What is the Average College Tuition?

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Abigail Eun
Abigail Eun
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Abigail Eun is a freelance writer and personal finance expert. Through diligent research and continuous learning, she has honed her knowledge in budgeting, saving, investing, and debt management. Abigail is passionate about helping people get their finances in order. She believes that everyone should have access to the information they need to make sound financial decisions. Her goal is to provide clear and concise information that is easy to understand.

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Daniel is the co-founder and COO at Sparrow. Daniel is responsible for the day-to-day operations of a company, working closely with other members of the executive team to develop and implement strategies to support the growth and success of the company.
Daniel was a 2023 Forbes 30 Under 30 lister in the Education category.  Daniel was born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina and graduated from Duke University in 2020.
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Camden leads Sparrow’s business operations – everything from product management to business analytics. After graduating Cum Laude from Duke University where he studied Civil Engineering, Camden worked as a Consultant for A.T. Kearney where he worked in their Strategic Operations practice. With a strong background in analytics, Camden strives to deliver data-driven conclusions and insights.

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Updated
January 31, 2024

With average college tuition costs rising every year due to inflation, it’s increasingly important to be aware of the costs associated with higher education.

One aspect of this is understanding what exactly tuition is, along with how it differs across factors like geographical location and institution type.

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Tuition vs. Cost of Attendance

Tuition and cost of attendance may seem like the same thing, but there is a significant difference between the two.

Tuition is the base amount of money you pay to attend the institution and take classes, while the cost of attendance is the estimated total of expenses you will pay as a student, which includes the cost of tuition, fees, and other student expenditures.

Cost of attendance = Tuition + Room and Board + School Supplies + Transportation Fees…

What is the Average Cost of Tuition in the US?

The average cost of tuition for a four-year, in-state, public institution is $9,377, while the average cost is $27,091 for out-of-state. For private institutions, the average cost of tuition for a non-profit is $37,641, while a for-profit costs an average of $18,244.

Average College Tuition by State

As you explore potential colleges, keep in mind that tuition can also be influenced by geographic region. Historically, public colleges in the northeast have been the most expensive, while the least expensive schools are in the Plains and the South.

The table below shows the average total cost of college tuition by state, ordered from greatest-to-list.

State

Tuition & Fees

Tuition + Room & Board

Vermont

$17,593

$30,752

New Hampshire

$16,749

$29,222

Illinois

$14,579

$26,252

Pennsylvania

$14,532

$26,040

Connecticut

$14,487

$28,425

New Jersey

$14,184

$28,335

Massachusetts

$13,939

$28,317

Virginia

$13,931

$25,761

Michigan

$13,716

$24,777

Rhode Island

$13,697

$26,946

South Carolina

$12,544

$23,181

Minnesota

$11,836

$21,858

Oregon

$11,537

$24,517

Arizona

$11,410

$24,681

Delaware

$11,343

$24,862

Kentucky

$10,976

$22,317

Alabama

$10,617

$20,993

Maine

$10,377

$20,677

Tennessee

$10,271

$20,639

Hawaii

$10,197

$22,012

Ohio

$10,049

$22,860

Indiana

$9,656

$20,572

Louisiana

$9,656

$20,031

Maryland

$9,401

$22,380

Iowa

$9,373

$19,788

Missouri

$9,310

$19,394

Colorado

$9,269

$22,288

Kansas

$9,081

$19,082

North Dakota

$9,065

$18,057

South Dakota

$9,012

$17,177

Alaska

$8,849

$22,185

Wisconsin

$8,782

$17,875

Nebraska

$8,761

$19,352

Mississippi

$8,642

$19,221

Arkansas

$8,468

$18,262

New York

$8,416

$24,231

California

$8,401

$24,015

West Virginia

$8,252

$19,312

Oklahoma

$8,064

$17,283

Texas

$8,016

$18,325

Georgia

$7,525

$18,711

Washington

$7,485

$21,027

Idaho

$7,482

$16,518

New Mexico

$7,393

$17,113

North Carolina

$7,260

$17,113

Montana

$6,993

$16,931

Utah

$6,764

$14,653

Nevada

$6,434

$18,065

District of Columbia

$6,152

N/A

Wyoming

$4,785

$14,584

Florida

$4,541

$15,543

Private vs. Public Schools

Public institutions are funded by the government, while private schools are funded by tuition and endowment funds.

Generally, private colleges have more expensive tuition than public schools. In the graph below, we can see that private four-year colleges have historically cost more than your average public four-year, public two-year, and private two-year school.

Source: Education Data

However, it’s important to note that the average cost of attendance differs from student to student.

A low-income student may receive more financial aid from private universities instead of public universities, given that several private universities are 100% need-based. On the other hand, it may be cheaper for an in-state, middle-income student to attend public schools instead of a private school, due to in-state grants.

All this is to say that you should explore your financial resources at every school you are interested in, public or private. Most schools offer an online tuition calculator that estimates what the total cost of tuition may be for your financial standing. Reach out to the financial aid office if you have any questions.

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Closing Thoughts From the Nest

As you explore your college options, be sure to make note of the average undergraduate tuition for the institutions you are interested in. Whether you plan to borrow student loans or not, it’s important to be mindful of how much your education costs.

If you’re looking for private loans to finance your education, consider using Sparrow. Sparrow offers a free, online tool that allows you to compare pre-qualifying private loans across 15+ private lenders.

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