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The Most Expensive Public Colleges in America

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Students who attend a four-year, in-state public college pay an average of $11,582 a year, according to new data from the Department of Education. Plenty of students pay a lot more than that, with some paying more than double the average.

When considering the cost of college, prospective students and their families need to consider more than sticker price, because some institutions are more generous with non-loan financial aid than others. What you really want to look at is the average net cost: the cost of attendance for a typical student (tuition, fees, books and supplies, room and board and other expenses) minus the average amount of grant and scholarship aid. A high-tuition school may actually be much more affordable than one with a lower sticker price and smaller aid packages.

The 10 Most Expensive Public Colleges

There’s a fair amount of overlap between high-tuition and high net-price schools, but the top 10 in each category are pretty different. For cost-conscious students considering a public university, you’ll want to know if any of these expensive schools are in your state:

10. University of Colorado Boulder
Net price: $19,991
Percent of students receiving non-loan aid: 41

9. Ohio State University
Net price: $19,998
Percent of students receiving aid: 73

8. University of Missouri-Kansas City
Net price: $20,017
Percent of students receiving non-loan aid: 85

7. Pennsylvania State University Erie-Behrend College
Net price: $20,516
Percent of students receiving non-loan aid: 55

6. Temple University (Pennsylvania)
Net price: $21,012
Percent of students receiving non-loan aid: 78

5. University of New Hampshire
Net price: $21,424
Percent of students receiving non-loan aid: 61

4. University of Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania)
Net price: $21,641
Percent of students receiving no-loan aid: 50

3. Colorado School of Mines
Net price: $21,980
Percent of students receiving non-loan aid: 74

2. Pennsylvania State University
Net price: $22,560
Percent of students receiving non-loan aid: 37

1. Miami University (Ohio)
Net price: $24,674
Percent of students receiving non-loan aid: 72

Those figures are quite different from those of the least expensive schools — somehow, Sitting Bull College in North Dakota has a net price of negative $231 — but they’re nothing compared with some private schools and for-profit colleges.

Affording college is about much more than tuition bills. Where you can go depends on how much you’ve saved, how many scholarships you’ve earned and, most important, your potential return on investment for the degree you seek. If you’re going to take out student loans, you have to be confident you’ll make enough money to repay them, otherwise you could face financial difficulties like poor credit (you can check your credit scores for free here) and wage garnishment in the future.

More on Student Loans:

Image: George Chriss

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