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Think Independent

Smaller class sizes lead to greater student satisfaction.

In a constantly changing world, the next generation of leaders will need to be critical and creative thinkers. They must be effective communicators, with both a broad knowledge that supports life-long learning, as well as training and expertise in a particular field. At Oregon’s private colleges, we educate graduates for the long haul, preparing them to recognize and solve problems, to communicate ideas and solutions persuasively, and to learn new skills and adapt to change quickly throughout their careers.

Personalized education means a better student experience and better outcomes.

Oregon’s independent colleges are focused on excellent teaching. It’s what we do best. Nationally, one of the strongest indicators of student success is class size. The 12:1 ratio student-to-faculty ratio means students have better access to their professors and academic advisors and they report higher levels of satisfaction.


Oregon private college
student-to-faculty ratio

“The faculty and staff have taken the time to really get to know me as an individual and have encouraged me to stretch my abilities to pursue the things that I’m passionate about.”

Jessie Osuna-Mondragon, Human Development and Family Studies
Warner Pacific University

The private, nonprofit colleges of the Alliance
demonstrate their commitment to diversity and equity.

Nearly 1 in 3 private college students in Oregon received Pell Grants.

A third of Oregon private college undergraduates are students of color.

Source: Alliance 2020-21 Snapshot.

An efficient and cost-effective path into the workforce.

When it comes to calculating the total cost of a college degree, time is money. Private colleges work hard to help students minimize debt, graduate on time, enter the workforce and start earning.

Dual Degree

Dual degree programs at some Alliance member colleges and universities make it possible for students to pursue a bachelor’s degree and a graduate degree (i.e., earn a BA and an MBA in five years instead of six), potentially saving time and money.

Combined Degree
“3-2” Programs

Combined degree, or “3-2” programs: Several private colleges in Oregon partner with universities (for example, Duke, Columbia, USC) to offer specialized joint BA/MS degree programs in forestry, engineering, and other disciplines.

Credit for Prior Learning

Adult learners at some Alliance institutions may be able to get credit for prior life and work experiences that may save time and money.

Real-World Learning Experiences

Study Abroad Programs

Study abroad offers students great opportunities to see their world differently through personal development and self-discovery outside their comfort zones and increasing their understanding of other people, cultures, and communities.


Oregon’s independent colleges value and support student internships as an essential element of experiential learning.

Undergraduate Research

Undergraduate research opportunities for students at private colleges not only make important contributions to knowledge in specific academic disciplines, they also give students an important edge when applying to graduate school or seeking employment.



Private, nonprofit colleges and universities rely on tuition, fees, and gifts and donations from alumni and supporters, and receive no public (taxpayer) money. There are 16 Alliance member colleges in Oregon. As nonprofit, charitable organizations – some more than 150 years old – each is guided by a philanthropic mission to serve humanity and fight poverty through educational opportunity. Focused on high-quality student experiences, Oregon’s independent colleges offer small classes, opportunities for leadership and campus involvement, generous financial aid – and, collectively, the state’s highest four-year, on-time graduation rate. Working together, private, nonprofit institutions make a big impact, conferring 1 in 5 of the state’s undergraduate degrees. Explore Oregon’s institutions to find a school that fits your aspirations and learning style.

Find an Oregon Private College



Supported predominantly by public money (state government and taxpayers), Oregon’s public system of higher education is divided into two categories: community colleges (associate’s degree and certificate programs) and state universities (bachelor’s degree and higher programs). Traditionally serving thousands of students from Oregon and beyond, there are seven public universities, each with its individual strengths and academic programs, and 17 community colleges — established in communities all over the state.


For-profit colleges are profit-making businesses with owners and shareholders. Generally, they prepare students for specific vocations.

What do employers have to say?

A liberal arts education teaches skills that serve students through their lifetime.
Hart Research AssociatesFalling Short? College Learning and Career Success

91% say that a demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly and solve complex problems is more important than a job candidate's undergraduate major.

Hart Research AssociatesIt Takes More than a Major: Employer Priorities for College Learning and Student Success

74% of business and nonprofit leaders say they would recommend a 21st-century liberal arts education to prepare for long-term success in today's economy.

Hart Research AssociatesFalling Short? College Learning and Career Success

78% agree that, regardless of their major, every college student should acquire broad knowledge in the liberal arts and sciences.

Hart Research AssociatesFalling Short? College Learning and Career Success

60% say that to pursue advancement and long-term success at their organizations, graduates need both a broad range of skills and knowledge that apply to a range of fields, and in-depth knowledge and skills that apply to a specific field.