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Penn State Dominates List of Most Expensive Public Universities

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Among the 30 most expensive public schools in the country, 21 are campuses of Pennsylvania State University, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

Penn State’s main campus in State College, Pa., is the most expensive state school in the nation, charging $14,416 a year in tuition and required fees. The least expensive school in the Penn State system is in Shenango, in far western Pennsylvania, where tuition is $12,050.

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The only other states with more than one school among top 30 are New Jersey. The New Jersey Institute of Technology is the fifth most expensive public school in the nation, with a tuition of $12,856, and the College of New Jersey comes in 11th, at $12,722.

The data comes from the College Affordability and Transparency Center, which the education department unveiled this summer. The numbers are from the 2009-2010 school year, the latest for which information is available.

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Outside of those two New Jersey campuses, Penn State dominates the list. Tuition is high at state universities in Pennsylvania at least partly due to a series of budget cuts enacted in recent years by the governor and state legislature. In the latest round, this summer state leaders were considering cutting support for the university system by 50 percent.  By late June they settled on a 19-percent cut, reducing state funding for the university system by $68 million, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Another public school, the Pennsylvania College of Technology, received a five-percent budget cut. Tuition at that school is $12,480, making it the thirteenth most-expensive state school in the country.

Pennsylvania’s dominant place among most expensive public universities may remain once the latest tuition data is added by the education department. In response to the latest budget cuts, the system announced it would raise tuition by 4.9 percent for in-state students attending the main campus, and an additional 3.5 percent for out-of-state students, the Inquirer reported.

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