There are over 7000 colleges and universities. A college in the generic term for any post-secondary undergraduate education and is an interchangeable term with “university” (in most cases). Most teenagers go to college after high school graduation.
While there are no national standards in the US, the term university primarily designates institutions that provide undergraduate and graduate education. A university typically has as its core and its largest internal division an undergraduate college teaching a liberal arts curriculum, also culminating in a bachelor's degree. What often distinguishes a university is having, in addition, one or more graduate schools engaged in both teaching graduate classes and in research.
Colleges vary in terms of the degrees offered, the size of the student body and length of stay. Two-year colleges, also known as junior or community colleges, usually offer an associate's degree, and four-year colleges usually offer a bachelor's degree. Often, these are entirely undergraduate institutions, although some have graduate school programs.
Students must pay for college before taking classes. Some borrow the money via loans, and some students fund their educations with cash, scholarships, or grants, or some combination of any two or more of those payment methods. Some students choose to dual-enroll, by taking college classes while still in high school to defer some of the early costs.
For state-owned schools also known as "public universities”, there are subsidies given to these colleges, with the student benefiting from lower tuition if they are in-state residents. The state subsidized on average 50% of public university tuition.