Public Universities

Surprisingly enough there are not nearly as many public universities as there are private, but the public universities in the past were known to be the most prestigious. A title from a major public university is almost a guarantee straight into a career after college.

The cost of public universities is almost nothing. The maximum most students pay is about $600 a year. Many students can work for the university which significantly reduces tuition to even $20 a semester.

The interesting thing about public universities in Costa Rica is not that there are very few but that they are very picky about who gets in and for which major. Unlike in North America where you can simply choose a major you like, to get into the pubic universities you must take a special test that gives you a score based on your knowledge which places one in the major they are most apt for. Therefore, if someone is particularly talented in math and science they will more than likely be placed in the engineering college. The test score also affects ones ability to enter the pubic sector or not. Very few scholarships based on preformance are given. However, there are a variety of different scholarships for working at the university.

The public universities include:

  • Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR) - located in San Jose is the main univeristy in all of Costa Rica with over 30,000 students and a multiplicity of different career path options. Attending this university is the most prestigious of al due to its history and vast resources.
  • Universidad Nacional (UNA) - located in Heredia and offers art, science, economics, engineering, health, and tourism related studies. This is a very popular university for students to start at before heading to the UCR.
  • Instituto Tecnologico de Costa Rica located in Cartago and completely focused on technology, the arts, and related fields.
  • Universidad Estatal a Distancia (UNED) located in Sabanilla mainly this university offers few physical classes and most material in on line. Many lessons are also involved with TV, radio and email.
  • Centro Agronomico Tropical de Investigacion y Enseñanza (Catie) locted in Cartago has specific programs related to agriculture, ranching, business, and climate.
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