Most Americans agree that there is value to higher education and that having more individuals with a college degree is good for society. What worries people, and what prevents many from pursuing a college education, is the cost.
The average cost of four-year college tuition in the United States has more than doubled over the past 20 years.
Because of the complex web of institutional funding programs, including student aid, grants, work-study, and loans, however, the cost of attending college — as presented to the public — is rarely equal to what students actually pay. And the cost of college tuition after tuition discounts, still varies considerably by type of institution, family financial status, academic performance in the first year of college, and a range of other factors, including the geographic location of the institution.
Using the most recent government statistics, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed first-year net tuition prices for thousands of four-year higher education institutions to identify the most expensive college in each state. Nationwide, California Institute of the Arts has the most expensive net price, at over $50,000. California is also home to the nation’s least expensive college tracked by federal statistics, Zaytuna College. Zaytuna first-year students pay on average just $1,135 after institutional funding is subtracted.
In an interview with 24/7 Wall St., Richard Reeves, branch chief for the postsecondary branch of National Center for Education Statistics, helped unpack the complex of factors involved in the price of going to college in the United States. Reeves noted four arguments that can explain rising costs, as well as how prices can vary within states: State school funding policies, the level of tuition discounting, the size of student fees, and how many students are applying each year all drive costs.