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Top 10 States with Most Affordable Tuition

Top 10 States with Most Affordable Tuition

There are no if’s and’s or but’s about it – college is downright expensive!

Elizabeth Hoyt

December 18, 2013

There are no if’s and’s or but’s about it – college is downright expensive!

Thankfully, a little research goes a long way and, with a lot of help from the internet, you can find information on college affordability, financial aid and, even which colleges offer the best bang for your buck.

College is so expensive that gaining the benefit of in-state tuition may even be worth a move a few years in advance – but we’ll let you be the judge of that!

According to the College Board’s 2013 Trends In College Pricing’s list of average tuition and fees for in-state students attending public colleges for the 2013-2014 academic year, these are the top ten states with the most affordable tuition rates (including fees) on average:

10. North Carolina

Average Tuition and Fees: $6,514
Out of State Cost: $21,352
Out of State Ranking by Cost: 24th lowest

Unfortunately, North Carolina’s tuition and fees have actually received a hike – nearly a 40 percent increase within the past five years. This is actually once of the largest tuition increases among the states.

9. Nevada

Average Tuition and Fees: $6,387
Out of State Cost: $20,399
Out of State Ranking by Cost: 21st lowest

Nevada’s in-state tuition is down 2 percent – the largest decrease nationwide.

The low cost of attending school within the state means that students do not take on large sums of debt. In 2011, for example, just 44 percent of gradates had student debt and students averaged less than $20k in debt on average – both among the lowest rankings within the United States.

8. Florida

Average Tuition and Fees: $6,336
Out of State Cost: $20,390
Out of State Ranking by Cost: 20th lowest
Florida is able to keep in-state tuition affordable by charging nearly four times the amount to out-of-state attendees.

For example, The University of Florida is one of the five most expensive amongst flagship universities nationwide to nonresidents.

7. Idaho

Average Tuition and Fees: $6,325
Out of State Cost: $18,896
Out of State Ranking by Cost: 15th lowest

At Idaho’s universities, it’s easy to keep costs down for in-state attendees since out-of state students pay nearly three times what in-state students pay.

Additionally, out-of-state students make up nearly a third of attendees, which contributes to the state’s ranking as one of the least expensive states to attend college in-state.

6. West Virginia

Average Tuition and Fees: $6,251
Out of State Cost: $17,801
Out of State Ranking by Cost: 11th lowest

West Virginia holds a record of having the lowest rate of college graduates within the country – 29.1 percent or one in five (2012). Despite this, it still remains one of the most affordable states within the country to gain a higher education.

5. Montana

Average Tuition and Fees: $6,211
Out of State Cost: $20,150
Out of State Ranking by Cost: 17th lowest

Montana’s in-state tuition and fees have risen just over nine percent in the last five years, less than most states (beaten by just three others).

Though there is low state funding, the cost of attending school within the state is relatively less on average compared to other states.

For example, within the 2013-2013 academic year, the state spent around $5k per student, which is one of the lower figures across the states.

4. New Mexico

Average Tuition and Fees: $5,987
Out of State Cost: $17,401
Out of State Ranking by Cost: 7th lowest

New Mexico holds both positive and negative state records. From 2001-2011, full-time college enrollment increased within the state by nearly 40 percent, beat by just four other states.

On the down side, students within the state tend to struggle with debt repayment with nearly 15 percent of students defaulting on debt – the worst rate of any U.S. state.

3. Utah

Average Tuition and Fees: $5,906
Out of State Cost: $18,416
Out of State Ranking By Cost: 13th lowest

On average, tuition and fees at public, four-year universities in Utah are just under $6. This distinction is unique, as it is only common within four U.S. states.

Additionally, less than half of Utah’s students graduate with debt and the average amount of debt per graduate is reported as the lowest in the nation.

2. Alaska

Average Tuition and Fees: $5,885
Out of State Cost: $18,856
Out of State Ranking By Cost: 14th lowest

Even though Alaska’s median household income is one of the highest in the nation (third in 2012) and usually is more than enough to cover the cost of college, the state’s government still spends the most per full time student than any other state – more than $17k.

Though that may be the case, Alaska still has the lowest undergraduate enrollment of any state.

1. Wyoming

Average Tuition and Fees: $4,404
Out of State Cost: $14,124
Out of State Ranking By Cost: 2nd lowest

Wyoming’s out-of-state tuition and fees are the second lowest in the country, the lowest being South Dakota’s.

Wyoming is able to keep its in-state tuition and fees low through state funding – the state spends well over $15k (as of 2013) per student.

As if that weren’t impressive enough, Wyoming boasts one of the lowest rates of students who graduate with debt – less than half.


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