written by: Austin Kaye-Smith•edited by: Ronda Bowen•updated: 6/9/2011
Tuition (and the various fees associated with attending an institution of higher learning) can be a hard pill to swallow for many college students already struggling financially. It's important to be able to find tuition costs both on the Internet and offline so as to put things in perspective.
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The Loathsome Fees
It's the two words every college student hates to hear: "tuition" and "fees". Yet, tuition is a big reality. Schools, both public and private, have hefty tuition burdens on their student body. It's fortunate that students who are able to attend state universities (i.e. public schools) do so at a lower rate than their private school counterparts. Thanks to the the frequently published "college guides", the overabundance of brochures, and the World Wide Web, it's easier than ever to find out just how much your first college year will hurt your wallet.
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The Internet and Its Resources
In all actuality, there are many sources on the Internet that are very reliable. For one, visiting a university's official page will yield the most up-to-date, accurate financial costs of attendance. All noteworthy, officially recognized universities have websites that are consistently updated.
College Board, a nonprofit organization based in the United States, is the most reliable source for finding state university tuition and fees on the Internet. The College Board oversees and administers the SAT, PSAT/NMSQT, and CLEP (College Level Examination Program). You can simply type in the state university you wish to research into the search bar on College Board's homepage and go! You can research and compare various other state universities' tuition fees side-by-side on the website.
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Books, Guides, and Literature
A lot of the information comparing state universities' tuition fees is available in hardback. College Board publishes its famous "College Handbook" every year, including thousands of top-ranked colleges within its pages. The "Fiske Guide to Colleges", by renowned editor and publisher Edward B. Fiske, is also published annually.
The U.S. News and World Report puts out its "Ultimate College Guide" at the beginning of every school year, as well. The U.S. News and World Report also happens to publish one of the most famous lists of college rankings and comparisons in the United States. The U.S. News College Rankings frequently list the best colleges, graduate schools, and even world's universities.
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Special State-by-State Guides (A-G)
Alabama. The Alabama Commission on Higher Education publishes an index of 4-year public universities in the state along with contact information. Along with that, the Alabama State Treasury lists out all public university and college fees for everyone to see.
Alaska. According to the Census' Consumer Price Index, Alaska has lower inflation rates than the country's average. There are only three major state universities in Alaska (all of which are a part of the University of Alaska system): Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Southeast. Consult U of A's website for further reference on fees.
Arizona. Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University, and the University of Arizona are the three major public institutions of higher learning in the Copper State. The Consumer Price Index in Arizona is higher than the United States' average.
Arkansas. The University of Arkansas system dominates the public college scene in this state. It has a low rate of tuition per hour taken. The State of Arkansas has a low cost of living and annual pay. The Arkansas Association of Public Universities is a great resource for college descriptions, trends, and contact information on each one.
California. California has a high cost-of-living that might be difficult for out-of-state students to deal with (unless they come from other affluent states). The University of California system (UC) attracts many scholars from all over the world. There is no official, united source of official online information for students to learn from in California.
Colorado. The Colorado Department of Higher Education has a comprehensive list of all public universities in Colorado (as well as 4-year colleges). Colorado has a high rating on the CPI (Consumer Price Index), although equally high salaries. Out-of-state students might have to take out loans to cover inflation. There are 13 major public institutions of higher learning in Colorado, most of which have moderate costs and fees.
Connecticut. The University of Connecticut has the highest cost for out-of state students while Central Connecticut State University has the lowest, relatively. Connecticut has a high cost-of-living mixed with very high salaries in-state.
Delaware. The "First State" does not have a unified comparison of state universies' tuition fees. The Princeton Review is the best guide for schools in the Northeast like the University of Delaware and other schools within the state (both public and private).
Florida. The Flordia Department of Education's website is a great tool for comparing state schools' costs. Tuition is kept low by Florida's low CPI rating.
Georgia. The University System of Georgia has a comparison of all its different institution's costs online, with contact information. Georgia's low cost-of-living is great for out-of-state students. The state's wide variance of public schools (21 major institutions) makes its hard to compare all at once (although College Board provides a nice tool for this).
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Special State-by-State Guides (H-Mar)
Hawaii. There are three public universities in Hawaii that aren't community colleges, all of which are apart of the University of Hawaii System. U of H posts its tuition and fees online, breaking it down year by year.
Idaho. The State of Idaho lists out its public and private colleges and univerisites online. By clicking on each university's name you will be lead to that specific college's website, where detailed information on tuition and fees is available.
Illinois. Like Idaho and several other states, Illinois has its public unverisites' information listed out on their website. Click on each university to see its website with up-to-date information on costs. The Illinois Community College Board is also a great resource for non-4-year institutions of higher learning in the state of Illinois.
Indiana. There is no special, official list of public colleges in Indiana. The US News ranks Indiana's public universities while also giving great insight into tuition and admissions.
Iowa. Iowa's official website has a list of public unversities in the state, various descriptions of each, contact information, and a link to the schools' website. Iowa has a slightly low cost-of-living and CPI rank.
Kansas. There are lots of public colleges in Kansas: from the University of Kansas to Washburn University. Unfortunately, Kansas has not compiled a list that compares all of its institution's fees in one location. Check out College Board and US News' rankings for their comparison tools.
Kentucky. Kentucky has its Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, listing out and describing various colleges within its website. The site will link to the universities' website to consult costs of attendance.
Louisiana. The Louisiana Board of Regents compares all of the state's public university systems. OSFA (The Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance) has a list of financial aid and scholarship information for each public Louisiana institution.
Maine. Maine has it's own list of public colleges/universities and community colleges. Each school website will give students accurate information concerning financial costs of attendance.
Maryland. The Higher Education Commission of Maryland's list of 4-year colleges gives students a whole list of every post-secondary school in the state. Online comparisons are available on the schools' websites.
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Special State-by-State Guides (Mas-Ne)
Massachusetts. Massachusetts' website has a great list on all the available public colleges in the state. The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education also has a similar list of the state's campuses.
Michigan. The State of Michigan runs a list of all the current post-secondary schools within its borders that are supported publicly. The University of Michigan, itself, runs three of the main campuses.
Minnesota. There is no official comparison nor list of all the public colleges in Minnesota. Tuition and fees information are available on each separate website, with the University of Minnesota having comparison tools for all of its campuses.
Mississippi. There aren't too many state universities in Mississippi, but its official website also provides notation on each one of them (even the private ones). Mississippi isn't exactly known for supporting out-of-state residents financially, with schools such as Mississippi State almost doubling the in-state price.
Missouri. Missouri provides one of the best guides out of all of the 50 states to its university systems and their associated costs. On the state's website you can see tuition-saving tools and even financial aid information.
Montana. All students should check out the Montana Guaranteed Student Loan Program, which helps all students in the state pay for their higher educational aspirations. The State of Montana lists out all of its universities' contact phone numbers on its website, including financial aid, tuition, enrollment, and housing services for every major college.
Nebraska. Nebraska's Department of Education has some information relating to public colleges within the state, but no tuition information. That being what it is, the University of Nebraska (which encompasses a plurality of state tertiary schools) has a comparison of all its branches' costs.
Nevada. Nevada has a number of varied, public institutions. The University of Nevada, Las Vegas has its own tuition calculator, so does the University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada State College, and the various 2-year community colleges within the state.
New Hampshire. The New Hampshire government posts information for in-state residents while the New Hampshire Postsecondary Education Commission leads all students through the various public colleges. The University of New Hampshire, Keene State College, Granite State College, Plymouth State University, and the University of New Hampshire are some of the major institutions in the "Granite State".
New Jersey. The Garden State not only publishes a list of their colleges and universities by sector, but it also showcases their different profiles (to include tuition and cost-of-attendance). This is a combined effort by the state and united collegiate community to prevent college drop outs.
New Mexico. Although some information is published concerning the state of higher education in New Mexico, there is no official data. The University of New Mexico maintains a list of all the institution's websites. The Public Education Department does not concentrate on tertiary education tuition costs on its website.
New York. New York City is dominated by the CUNY (City University of New York) system. All of the CUNY branches are listed on New York City's website. The State of New York is predominantly served by the SUNY (State University of New York) system. SUNY lists its tuitions and fees on its website. Outside of the CUNY and SUNY systems are the government-ran service academies, which do not have tuition.
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Austin Kaye-Smith continues to list, state by state, resources for state university tuition information. Learn how to find fees and determine how much you might have to pay to attend university in any given state.
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Special State-by-State Guides (No-S)
North Carolina. The University of North Carolina's 17 institutions are the main public tertiary schools in the state. On their website you can view a profile or summary of each college, with links to each university's fiscal services website.
North Dakota. Some fiscal information on aid is available on the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction's website. The North Dakota University System's campuses are listed on its website, along with information on each. Tribal colleges, such as Sitting Bull College, are not apart of the North Dakota University System. Costs and fees for each college can be found on their respective websites.
Ohio. The Ohio Board of Regents has a list of all the state's campuses (independent, 2-year, and public). The University System of Ohio also has some nice profiles on each, with cool cost-comparison tools.
Oklahoma. Oklahoma's Department of Commerce has reported that the state has a relatively low cost-of-living (good new for out-of-state students). The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education post great information on paying for college in Oklahoma.
Oregon. Oregon has a Student Assistance Commission that helps to figure out collegiate costs and how to reduce them. There is a large number of state-supported institutions in Oregon; its largest Research university is Portland State University and its biggest community college is Portland Community College. New students should visit the Oregon University System's tuition and fees page.
Pennsylvania. Every public college in Pennsylvania posts their tutition online (such as Penn State's tuition page).The Colleges of PA website is a good resource for comparing Pennsylvania's schools.
Rhode Island. The State of Rhode Island has four public universities: The University of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College, the Community College of Rhode Island, and the Naval War College (service academy, no tuition). The links to each tuition/cost page have been included.
South Carolina. The University of South Carolina System, the predominant public collegiate system, gives a profile on each school on its website. The Citadel, which is heavily financed by the government, has a tuition calculator. Other schools have tuition schedules, like South Carolina State University. The South Carolina Information Highway has the phone number of each college's financial services office.
South Dakota. Check out the South Dakota Information Center for information on the state's public colleges. The six main, public universities and colleges in South Dakota are: Black Hills State University, Dakota State University, Northern State University, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, South Dakota State University, University of South Dakota. Click on a college's name to be taken to its respective tuition page.
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Special State-by-State Guides (T-W)
Tennessee. The Tennessee Higher Education Commission files a list of all the public universities in the state, to include the University of Tennessee and Tennessee State University systems. The list compiles phone numbers, websites, and addresses. More information on each college's system and tuition is available on the Tennessee State University and University of Tennessee websites.
Texas. Texas has an abundant amount of information available to those wishing to attend its various state systems (such as the Texas A&M system, University of Texas system, the Texas Tech system, and Texas State system). Due to the state's somewhat fair standing when it comes to educational attainment, the Texas government has established websites and programs like College For All Texans to better inform its citizenry. Texas Higher Education Data is another great website for comparing costs among the public schools within the Lone Star State.
Utah. The Department of Education in Utah frequently updates information its colleges and universities and educational resources. I'm Higher has good cost-comparing data on each public institution in Utah.
Vermont. Singular, notable public colleges like the University of Vermont have their own tuition and fee's page. UnivSource has a comparative list of each university in Vermont.
Virginia. The State Council of Higher Educaiton for Virginia posts a list of Virginia's public colleges and schools authorized to operate within the state. It also posts research on the institutions, including cost and tuition comparisons.
Washington. The Higher Education Coordinating Board of Washington has some nifty data, to include financial aid information and a list of each state-sponsored college. The two systems of Washington (the Washington State University and University of Washington systems) each operate 4 branches. Singular colleges, such as Bellevue College, have their tuition and fee rates online.
West Virginia. U101 has some good profiles on West VA's premiere colleges, although not much cost analysis is available. The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission details information on each of their public universities, their schedules, websites, and addresses.
Wisconsin. The University of Wisconsin has a number of campuses all around the state. Breif profiles are available on Forward Wisconsin's page and data is available on the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction's website. All public, 4-year undergraduate colleges are apart of the University of Wisconsin system (which has its own page on tuition and fees).
Wyoming. U of W's tuition and fees page goes over that particular college's varying costs. The other public college in Wyoming (Western Wyoming Community College, Sheridan College, Northwest College, Laramie County Community College, Eastern Wyoming College, Central Wyoming College, and Casper College) have their own tuition pages on each corresponding website. The University of Wisconsin lists its colleges out, as well.
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Things to Keep in Mind
One should realize that state tuitions and fees are not "one size fits all". Some students pay for different parking passes, books, classes, and services. This doesn't even take into account the fact that many students choose to stay on campus (e.g. room and board) while others opt to find off campus accommodations. Factors are usually listed on the univeristy's "cost of attendance" page, a tool that takes into account every cost of living and attending that particular school.
Room and board is accurately estimated from the provider itself. Although the living quarters might be located on campus, private companies might lease the space for their own uses. Call the organization's leasing office (whether it be public or private) for the most up-to-date expenses. It is best to research costs for yourself based on previous reviews by friends and others online. Some states have notably higher costs-of-living than others, such as New York and Texas. A resident in Austin would have to expect much higher rates in large, metropolitan cities such as New York City. That being what it is, each college is different; just because one is in an expensive state does not indicate that the institution itself will be costly. CNN Money provides a reliable cost-of-living comparison between two areas in the United States.
Some of the best tools for comparing state universities' tuition and fees include the various college guides out there, the U.S. New rankings, and the College Board. Always find diverse opinions from the World Wide Web on the different aspects of a particular institution of higher learning; one has to remember that tuition isn't the only factor in college attendance.