In the U.S., the terms “college” and “university” are used interchangeably and always denote post-secondary institutions. Their degrees are equivalent and interchangeable. Colleges and universities can be public or private. Private colleges like Hiram (1850) are among the oldest and most respected in the U.S.
The two types of institutions are distinguished by what they emphasize, not the quality of education. Colleges generally have smaller enrollments, focus primarily on undergraduate education, and employ faculty who are master teachers. Universities tend to have significantly larger enrollments and offer a wider array of undergraduate and graduate programs. Private institutions are funded by fees and contributions. Public institutions are funded primarily by state allocations, fees, and research grants and they may charge higher fees to students from outside of that state or the U.S. than they charge students who are in-state residents.