This story comes from Move.org.
Whether you’re a prospective student or a proud parent, choosing the right place to go to college means deciding among many options that may or may not fit in your budget.
Where you live affects the cost of your college tuition, and most schools charge more for students from out-of-state. If you move to a different state, can you actually save money? Or is it worth staying close to home?
Compare the costs of in-state schools to your out-of-state picks before deciding. Also, consider a state’s average in-state net cost: in-state tuition for first-time students, plus living expenses, books and supplies, minus scholarships and financial aid.
The team at Move.org put together a list of states ranked by in-state tuition costs for public and private colleges that offer bachelor’s degrees and higher.
For inclusion into the average tuition cost for each state, public and private colleges met the following criteria:
- Must offer bachelor’s and graduate degrees
- Must operate on an academic year (non-open enrollment)
- Must offer in-person learning (not online or “distance-education” only)
Numbered rankings were determined solely by in-state tuition, while out-of-state tuition and net cost were included for reference. The list starts with national averages, and then moves from lowest in-state tuition to highest, including Washington, D.C.
In-state tuition: $15,368
Out-of-state tuition: $18,978
Net cost for first-time, in-state students: $16,188
Nationwide, the average net cost for first-time students is slightly higher than in-state tuition. In some states, students receive enough financial aid to drop net costs below the annual costs of tuition.
In-state tuition: $3,468
Out-of-state tuition: $8,927
In-state net cost: $8,065
When it got nicknamed the Equality State, Wyoming followed through by having the lowest cost for college across the board. If you’re coming from out of town, you’ll still get out-of-state tuition about $10,000 less than the national average.
Even though in-state first-time students’ net costs jump up by about $4,600, it’s the lowest net cost in the nation, making it a much more affordable option.
50. New Mexico
In-state tuition: $6,160
Out-of-state tuition: $9,978
In-state net cost: $9,966
New Mexico has more to be proud of than their delicious green chiles. The Land of Enchantment comes with the second-lowest college costs in the nation.
Resident students will be happy to know they’re spending $9,208 less than the national average. And if you’re looking for a new destination, even out-of-state students will spend about $9,000 less on tuition in New Mexico than the national average.
49. North Dakota
In-state tuition: $7,753
Out-of-state tuition: $9,845
In-state net cost: $11,371
In the Sioux State, you’ll pay the third-lowest in-state tuition costs in the nation.
North Dakota’s average in-state tuition falls $7,615 below the national average, making the Rough Rider State an easy place to stay for prospective students.
But even non-residents will see a far lower price for tuition, $9,133 less than the nation’s average.
In-state tuition: $7,827
Out-of-state tuition: $13,724
In-state net cost: $11,302
The Treasure State’s tuition costs are the fourth-lowest in the nation, letting you keep more of your money to spend on outdoor gear (or to work less and get out more).
Montana’s in-state, net cost for first-time students is about $4,800 less than the national average. Out-of-state tuition falls $5,254 below the national average.
In-state tuition: $8,547
Out-of-state tuition: $10,814
In-state net cost: $10,827
You won’t be singing the blues if you want to study near the Mississippi River. You can save quite a bit by staying in the Magnolia State, which has the fifth-lowest college in-state tuition cost.
Mississippi’s in-state tuition is $6,821 lower than the national average, and its out-of-state tuition is $8,164 less than the national average.
In-state tuition: $9,209
Out-of-state tuition: $11,286
In-state net cost: $11,977
Arkansas’s low in-state tuition makes it one of the cheapest places to attend college.
The Natural State is welcoming to both budget-friendly residents and out-of-state students, with average tuition coming in at $6,159 and $7,692 below than the national average, respectively.
In-state tuition: $9,286
Out-of-state tuition: $15,359
In-state net cost: $13,051
The Last Frontier might end up as one of your first picks for places to live as a college student.
The Land of the Midnight Sun’s in-state tuition is $6,082 less than the national average. Even though Alaska’s average net costs are $13,051, that’s still $3,137 less than the nation’s average.
In-state tuition: $9,682
Out-of-state tuition: $14,618
In-state net cost: $14,165
If you need an island getaway, then studying in the Aloha State is a great way to save. Even for out-of-state students, the tuition costs are $4,360 less than the national average.
And if you were lucky enough to be born on the beautiful beaches and mighty mountains of Hawaii, your net costs are $2,023 less than the national average.
In-state tuition: $9,935
Out-of-state tuition: $15,184
In-state net cost: $14,435
If you’re ready to feel the heat, Arizona can be a great place to save money while studying. Compared to the national average, tuition is $5,433 less in the Grand Canyon State.
The cost rises when you consider books, supplies and living expenses, but you’ll still spend $1,753 less than the national average in net costs.
In-state tuition: $10,633
Out-of-state tuition: $14,623
In-state net cost: $13,208
Alabama’s one of the most budget-friendly places to study in the U.S..
The Yellowhammer State’s in-state tuition falls $4,735 less than the national average; out-of-state tuition is $4,355 less than the national average.
Your net costs will be higher than tuition (which is common), but Alabama’s college costs work out to be nearly $3,000 less than the national average.
In-state tuition: $11,077
Out-of-state tuition: $16,256
In-state net cost: $14,903
The Gem State just cracks the top 10 list for “least expensive” colleges for in-state tuition.
On average, your in-state tuition for Idaho will be $4,291 less than the national average.
In-state tuition: $11,397
Out-of-state tuition: $15,925
In-state net cost: $12,771
You won’t have to put off paying for college as long in the Sooner State. With Oklahoma’s college costs, you can spend at least $3,000 less than the national average in tuition and net costs.
There’s still a sizable tuition cost difference for in-state and out-of-state students, but that’s how it is across the nation.
In-state tuition: $11,801
Out-of-state tuition: $15,631
In-state net cost: $14,651
For those looking to lock into Louisiana’s music or cuisine scene, paying for college can be a lot more reasonable than in the majority of states.
For folks from out of town, you’ll still pay about $3,300 less for out-of-state tuition than the national average to study as in the Pelican State. We’d call that a budget-friendly win.
38. West Virginia
In-state tuition: $11,847
Out-of-state tuition: $15,646
In-state net cost: $12,420
When country roads take you home to the Mountain State, expect to pay $3,521 less on average in-state tuition than the national average of $15,368.
Even though first-time students’ net cost is more than in-state tuition, they’ll still pay $3,768 less than the national average net cost.
In-state tuition: $12,012
Out-of-state tuition: $15,636
In-state net cost: $13,838
Not everything’s bigger in Texas. The Lone Star State falls below the national average across the board for costs.
But be mindful that your net cost will still be more than your tuition, so save up to see those big bright stars at night while you study.
36. South Dakota
In-state tuition: $12,086
Out-of-state tuition: $13,037
In-state net cost: $16,145
If you want to study in the land of the Lakota, your out-of-state tuition price will be nearly $6,000 below the national average cost for out-of-state tuition.
South Dakota’s net cost for a first-time, in-state student is barely below the national average, but when you’re a college student every penny counts.
In-state tuition: $12,141
Out-of-state tuition: $16,758
In-state net cost: $18,096
When it comes to studying in the Sagebrush State, both in-state and out-of-state tuition costs look like a good gamble.
However, your net cost as a resident first-time student in Nevada will add up to be $1,908 above the national average.
34. North Carolina
In-state tuition: $12,210
Out-of-state tuition: $16,643
In-state net cost: $13,295
If you’re looking to take flight to study in North Carolina, it’s a little easier on your budget than most.
The Tar Heel State is a better-than-average deal for college costs in all three categories. Your average net cost as a resident will be $2,893 less than the national average.
In-state tuition: $12,650
Out-of-state tuition: $16,622
In-state net cost: $18,370
The Beehive State has a good tuition cost for both in-state and out-of-state students, but the net cost is $2,182 more than the national average.
You may avoid some higher rent costs by living outside of Salt Lake City, but you’ll need to factor supplies and other living expenses into your budget.
In-state tuition: $12,673
Out-of-state tuition: $14,548
In-state net cost: $14,386
Things are cheaper than average in Kansas. The Sunflower State’s tuition is close to $2,700 cheaper than the national average for in-state tuition.
And if you’re coming to the Jayhawk State from out of town, you’ll pay about $4,400 less than the national average for out-of-state tuition.
In-state tuition: $12,964
Out-of-state tuition: $16,314
In-state net cost: $14,478
If you’re feeling peachy, Georgia’s average in-state tuition falls $1,710 below the national average.
However, your net cost will be higher as a first-time student than your in-state tuition, meaning even if you qualify for financial aid, your living expenses will still cost more than tuition alone.
In-state tuition: $13,138
Out-of-state tuition: $19,114
In-state net cost: $17,296
If you’re a resident of Colorado, your in-state tuition will be $2,230 less than the national average in-state tuition.
However, the Centennial State is a slightly worse deal for out-of-state tuition compared to the national average ($136 more), and the average net cost for in-state students amounts to $1,108 more than average.
In-state tuition: $13,740
Out-of-state tuition: $17,427
In-state net cost: $14,593
The Evergreen State is the first state to fall below the national average for all three categories: In-state tuition, out-of-state tuition, and net-cost for first-time students.
Between those cost categories, you’ll save about $1,500 compared to the average cost of college in the U.S..
In-state tuition: $14,468
Out-of-state tuition: $15,710
In-state net cost: $16,915
Compared to the national average, the Cornhusker State is a good deal for both in-state and out-of-state tuition.
In fact, if you’re looking to move to Nebraska, you’ll pay about $3,200 less than the national average for out-of-state tuition.
27. South Carolina
In-state tuition: $14,472
Out-of-state tuition: $19,324
In-state net cost: $15,061
South Carolina is a good deal, as long as you’re paying the in-state rate. Your net costs are $1,100 below the national average.
For out-of-state tuition though, non-residents still cough up $346 more than the national average to study in the Palmetto State.
In-state tuition: $14,615
Out-of-state tuition: $17,713
In-state net cost: $17,310
The Sunshine State is the first to land in the bottom half of the most-expensive in-state college tuition list.
Even when you’re in-state, the net cost of living as a first-time student exceeds the national average net cost ($16,188) by nearly $1,200.
In-state tuition: $15,128
Out-of-state tuition: $20,153
In-state net cost: $13,662
The Bluegrass State is a pretty good deal compared to the national average for in-state tuition and net cost.
But if you’re from out of town, you’ll be paying $1,175 more than the national average for out-of-state tuition.
In-state tuition: $15,143
Out-of-state tuition: $19,561
In-state net cost: $16,648
California’s not known for being cheap, but its average in-state college tuition actually lands $225 below the national average of $15,368. With that in mind, it’s easier to stay in the Golden State for some schooling.
In-state tuition: $15,276
Out-of-state tuition: $17,236
In-state net cost: $16,532
The Show-me State is the closest to charging the national average for in-state tuition — within $100.
However, the net cost in Missouri falls slightly above the national average ($16,188).
In-state tuition: $15,796
Out-of-state tuition: $18,961
In-state net cost: $14,786
The Wolverine State, surrounded by the Great Lakes, will cost first-time resident students $14,786 on average.
In-state tuition: $15,932
Out-of-state tuition: $20,482
In-state net cost: $17,981
The Diamond State’s in-state tuition is only $564 higher than the national average, but its net cost is $1,793 more expensive on average.
For out-of-state students, the cost for tuition in Delaware is $1,504 above the national average.
In-state tuition: $16,439
Out-of-state tuition: $20,889
In-state net cost: $16,871
The Old Line State has quite the upcharge for out-of-state tuition, costing $4,450 more than in-state tuition, and nearly $2,000 more compared to the national average.
But with Johns Hopkins University, the University of Maryland, and the United States Naval Academy, Maryland’s appeal remains high.
19. New Jersey
In-state tuition: $16,530
Out-of-state tuition: $19,173
In-state net cost: $15,475
Tuition prices aren’t necessarily great in the Garden State.
But the net cost for residents is $713 less than the national average, so your living expenses and financial aid situation can help you stay home to root for the Devils.
In-state tuition: $16,570
Out-of-state tuition: $17,547
In-state net cost: $16,543
In the Land of 10,000 Lakes, you can beat the national average net cost by $355, making it an easier budget choice for someone straying from home.
Minnesota’s colleges charge $1,202 more for in-state tuition than the national average.
In-state tuition: $16,955
Out-of-state tuition: $21,212
In-state net cost: $18,242
Virginia has a high out-of-state tuition cost compared to the rest of the country, coming in at $2,234 more than the national average.
If you’re coming from another place, it may hurt your wallet a bit to know it will cost you a whopping $4,257 more than a resident of The Old Dominion.
In-state tuition: $17,015
Out-of-state tuition: $21,080
In-state net cost: $16,979
Tennessee is appealing for many reasons, one of which is its lively music scene. But to hear the honky-tonk rockin’ while you’re studying, you’ll pay a bit more.
The Volunteer State has a higher-than-average cost across the board, but in particular, out-of-state students will pay $2,102 more than the national average.
In-state tuition: $17,130
Out-of-state tuition: $19,851
In-state net cost: $17,600
Ohio comes in at 15th place on the most-expensive in-state tuition list.
The Buckeye State comes in with a net cost of about $1,400 more than the national average, and nearly $1,800 more than the national average for in-state tuition.
In-state tuition: $17,176
Out-of-state tuition: $21,915
In-state net cost: $17,366
The Beaver State bears a higher-than-average cost for both in-state and out-of-state residents.
In fact, Oregon’s out-of-state tuition is nearly $3,000 more than average. But for the bountiful beauty of this green state, the price may be worth it.
In-state tuition: $17,218
Out-of-state tuition: $19,725
In-state net cost: $16,347
You don’t have to be a diehard cheesehead to want to study in Wisconsin. But The Badger State’s college costs are more expensive than the national average across the board.
Although it’s worth considering that in-state net costs are only $159 above the national average.
In-state tuition: $17,489
Out-of-state tuition: $21,049
In-state net cost: $14,511
If you’re a fan of Chicago, or the Prairie State at large, then you’ll be looking at an in-state tuition cost $2,121 higher than the national average.
However, when financial aid is considered, the average cost actually drops $1,677 below the national average ($16,188), which is the second-best net cost difference in the top 25 most-expensive states.
In-state tuition: $18,855
Out-of-state tuition: $22,239
In-state net cost: $17,056
Maine is yet another New England state that costs more than the U.S. average for in-state tuition.
The Pine Tree State’s appeal will cost first-time students $17,056 on average.
10. New York
In-state tuition: $19,738
Out-of-state tuition: $21,667
In-state net cost: $17,440
Of course the Empire State can’t miss out on being one of the most expensive places in the country.
However, its out-of-state tuition cost still falls nearly $15,000 below the cost of its neighbor Rhode Island’s out-of-state tuition.
In-state tuition: $20,208
Out-of-state tuition: $21,453
In-state net cost: $17,238
Plan on going to the Hawkeye State for school? You’ll be paying one of the top 10 highest prices in the nation, which may be worth it for football and state fair fans.
In-state tuition: $20,977
Out-of-state tuition: $27,653
In-state net cost: $17,668
Connecticut is known as the Constitution State, and with it comes one of the more expensive average college tuitions.
Coming from out of state? Expect a nearly $7,000 increase compared to in-state tuition.
7. New Hampshire
In-state tuition: $21,579
Out-of-state tuition: $26,404
In-state net cost: $21,466
New Hampshire is the perfect place for fans of skiing and leaf-falling sightseeing, but is that enough for you to pay $6,211 above the national average for tuition?
The Granite State’s one of the many New England states to rank high for expensive tuition costs.
In-state tuition: $22,010
Out-of-state tuition: $25,280
In-state net cost: $18,117
The Hoosier State comes in at $6,642 more than the national average for in-state tuition.
Indiana’s deeply entrenched sports legacy makes it one of the top spots for college basketball players and fans.
In-state tuition: $23,618
Out-of-state tuition: $26,088
In-state net cost: $21,646
Pennsylvania rounds out the top five most expensive colleges with an average in-state tuition of $23,618.
The Keystone State boasts some of the most important American historical sites in Philadelphia and Gettysburg, which may be worth the price of admission.
4. Washington, D.C.
In-state tuition: $27,531
Out-of-state tuition: $28,075
In-state net cost: $25,559
The capital of America ranks in fourth place for its average tuition of $27,531.
Of course, being surrounded by politics and U.S. history makes the price more worthwhile for some folks.
In-state tuition: $29,564
Out-of-state tuition: $31,995
In-state net cost: $24,523
Coming in at the third most expensive, the Bay State’s average cost of in-state tuition is $29,564.
Massachusetts’s high cost might be too much for some, but it’s the price to bask in the Old Colony State’s glory.
In-state tuition: $30,858
Out-of-state tuition: $34,925
In-state net cost: $23,915
The Green Mountain State’s cozy appeal comes with a big price tag, especially for out-of-towners.
The forested New England state may be known for its maple syrup, but its high tuition isn’t so sweet.
1. Rhode Island
In-state tuition: $33,230
Out-of-state tuition: $36,601
In-state net cost: $28,503
There’s nothing tiny about Rhode Island’s college tuition.
With the most expensive average tuition at $33,230, the Ocean State hosts some of the oldest universities in America.
But is that worth $17,862 more than the average state’s in-state tuition? That’s a personal budget choice.
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