Which states have the cheapest and most expensive public colleges?


With the cost of college education always a major concern for students, parents, and policy makers, the question of how states stack up against the cost of attending their public colleges and universities is of great interest to most. consumers of higher education.

Using the College Board’s recently released report, Trends in College Pricing and Student Aid, it is now possible to compare tuition and tuition fees for public two-year colleges, four-year institutions, and leading universities in all 50 states. (Details on these prices and their changes over the years are contained in Figures CP-5, 6 and 7 of the report.)

Two-year colleges

In 2021-2022, the average published tuition and fees for district full-time students at two-year public colleges ranged from a low of $ 1,430 in California to a high of $ 8,600 in Vermont.

After California, the cheapest states were New Mexico ($ 1,950), North Carolina ($ 2,484), Arizona ($ 2,591) and Texas ($ 2,885).

In addition to Vermont, the most expensive states for community college tuition were South Dakota ($ 7,237), New Hampshire ($ 7,095), Massachusetts ($ 6,812) and Oregon ( $ 5,989).

As of 2016-2017, tuition and average fees in the district in two-year public colleges decreases in 23 states after adjusting for inflation, including declines of 10% in Arizona and 11% in California and Florida.

In addition, compared to the previous year, the published average tuition and district fees for 2021-2022 did not increase in 15 states, before adjusting for inflation.

Four-year colleges

The average sticker price for 2021-2022 tuition and fees for full-time students in the state at four-year public colleges ranged from a low of $ 6,100 in Wyoming to a high. of $ 17,750 in Vermont.

After Wyoming, the cheapest states were Florida ($ 6,370), Montana ($ 7,265), Utah ($ 7,387) and North Carolina ($ 7,389).

After Vermont, the most expensive states for four-year universities were New Hampshire ($ 17,040), Pennsylvania ($ 15,312), New Jersey ($ 14,963) and Illinois ($ 14,667) .

Over the past five years, average state tuition fees and fees at four-year public institutions have declined in 18 states after adjusting for inflation. During the same period, only six states (Alaska, Connecticut, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, and Rhode Island) saw their average tuition fees increase by 10% or more.

??Flagship universities

For flagship universities, the lowest price for 2021-2022 tuition and tuition fees for full-time students in the state was $ 6,100 at the University of Wyoming, followed by the University. of Florida ($ 6,380), University of Montana ($ 7,490), University of Idaho ($ 8,340) and University of New Mexico ($ 8,510).

The most expensive flagship was the University of Vermont with tuition and fees of $ 19,000. It was followed by the University of New Hampshire ($ 18,960), Pennsylvania State University ($ 18,900), the University of Connecticut ($ 18,560) and the University of Virginia (17,460 $).

The flagship public universities of 28 states have inferior tuition and fees in the state in 2021-2022 than they did five years ago, after adjusting for inflation.

In 2021-2022, 14 flagship universities did not increase tuition and tuition fees compared to what they charged the previous year.

??Tuition fees out of state

Although a few public four-year institutions charge the same tuition fees to out-of-state students as to in-state students, most charge non-residents a significantly higher amount – often the same or more. tuition fees published in many private institutions. And the flagships fiercely compete for foreigners because of the additional tuition income they bring to the bottom line of institutions.

In 2021-2022, published tuition and fees for full-time out-of-state students at flagship universities were lowest at the University of South Dakota ($ 12,940), followed by the University of North Dakota ($ 15,040), University of Wyoming ($ 20,660), University of Nevada ($ 24,680) and University of New Mexico ($ 25,240).

The most expensive flagships for international students were University of Michigan ($ 53,230), University of Virginia ($ 51,940), University of California, Berkeley ($ 43,980), University of Vermont ($ 43,890) and the University of Connecticut ($ 41,460).

Tuition and net fees

The College Board report also makes it clear what every student and family should know – most students do not pay published tuition fees. They pay what is known as the net tuition fee, which is the discounted amount they have to cover once government grants and institutional financial aid are factored into the equation.

According to the report, in 2019-2020, 75% of first-time full-time students attending two-year public colleges received a federal, state, or institutional grant. In four-year public universities, 78% of students have received such assistance.

While the report does not break down net tuition fees by state, it does show the national average net tuition fees for 2021-2022. And there is good news to be found in these numbers. They indicate a substantial drop in reimbursable fees for most students attending public institutions.

  • TO two-year public colleges, first-time full-time students received sufficient financial aid on average to cover their tuition and fees (but not their accommodation, meals and other education costs), as they have always done since 2009-2010.
  • Average net tuition fees and fees paid by full-time people for the first time state students in four-year public institutions was estimated at $ 2,640, the lowest since 2006-07, down more than $ 1,000 from a high of $ 3,720 in 2012-13 (in 2021 dollars).

Although a college education remains a costly investment, the recent combination of relatively stable tuition fees during the pandemic and corresponding increases in financial aid shows that market forces are bending the cost curve of colleges to some extent. . This is good news for higher education consumers, especially if the trend continues beyond the price adjustments imposed by the pandemic.


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