiously-affiliated, but the strength of affiliation varies. Speak to staff and students to learn more about how strong the religious influence is on campus.

  • Private schools are typically more expensive than public schools, but many also provide tuition waivers and scholarships for eligible students that make it comparable to public university tuition.

  • Some private colleges specialize in a field (health, arts, religious studies, etc.) and only offer a limited number of degree programs. Most offer bachelor's degrees and some offer advanced degrees.

  • Private colleges are often smaller than public schools, with enrollment ranging from about 50 students to 4,000 students.

  • Private colleges may value different characteristics in an applicant (community service-minded, overcoming obstacles in life, drive to learn, etc.). Speak with an admissions counselor to learn about what the school is looking for in its students.

Private OR Colleges

*Not a regionally-accredited institution.


There are many great post-secondary options outside of Oregon whether you're looking for a public or private college. Using the College Search Tools is a great way to start learning about those options and finding a good fit for the student.

One great tool for students considering non-Oregon options is to search through the Western Undergraduate Exchange. This exchange allows eligible students to attend select out-of-state schools without paying the full out-of-state tuition price. This can be especially helpful if a student's desired major/field of study isn't available at an in-state institution. Note: some schools have earlier application deadlines for WUE applicants.

Questions to ask students considering out-of-state education:

  • What is the total difference in the cost of attendance of going to an out-of-state school compared to a similar in-state option?

  • Has the student visited the campus and the city/town where the school is located?

  • What activities are available on or near campus?

  • How often do you plan to travel home? How much will it cost there and back?

  • Is the student ready to be far away from home and in a new area?