Does Higher Education Mean College?

Sefla Fuhrman

February 8, 2023

Accomplish Your Goals-Higher Education

There needs to be more clarity around higher education in the United States. Many people need to learn the difference between a college and a university.

A university is a group of schools that offer studies after secondary school. They include colleges that award bachelor’s degrees and graduate schools that offer advanced degrees such as master’s or doctorate.


Higher education is the process of furthering an individual’s learning, both academic and professional. It is a valuable resource for improving an individual’s quality of life and contributing to economic, technological, and social change.

A university typically has a large student population and extensive facilities for research, often featuring labs and other resources dedicated to these efforts. Conversely, colleges tend to have smaller student populations and less expansive campuses, allowing them to focus more on teaching.

Generally, colleges offer bachelor’s degrees, while universities provide master’s and doctoral degrees. However, some colleges and universities may offer unique degree programs that combine undergraduate and graduate studies.


Throughout history, higher education has positively impacted individual students and the society in which they live. This is especially true today as discoveries and technological innovations continue to appear along with a constant demand for a better-educated workforce.

However, several questions must be addressed to ensure the future success of higher education. These challenges include the rising cost of education, student debt levels, and student completion rates.

The purpose of higher education is to provide people with knowledge and skills that are essential for their development. This knowledge and skills can help countries improve economic prosperity, increase social cohesion and meet the demands of a changing labor market.

To fulfill its mission, higher education must keep pace with a global knowledge economy, constantly enhancing the quality of teaching and learning in all fields of study. This requires a dynamic and proactive stance that keeps universities in touch with their communities’ social and economic needs.


Across the world, tertiary education plays a vital role in social development and boosting shared prosperity. A well-educated workforce is more productive, earning higher wages and coping better with economic shocks.

While universities are different, they are governed by boards of trustees and often share many standard administrative functions and processes. These include strategic planning, fiscal oversight, curriculum planning, and student affairs.

A key challenge for higher education leaders is adapting these organizations to meet the changing demands of post-secondary students and consumers. They must ensure they have suitable governance structures to provide oversight while engaging stakeholders early and often in the decision-making process.

In addition to these changes, the shift to digital learning has also introduced new challenges for many colleges and universities. For example, subscription-based tuition pricing has disrupted existing business models. New nontraditional partnerships between universities and for-profits have emerged in boot camps, online program management, and workforce credentialing.


Higher education is the second largest expense Americans make after buying a home. This results from the pressure to pursue a college degree and the competitive admissions process that drives up tuition costs.

In recent years, the annual college tuition and fees increase surpassed inflation. In addition to tuition, students also pay for books, supplies, and room and board.

Depending on their housing arrangements, first-time undergraduate students may spend an average of $35,551 per year attending a four-year institution or $16,488 at a two-year school. Additional expenses may include transportation, food, personal care, and entertainment.

American taxpayers contribute to ancillary services such as student housing, meals, and transportation three times as much as in other developed countries. This is why institutions need to respond to a wide range of student wants and needs. They also need to provide a return on their investment and ensure students have a pathway to sustainable employment that secures a reasonable standard of living.