Cheapest Places to Go to College, By State

A recent report by EducationalData.org reveals the average cost of college in the United States has tripled in 20 years. With an annual growth rate of 6.8%, the average cost of college for 2021-22 is $35,720 per student per year. What a difference over the annual cost of tuition at a 4-year public college in 1963, which was $2,078 when adjusted for inflation.
The report found the cost of attendance (COA), which includes tuition, room and board, books and supplies, and other fees, could exceed over $400,000 by time a student receives a bachelor's degree.
Here's a look at some of the most interesting facts from the report.

Most expensive private colleges

  1. Columbia University, New York: $59,430
  2. University of Chicago, Illinois: $58,230
  3. Vassar College, New York: $56,960
  4. Trinity College, Connecticut: $56,910
  5. Landmark College, Vermont: $56,800
  6. Jewish Theological Seminary of America, New York: $56,778
  7. Harvey Mudd College, California: $56,620
  8. Franklin and Marshall College, Pennsylvania: $56,550
  9. Amherst College, Massachusetts: $56,426
  10. Tufts University, Massachusetts: $56,382

Least expensive private colleges

  1. Turtle Mountain Community College, North Dakota: $2,250
  2. Grace Mission University, California: $2,840
  3. Curtis Institute of Music, Pennsylvania: $2,900
  4. Sinte Gleska University, South Daota: $3,154
  5. Bringham Young University - Idaho: $4,118
  6. Salish Kootenai College, Montana: $4,220
  7. Universidad Pentocostal Mispa, Puerto Rico: $4,220
  8. United Tribes Technical College, North Dakota: $4,252
  9. Universidad Teologica del Caribe, Puerto Rico: $4,342
  10. Huntsville Bible College, Alabama: $4,560

Cheapest in-state tuition, by state

StateTuition
Alabama$10,442
Alaska$8,648
Arizona$10,986
Arkansas$8,643
California$8,362
Colorado$9,676
Connecticut$13,348
Delaware$10,925
Florida$4,576
Georgia$7,539
Hawaii$10,251
Idaho$7,814
Illinois$14,687
Indiana$9,502
Iowa$10,265
Kansas$9,209
Kentucky$10,994
Louisiana$9,639
Maine$10,228
Maryland$9,807
Massachusetts$13,685
Michigan$13,275
Minnesota$11,722
Mississippi$8,590
Missouri$8,811
Montana$7,181
Nebraska$8,721
Nevada$6,020
New Hampshire$16,819
New Jersey$14,382
New Mexico$7,109
New York$8,430
North Carolina$7,389
North Dakota$8,334
Ohio$10,370
Oklahoma$8,102
Oregon$10,595
Pennsylvania$15,256
Rhode Island$12,953
South Carolina$13,403
South Dakota$9,035
Tennessee$10,083
Texas$8,938
Utah$6,933
Vermont$17,102
Virginia$13,815
Washington$7,247
West Virginia$8,256
Wisconsin$8,958
Wyoming$4,734
Washington, D.C.$6,065

Average costs

Beyond the price of admission, students will pay the most for living expenses, whether living on campus or off. the report ofound that 87% of students reside off campus, however, most colleges and universities require first-year students to reside in student housing (on campus). But EducationData.org found the growth of on-campus housing rates outpaced those of rent between 2003 and 2014. In 2003, an average dorm cost was 29% below the median rent price but by 2014 it was only 7% below. Still, it is cheaper to live on campus.
Here's what the average costs of college are based on two- and four-year public schools and private schools, on campus or off:
4-year institution4-year non-profit institutions4-year private institutions2-year institutions2-year non-profit institutions2-year private institutions
Tuition$9,580 in-state; $23,427 out-of-state$37,200$13,475$17,294$5,974$1,393
Books and supplies$1,334$1,308$1,194$1,585$1,061$1,393
Room and board (on-campus)$11,451$12,682$10,654$7,165$11,723$10,369
Room and board (off-campus)$10,781$9,762$8,027$9,316$9,429$9,222
Additional expenses$3,493 - $4,2553$2,758 - $5,527$4,254 - $4,748$3,401 - $4,271$2,650 - $4,726$3,773 - $5,039

Student loans

It's no wonder most students need to borrow money to attend college. The report found the average student borrows more than $30,000 with the student loan debt average at $37,584.
EducationData's secondary report on student loan debt found 30% of undergrads borrow from the federal government. This includes:
  • Stafford Loans: 52.8% (18.6% subsidized, 34.2% unsubsidized)
  • Direct Consolidated Loans: 35.5%
  • Parent PLUS Loans: 6.4%
  • Grad PLUS Loans: 5%
  • Perkins Loans: 0.4%
Students attending public universities average $30,030 to earn a bachelor's degree. For those in private universities, non-profit school students borrow $33,900 while for-profit education loans average $43,900.
The report found the student loan growth rates to outpace the rising tuition costs by 353.8%.
Private student loans account for 8.4% of student loan debt. Of sources of debt, 95% of students have student loan debt with another 23% using credit cards to fund education needs. Home equity loans account for 4% of debt for college.

Student loan debt by degrees

DegreeLoan debt
Undergraduate$16,940
Associates$21,890
Bachelors$31,790
Masters$70,070
Doctoral$118,360
Professional$199,540

The bottom line

With the average college tuition per academic year for college students at state schools costing $9,488, undergraduate students rely on student aid to get a college education. To find federal funding, apply through the Free Application for Federal Student Loans (FAFSA) and comple a College Board CSS Profile. This will determine your need for grants, scholarships and federal funding and you'll receive a student loan package you may accept or deny to attend the school that makes the offer. To round out additional expenses, a private loan from a bank or similar lender may be necessary.
Is it worth it to take on the debt asccociated with a college education? Fifty-two percent of students did not think so, according to EducationData. But nearly half did think it was worth it so you should be the judge.

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