The U.S. News Short List, separate from our overall rankings, is a regular series that magnifies individual data points in hopes of providing students and parents a way to find which undergraduate or graduate programs excel or have room to grow in specific areas. Be sure to explore The Short List: College and The Short List: Grad School to find data that matters to you in your college or grad school search.
After high school graduation, some students get an itch to venture from their home state, or set their heart on a school on the other side of the country. Attending an out-of-state public school may lead to care packages replacing actual visits from parents, and paying for college may be tougher when facing out-of-state tuition.
However, while an in-state public education is usually one of the cheapest routes to higher education, many schools offer out-of-state prices that let students bloom far from where they're planted at an affordable price.
Of the 414 ranked public colleges and universities that submitted 2011-2012 total cost data to U.S. News in an annual survey of undergraduate programs, the average cost of out-of-state tuition and fees was $17,785—almost $10,000 less than the average cost among private schools. In addition, 94 public colleges and universities surveyed did not report tuition data.
[These are the 10 least expensive private schools.]
New Mexico Highlands University, which charged the least for out-of-state students in the 2010-2011 school year, tops the list again this year with its tuition and fees totaling $5,328. This year's 10 public schools with the least expensive tuition and fees for out-of-state students have an average cost of $6,674 for tuition and required fees—nearly $1,000 cheaper than the average among the 10 least expensive public schools for out-of-state students for the 2010-2011 school year. The six least expensive public schools for out-of-state students last year are on the list again this year.
Five of the 10 schools on this year's list fall into the Midwest Regional Universities ranking category, including three Minnesota schools: Minnesota State University—Moorhead, Southwest Minnesota State University, and Bemidji State University. The remaining five are ranked as Regional Universities either in the West or South, except for the lone school ranked among National Liberal Arts Colleges: Louisiana State University—Alexandria.
The five military academies, which charge $0 in tuition in return for postgraduate service, were excluded from this list, as were schools designated by U.S. News as Unranked. U.S. News did not calculate a numerical ranking for Unranked programs because the program did not meet certain criteria that U.S. News requires to be numerically ranked.
These are the 10 least expensive public schools for out-of-state students, based on tuition and required fees (figures do not include room and board, books, transportation, and other miscellaneous costs):
|School name (state)||Tuition and fees (2011-2012)||U.S. News rank & category|
|New Mexico Highlands University||$5,328||RNP*, Regional Universities (West)|
|Peru State College (NE)||$5,648||RNP, Regional Universities (Midwest)|
|Southern University—New Orleans||$5,678||RNP, Regional Universities (South)|
|Minot State University (ND)||$5,763||110, Regional Universities (Midwest)|
|Eastern Oregon University||$6,639||RNP, Regional Universities (West)|
|Minnesota State University—Moorhead||$7,378||81, Regional Universities (Midwest)|
|Southwest Minnesota State University||$7,624||108, Regional Universities (Midwest)|
|Bemidji State University (MN)||$7,796||91, Regional Universities (Midwest)|
|Midwestern State University (TX)||$7,810||RNP, Regional Universities (West)|
|Louisiana State University—Alexandria||$7,978||RNP, National Liberal Arts Colleges|
*RNP denotes an institution that is ranked in the bottom one fourth of its rankings category. U.S. News calculates a rank for the school but has decided not to publish it.
Don't see your school in the top 10? Access the U.S. News College Compass to find information about financial aid and scholarships, as well as complete rankings and much more.
U.S. News surveyed more than 1,800 colleges and universities for our 2011 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 the data comes from the schools themselves, these lists have no influence over U.S. News's rankings of Best Colleges or Best Graduate Schools.