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The Most (and Least) Cost of College Tuition in The U.S. Richard Drew/Associated Press

Between tuition and textbooks and Mandala tapestries and sugar-free Redbulls, the cost associated with higher education has never been, well, higher. According to the latest data from Visual Capitalist, the price of obtaining a bachelor’s degree from a four-year college institution in the U.S. has soared by more than 1200 percent since 1980. During the 1980 – 1981 academic year, the average cost of private college tuition with fees and room & board was $17,030, while the average cost of public college in-state tuition at a state university with fees and room & board was $7,770.

Fast-forward to the 2020 – 2021 academic year, the average cost of a private college is $35,087, while public, in-state tuition at a state college is $9,687.

One major reason behind the spike in both private and public school college costs cuts to state funding. “Nearly every state has shifted the responsibility of funding higher education from the state to students over the last 25 years, with the most drastic shift occurring in the past decade,” Michael Mitchell, lead author of the report and senior director and counselor of Equity and Inclusion at the CBPP told CNBC. Other factors include overall cost of living, health care costs, and retirement costs for faculty and staff.

It makes sense, then, that the average cost of college would vary vastly from state to state. In this article, we’ve ranked the most expensive and most affordable colleges. To rank the different states, we considered tuition rates for full-time college students. We included both private and public universities and compared average in-state tuition to average out-of-state tuition.

The 10 States with the Highest Tuition Costs

1. Rhode Island

  • In-state tuition: $33,230
  • Out-of-state tuition: $36,601

2. Vermont

  • In-state tuition: $30,858
  • Out of state tuition: $34,925

3. Massachusetts

  • In-state tuition: $29,564
  • Out-of-state tuition: $31,995

4. Washington, DC

  • In-state tuition: $27,531
  • Out-of-state tuition: $28,075

5. Pennsylvania

  • In-state tuition: $23,618
  • Out-of-state tuition: $26,088

6. Indiana

  • Popular schools: Notre Dame, Purdue, and Indiana University
  • In-state tuition: $22,010
  • Out-of-state tuition: $25,280

7. New Hampshire

  • In-state tuition: $21,579
  • Out-of-state tuition: $26,404

8. Connecticut

  • Popular schools: Yale
  • In-state tuition: $20,977
  • Out-of-state tuition: $27,653

9. Iowa

  • In-state tuition: $20,208
  • Out-of-state tuition: $21,453

10. New York

  • Popular schools: Cornell, NYU, and Columbia
  • In-state tuition: $19,738
  • Out-of-state tuition: $21,667

11. Maine

  • In-state tuition: $18,855
  • Out-of-state tuition: $22,239

12. Illinois

  • In-state tuition: $17,489
  • Out-of-state tuition: $21,049

13. Wisconsin

  • In-state tuition: $18,855
  • Out-of-state tuition: $22,239

14. Oregon

  • In-state tuition: $17,176
  • Out-of-state tuition: $21,915

14. Ohio

  • In-state tuition: $17,130
  • Out-of-state tuition: $19,851

15. Wisconsin

  • In-state tuition: $17,218
  • Out-of-state tuition: $19,725

16. Tennessee

  • In-state tuition: $17,176
  • Out-of-state tuition: $21,915

17. Tenessee

  • In-state tuition: $17,015
  • Out-of-state tuition: $21,080

18. Virginia

  • In-state tuition: $16,955
  • Out-of-state tuition: $21,212

19. Minnesota

  • In-state tuition: $16,570
  • Out-of-state tuition: $17,547

20. New Jersey

  • In-state tuition: $16,530
  • Out-of-state tuition: $19,173

Keep in mind, though some schools might have less-than-affordable tuition prices, they make up for it by offering generous financial aid and scholarships to students. By researching your different options, you can avoid sacrificing your preferences for location, academic programs, and campus life just so you can spend less money on college education.

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The 10 States with the Lowest Tuition Costs

1. Wyoming

  • In-state tuition: $3,468
  • Out-of-state tuition: $8,927

2. New Mexico

  • In-state tuition: $6,160
  • Out-of-state tuition: $9,97

3. North Dakota

  • In-state tuition: $7,753
  • Out-of-state tuition: $9,845

4. Montana

  • In-state tuition: $7,827
  • Out-of-state tuition: $13,724

5. Mississippi

  • In-state tuition: $8,547
  • Out-of-state tuition: $10,814

6. Arkansas

  • In-state tuition: $9,209
  • Out-of-state tuition: $11,286

7. Alaska

  • In-state tuition: $9,286
  • Out-of-state tuition: $15,359

8. Hawaii

  • In-state tuition: $9,682
  • Out-of-state tuition: $14,618

9. Arizona:

  • Popular schools: University of Arizona and Arizona State
  • In-state tuition: $9,935
  • Out-of-state tuition: $15,184

10. Alabama

  • In-state tuition: $10,633
  • Out-of-state tuition: $14,623

11. Idaho

  • In-state tuition: $11,077
  • Out-of-state tuition: $14,623

12. Oklahoma

  • In-state tuition: $11,397
  • Out-of-state tuition: $15,925

13. Louisiana

  • In-state tuition: $11,801
  • Out-of-state tuition: $15,631

14. West Virginia

  • In-state tuition: $11,847
  • Out-of-state tuition: $15,646

15. Texas

  • In-state tuition: $12,012
  • Out-of-state tuition: $15,636

16. South Dakota

  • In-state tuition: $12,086
  • Out-of-state tuition: $13,037

17. Nevada

  • In-state tuition: $12,141
  • Out-of-state tuition: $16,758

18. North Carolina

  • In-state tuition: $12,210
  • Out-of-state tuition: $16,643

19. Utah

  • In-state tuition: $12,650
  • Out-of-state tuition: $16,622

20. Kansas

  • In-state tuition: $12,673
  • Out-of-state tuition: $14,548

Watch: This Map Shows The Most Common Last Name In Your State

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A lover, fighter, and freelance writer, María Cristina hunts down buzzworthy stories by day and trains to be a championship kickboxer by night. As a full-time digital nomad, she's lived everywhere from Chicago to Mexico City to Medellín to Bali -- but Austin, Texas will always be home.
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