The comparison of quality between public and private college education is a topic of intense interest, and one that continues to generate ongoing research. This study utilized the General Social Survey 2012 Merged Data to determine if significant difference exists in graduates’ long- term outcomes between public and private college bachelor’s degree holders in the United States. A sample of 132 bachelor’s degree holders of public and private institutions from 1980 to 2010 was selected from the cross-section cases interviewed in 2012 for the MANCOVA analyses using health situation as a covariate. Results indicated that bachelor’s degree holders from private colleges are significantly more satisfied with their careers and overall quality of life than those from public colleges. However, no significant difference was found in financial satisfaction between these two groups, even when the effect of their health situation was controlled in analysis. Implications were discussed regarding weighing the cost and value when students make decisions to attend either public or private institutions.


college education, long-term outcome, public college, private college



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