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Private school

Private schools are schools not administered by local or national government, which retain the right to select their student body and are funded in whole or in part by charging their students tuition rather than with public funds.

Types of private school

Private colleges and universities form the most visible of private schools. Such schools are often much smaller than public universities.

Another category is the preparatory school or "prep school". These are usually secondary schools (high schools) which are designed to perpare a student for higher education. Often, such schools are highly selective, accepting only a very small percentage of applicants. Such schools often have very high tuitions which are used to attract and hire the best teachers, and also used to provide enriched learning environments and services such as libraries, science laboratories, and computers. Graduates of preparatory schools are often actively sought by colleges due to the colleges' confidence that the students will be well educated.

Trade or vocational schools are also usually private schools where students can learn skills in a trade which they intend to make their future occupation. Trade schools exist in a variety of occupations from beauticians' schools to prestigious schools for the performing arts.

Religiously affiliated schools form a distinct category of private school. Such schools teach religious lessons, often alongside a secular education, to instill religious knowledge and a strong religious identity in the students who attend.

Many alternative schools are also privately financed (though some prefer to be called independent schools rather than private schools to avoid possible connotations of prep-school elitism). Private schools can often avoid some state regulations which might make alternative methods of schooling more difficult, and they are often easier for a small group of committed parents or teachers to create and maintain than state-funded schools.

Finally, special assistance schools aim to improve the lives of their students by providing services tailored to very specific needs of individual students. Such schools include tutoring schools and schools to assist the learining of handicapped children.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, privately owned schools are confusingly called Public Schools - see Public school (UK).