Christian colleges are private institutions that receive no government funding. Wesleyan colleges and others rely entirely on private sources of income such as tuition and donors to provide a Christ-centered experience in higher education.

If you’ve been looking for a “public” Christian college in the United States or Canada, you’re not going to find one. That’s because Christian colleges are private schools. 

While public schools are funded in part by taxes citizens pay to federal and state governments, private schools don’t receive government funding. They have to get the money they need to run the school from somewhere. 

That’s why tuition is usually higher, but …

Should That Be the Only Factor in College Choice?

The short answer is: probably not. 

Especially because “cost” usually doesn’t translate into what you actually pay. And because there are so many other values driving your choice as a Christian.

To help you think through your decision, let’s take a look at the reasons some students choose public schools, and why some choose private Christian schools (such as Wesleyan colleges), including “cost.”

The Public College Experience

Why Students Go Public:

    • Lower Tuition
    • Larger Student Body

Because public colleges and universities are subsidized (partially paid for) by state and federal governments, the cost of tuition “on paper” is lower. 

(However, it’s important to understand that the way tuition is listed doesn’t necessarily translate into what you actually pay, or how much you will have to borrow. More on that below.)

Besides lower cost, the other main reason students choose public colleges is because they’re drawn to an often larger, quite diverse student body. Public schools bring together people with a wide variety of backgrounds, cultures and beliefs.

Is it Hard To Stay Christian in College?

Some Christians in public colleges have no trouble finding other followers of Christ with whom to worship, pray and walk through life. Others struggle to find Christian community.

This is especially true of young (“traditional”) students. The top reason young adults 23-30 say they have stopped attending church is because they went to college and just, well … stopped

Other reasons, like “I didn’t feel connected to people in my church,” or “My work responsibilities prevented me from attending,” are related. They all have in common a reordering of priorities that puts other things above participating in a community of faith.

It’s About Being Intentional

Does this mean public colleges are evil places designed to pull people away from faith? Not at all! It only means that Christians in these settings have to seek out an environment to support spiritual growth. 

If you’ve always taken church for granted growing up, you’ll learn that Christian community doesn’t just happen by itself. You have to find it – or make it – on purpose.

The Christian College Experience

Why Students Go Private, Christian:

    • Continuing Spiritual Development
    • Close, Diverse Community
    • Spiritual, Academic and Financial Assistance

In contrast, Christian colleges are designed to uphold the value of living in a Christian community as a priority equal to academic development.

Higher (Spiritual) Education

You won’t have to look far to find an environment that supports your spiritual development. It’s already here, created by Christ-followers who came before you and advanced by administrators, staff and faculty.

A Close, Yet Diverse Student Body

You will meet other students from many different backgrounds, all of whom will be at a different place in their spiritual journey. Some will have a better idea of who Jesus is than others. But all will have come knowing they’re participating in a culture built around faith in God, the presence of the Holy Spirit and love of Christ.

Affordability is About More Than Tuition

And you will find every kind of help, from spiritual and academic support to financial assistance. While some private colleges seem to be designed to stay out of reach of all but the wealthiest of students, Christian colleges (Wesleyan schools certainly included) don’t want cost to be a barrier.

Financial assistance comes in many forms:


Just like at public colleges, scholarships are often available to you if you have proven academic ability or a special talent. If you have gotten excellent grades in previous schooling – high school, or from another college or university – you may win academic scholarship dollars as an award.

The same goes for proven talent in a particular sport or extracurricular interests, like art or music. Christian schools want to encourage your pursuit of your God-given talents which he can use for his good purposes.

In some college systems, such as in Wesleyan schools, there are also scholarship programs specifically for members of the denomination.

Private Grants

There are often privately-grown funds from which Christian colleges pull grant dollars. These may go to students affiliated with a certain Christian denomination, or students who plan to go into full-time ministry. They may be awarded based on financial need.

Grants can be awarded to you based on anything, really. It just depends on the grant program. Financial aid officers will help you figure out what’s available and what you might qualify for.

Government Grants

Although Christian colleges don’t receive government dollars directly, governments do make funds available to students, which you can then put toward any school you want to attend. There are several federal and state/provincial programs in the U.S. and Canada available to each country’s citizens. These are often income-based.


After you’ve exhausted all your grant and scholarship options, you can usually borrow as much as you need from the U.S. or Canadian government to pay for whatever is remaining. These are usually income-based also. If you or your family has the means to pay for some of your tuition out of pocket, it’s better to do so rather than to have to repay a loan with interest later.

Wesleyan Schools Want to Provide You with the Ideal Christian College Experience

Besides our roots in the Wesleyan Church, our six Wesleyan (WE) schools have this in common: our commitment to providing you with the best of what a Christian college experience has to offer.

If you want a college experience that:

    • Focuses on, rather than distracts from, Christian community involvement,
    • Engages a diverse group of people who share a love of Christ in common and
    • Provides all the support you need to be successful, including financial,

We humbly suggest you find it here.

And by “here,” we mean any of our WE schools across North America. Follow the link below to learn more!