The cost of attendance at public institutions varies by thousands of dollars from state to state, according to an analysis by Trade-Schools.net.
Researchers compared data from the College Board on the average tuition by state for resident and nonresident students.
For the 2015-2016 academic year, the average tuition for a single year of college at a public institution was $23,893 for out-of-state students and $9,410 for in-state students.
But those averages hide a wide degree of variation from state to state.
For out-of-state public tuition:
- The most expensive states are Vermont, Michigan, Connecticut, Virginia, and Delaware, with costs ranging from $29,250 to $35,710; and
- The least expensive states are South Dakota, Wyoming, Kansas, and Minnesota, with costs ranging from $10,510 to $18,580.
For in-state public tuition:
- The most expensive states are New Hampshire, Vermont, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Illinois, with costs ranging from $13,190 to $15,160; and
- The least expensive states are Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico, Florida, and Utah, with costs ranging from $4,890 to $6,360.
Trade-schools.net also suggests several contextual factors that help explain tuition prices in each state, such as:
- Higher general costs of living in certain states, like Connecticut;
- Whether the school is located in the South (less expensive) or the North (more expensive); and
- Whether the school is in a rural setting (less expensive) or an urban setting (more expensive).
(O'Connell, The Street, 1/9; Trade-schools.net, accessed 1/12).
It's important for students to get the facts about affordability