How Much Does College Cost?

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How Much Does College Cost?

The number one question that students and families ask about attending college is how much does college cost? The cost of attendance or COA is like the sticker price for college. Every year the cost of attendance goes up but merit and need based scholarships and grants may cover part of COA. College expenses could be tuition, fees, housing, books, supplies, transportation and other out of pocket expenses. 

According to NCES, the estimated total cost of college at a public institution is $27,457, $47,940 at private nonprofit institutions, and $26,261 at private for-profit institutions in 2021 to 2022 

How Much Does College Cost?

Each year for every state the cost of attendance keeps rising. It’s typically cheaper to attend an in state college rather than out of state. According to NCES, out of state students in the U.S. paid an average of $27,457 more in cost of attendance (COA) than in state students in 2021-22.

Also, the average cost of college may vary between public and private institutions along with two vs four year schools. Keep in mind to calculate other costs such as housing, books, supplies, transportation and other personal expenses. 

Massachusetts has the highest in state average cost of college which is $67,953. District of Columbia offers the lowest in state average cost of college at $6,152. The chart below shows the average cost of four year college in each state for in state tuition and out of state tuition.

  Public CollegePrivate College
RankingStateIn State TuitionOut of State TuitionIn State TuitionOut of State Tuition
5New Mexico$17,516$21,952$37,201$37,201
7North Dakota$18,362$13,973$24,900$24,900
9South Dakota$17,459$13,194$36,145$36,145
11North Carolina$18,264$23,452$51,868$51,868
17West Virginia$20,011$22,915$22,236$22,236
37New York$25,082$20,304$60,677$60,677
39South Carolina$23,600$33,217$38,477$38,477
43Rhode Island$27,872$32,910$64,025$64,025
48New Jersey$28,633$29,681$53,717$53,717
49New Hampshire$29,381$32,035$33,197$33,197
51District of Columbia$6,152$13,004$62,714$62,714

How Much Does it Cost to Study Abroad in College? 

The range of programs and countries makes it hard to get an exact bottom line on whether a college overseas is cheaper. Just like in the states, there are private and public colleges. Also, the cost of living varies in different countries and cities.

When you do your math, you want to factor in the expenses that go into study abroad programs. Apart from tuition and fees, you need money for housing, food, travel and transport to and from college. Also, there is insurance to cover medical, dental and travel.

You also want to factor in the exchange rate for US dollars and if you are eligible for financial aid. That said, there are countries that offer free college or very affordable tuition. So, you may be able to satisfy your wanderlust while saving money.

7 Countries with Free College or Affordable Tuition

1. Germany

Tuition is free in most states, but you could pay tuition fees of about $1,793 USD and a semester contribution of up to $418 USD and living costs. The average German student has expenses of $979 USD. 

2. Iceland

Tuition is free, but at public universities you pay an annual administration fee which differs at each college. The cost of living for food and housing of about $1,613 per month. 

3. Norway

Tuition is free at public universities, but you might have to pay fees of $33 to $65 USD and the cost of living is high. It may be worth checking if financial support is available to offset your living expenses. 

4. Austria

If you have a Residence Permit – Student, the average per semester cost is $868 USD. Your housing costs (rent, food, etc.) are additional expenses as well.

5. France

Public universities in France may cost from $178 to $1075 USD per term. You also need at least $514 per month to survive but that is low and varies by region. Paris is usually on the high side.

6. Luxembourg

The University of Luxembourg is the only public university in the country. Here, you need a living budget of $1,405 USD. You also pay a registration fee of $478 for semesters 1 and 2. Then $239 for semesters 3 to 6.

7. Spain

Depending on the cost per credit at Spanish universities, international students might have to pay up to $7,172 USD per year for undergraduate programs. The average student also spends at least $956 USD per year on books alone, and cost of living tends to be high in big cities like Madrid.

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Sources for school statistics is the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics.

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