Economy

This Is the Cheapest State to Get a College Education

A debate about the value of a college education has gone on for years. People with college degrees tend to make more than high school graduates. However, these college graduates often face tens of thousands of dollars in student loans. And, over the years these loans must be paid off people have to put off purchases which include their first house.

Another debate is about which college major people should choose. Computer scientists often make more money than people who have English Literature degrees. However, not all students want to become computer programmers.

Some students get lucky because the cost of a college education varies from state to state. To determine the cheapest states to get a college education, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed Global Student Costs, a report compiled by DealA, a Singapore-based free coupon website for online shoppers. DealA used several college-related cost data, such as tuition fees and dormitory cost, from several sources, to arrive at an overall student cost score, with those with higher numbers being less expensive.

The average cost of tuition and fees to attend a public college in-state is $10,388 for the 2021-2022 year, according to U.S. News. Public school cost is about 73% less than the average sticker price at a private college of $38,185. The average cost for out-of-state students at public colleges is $22,698.

The least expensive states for a college education are the Plains states as well as states in the South and the West.

Oklahoma has one of the cheapest average costs of living out of all 50 states, and the Sooner State has the highest student cost score of 8.78, meaning it is the least expensive when all factors are taken into account, according to DealA.

North Dakota, with a growing student and general population, is one of the least expensive states for students at private colleges, with an average cost of about $14,016 per year — the cheapest out of all 50 states. For public colleges, tuition fees are about $8,260 per year.

Arkansas’ varied natural environment is a draw for students. The Natural State has one of the lower average tuition fees at public colleges, at around $7,699 per year.

The least expensive state for a college education is Oklahoma. Here are the details:

Cost of living index score (US=100): 87.9
> Average cost of student accommodation: $5,816
> Public tuition fees: $7,710
> Private tuition fees: $18,097
> Overall student cost score: 8.78/10

Methodology: To determine the cheapest state to get a college education, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed Global Student Costs, a report compiled by DealA, a Singapore-based free coupon website for online shoppers.

DealA sourced the cost of living index for each state as of 2021 from the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center. The U.S.’s cost of living is 100, and lower index values mean lower cost of living and vice versa. The average cost of public and private college tuition for the academic year 2021-2022 in each state was sourced from College Tuition Compare. The average annual cost of a college dormitory room for full-time students at degree-granting postsecondary institutions is for the academic year 2018-19 and was sourced from the National Center for Education Statistics.

DealA gave each state a normalized score out of 10 points for each of the criteria, then calculated the average score out of 10 for each one to arrive at an overall student cost score, with those with higher numbers being less expensive.


Click here to see all the states with the cheapest college education.

Sponsored: Find a Qualified Financial Advisor

Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to 3 fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.