In the Québec education system, college is the first level of post-secondary studies and precedes university studies. Unique to Québec, this level may serve as a bridge between compulsory schooling (elementary and secondary) and university. College-level education is provided by public institutions known as CEGEPs as well as by private colleges.
Public Colleges and CEGEPs : A CEGEP, acronym for the French term Collège d’enseignement general et professionnel, is a public institution that offers two-year pre-university training programs and three-year technical programs leading to a Diploma of College Studies (DCS, also known as DEC in French). These institutions also offer shorter technical training programs leading to an Attestation of College Studies (ACS, also known as AEC in French).
Private Colleges : A private college is a private educational institution authorized to offer college education under the Act Respecting Private Education. Private establishments may be subsidized or not. They offer the same type of programs as public colleges that can lead to a Diploma of College Studies (DCS) or an Attestation of College Studies (ACS).