Should I Choose a Private or Public University in Malaysia?

Private University vs Public University

When pursuing your advanced education, deciding which is better between a public or private university can be a real challenge. Most people would assume that private universities provide more individualised education and that public universities are usually more affordable. But sometimes these assumptions are not always accurate. There are other things to consider such as facilities, university culture, and study duration.

Most importantly, before heading over to a university to get their brochure and consultation, you should do your online research. Researching allows you to survey more than one university that you are interested in, and sometimes you might find out additional information that the counsellors might not be keen on sharing with you. You can also consult with people who have graduated from public and private universities to find out the differences and their experiences. Listed below are 3 comparisons between private universities versus public universities:

1. Tuition Fee Differences Between Public and Private Universities in Malaysia

The main difference between public and private universities in Malaysia is that the government subsidises tuition fees to aid students, especially from lower-income families in gaining a higher education. On average, public universities’ tuition fees cost around RM6,500 a year. The total cost is RM 19,500 for a 3-year course 1. Since private universities are not controlled or subsidised by the government, tuition fees are usually higher in comparison. Nevertheless, UNITAR’s academic programmes are much more affordable compare to the degree courses offered by other private universities in Malaysia. Should you need further financial assistance, our degree courses are eligible for government education loans like PTPTN as well as UNITAR’s various scholarship programmes.

2. Study Duration and Employability

You might be wondering, which university is better: private or public universities? Public universities are straightforward in what they offer, which mainly consists of Foundation, Diploma and Undergraduate Degree programmes. Public universities have similar study durations compared to private universities. 1 year of foundation, 2 years of diploma, and 3 or 4 years of a degree. Most students that study in public universities usually have plans to find employment locally, but finding work overseas is also possible. 

By contrast, private universities usually offer additional courses. UNITAR has plenty of academic programmes to choose from, ranging from micro-credential courses, undergraduate programmes to postgraduate programmes including our postgraduate diploma programmes, which not all higher institutions offer. This will definitely increase your chances to secure employment in popular career fields.  

3. The Flexibility to Choose Your Degree Programme 

After completing your SPM, you might have considered applying for public universities through the government’s centralised platform called the “Unit Pengambilan Universiti” (UPU). Although it saves the hassle of having to apply to multiple public universities for different degree courses, you may not get the course you have applied for. 

On the other hand, if you choose to study at a private university, you can rest assured that you get to study the degree programme of your choice. The purpose of pursuing higher education is to be well-equipped and industry-relevant to the career field of your dreams. Thus, higher education needs careful decision-making rather than letting others decide what you should study for the next few years. 

4. Facilities and Student Environment/University Culture

Public universities are usually bigger and well-equipped. This is because there is a need to cater to multiple courses and accommodate hundreds to thousands of locals annually. Public universities have the means of space and utilities, with swimming pools, gyms, and massive libraries; very few private universities can compete with public universities in terms of facilities, but private universities are usually more focused on providing specialised course-based facilities as a means of making the best of their space. Student accommodations are also more comfortable for private university students.

University cultures, on the other hand, are different from each other; even two private universities would not have the same traditions in place. But it is known that public schools tend to have more locals, therefore students should expect a more Asian-centric culture in place. Private schools usually have a number of foreign students, which does result in a more mixed university culture, that is both local and international culture.

Perhaps thinking about your preferences should help you with your decision. If you want to have a more affordable education with larger facilities, then maybe studying at a public university is suitable for you. If you have dreams of working overseas and having facilities that cater to your specific course, perhaps enrolling at a private university is better suited for you.

We hope we have made your decision-making easier when it comes to choosing which university to study at. Consider UNITAR International University’s student testimonials, rankings, and highly employable courses to take interest in accelerating your future with us today!

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