If you’re looking to save money on your college education, attending a public school is a potential way to secure a deal on tuition. By choosing a public school in the state in which you live, you can ratchet your bill down further.
Among the 452 public colleges that reported the data to U.S. News in a survey of undergraduate programs, the average tuition and fees for in-state residents was $7,042 for the 2010-11 school year. (In addition, 121 public colleges surveyed did not report tuition data.) But some schools—and some states—offer better deals to their residents than others.
[Find out how you can score in-state tuition even if you’re from out of state.]
In North Carolina, for instance, in-state students can apply to four of the nation’s top 10 least expensive schools for state residents, including Fayetteville State University, which places third on the list below. At that school, in-state tuition and fees were $3,637 for the 2010-11 academic year. Even the state’s most expensive school for in-staters, the University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill, charged $6,665 in tuition and fees—a figure still well below the national average.
Further north, Pennsylvania students may have to pay a bit more, as the least expensive package in the state among public schools that reported data was $7,305 at Lock Haven University. In-state students who attend Penn State University—University Park face the highest in-state package in the nation: $15,250 in tuition and fees for the 2010-11 school year.
[See the 10 most expensive public schools for in-state students.]
Among the 10 schools that offer the lowest sticker prices for tuition and fees to in-state students, only three were ranked in the U.S. News Best Colleges lists. (The others earned a Rank Not Published, or RNP, distinction, designating schools that rank in the bottom one-fourth of their rankings category.) The five military academies, which charge $0 in tuition and $0 in fees in return for postgraduate service, were excluded from this tuition list, as were schools designated as Unranked by U.S. News.
[Considering a private school? These are the 10 least expensive.]
These are the 10 least expensive public schools for in-state students, accounting for tuition and required fees (but not room and board, books, transportation, or other miscellaneous costs):
|School Name||In-State Tuition & Fees (2010-11)||U.S. News Rank & Category|
|New Mexico Highlands University||$2,952||RNP, Regional Universities (West)|
|Macon State College (GA)||$3,082||RNP, Regional Colleges (South)|
|Fayetteville State University (NC)||$3,637||RNP, Regional Universities (South)|
|California State University—Northridge||$3,702||77, Regional Universities (West)|
|Elizabeth City State University (NC)||$3,707||22, Regional Colleges (South)|
|University of Wyoming||$3,726||153, National Universities|
|University of North Carolina—Pembroke||$3,890||RNP, Regional Universities (South)|
|North Carolina A&T State University||$3,899||RNP, National Universities|
|Eastern New Mexico University||$3,900||RNP, Regional Universities (West)|
|Fort Hays State University (KS)||$3,942||RNP, Regional Universities (Midwest)|
Don't see your school in the top 10? Access the U.S. News College Compass to find tuition data for every school, complete rankings, and much more.
U.S. News surveyed more than 1,700 colleges and universities for our 2010 survey of undergraduate programs. Schools self-reported a myriad of data regarding their academic programs and the makeup of their student body, among other areas, making U.S. News's data the most accurate and detailed collection of college facts and figures of its kind. While U.S. News uses much of this survey data to rank schools for our annual Best Colleges rankings, the data can also be useful when examined on a smaller scale. U.S. News will now produce lists of data, separate from the overall rankings, meant to provide students and parents a means to find which schools excel, or have room to grow, in specific areas that are important to them. While the data comes from the schools themselves, these lists are not related to, and have no influence over, U.S. News's rankings of Best Colleges or Best Graduate Schools.