The 10 cheapest colleges in the US
Student loan debt is becoming an enormous burden for the many college graduates, many of whom can't find jobs. How do you avoid it? Attend a cheaper college, and use loans as a last resort.
This post is from Brandon Ballenger at partner site Money Talks News.
Parents always cry at their child's graduation, but these days it might be for a different reason: Two-thirds of recent college grads left school with an average debt more than $25,000. That’s 5 percent higher than last year.
The numbers from The Project on Student Debt make it easier to understand why college graduates are a vocal part of Occupy Wall Street, and why President Obama recently took some steps to help with student loans.
But why do students owe so much? One reason might be that many don’t think before they borrow. They assume repayment will be easy with the cushy new job they'll get after graduation. Faced with this economy, unemployment or a low-paying gig is much more likely. But another reason is that tuition rates have jumped sharply in the past few years as state education budgets keep getting slashed.
The U.S. Department of Education’s College Affordability and Transparency Center shows college funding by states dropped a national average of 7% in 2008. Over the next two school years, tuition jumped more than 35% on more than 30 state university campuses. States like Arizona have cut university funding in half since 2007, CNN reports, and it shows in their tuition rates.
Here are the top 10 rate hikers between 2007 and 2010, according to the Department of Education:
- Northern New Mexico College -- 51%
- Florida State College at Jacksonville -- 49%
- San Diego State* -- 47%
- Georgia State -- 46%
- California State* -- 46%
- Alabama State -- 43%
- Georgia Institute of Technology -- 41%
- San Jose State -- 39%
- California State Polytechnic -- 39%
- Arizona State -- 38%
This list doesn't paint the complete picture of college costs: There are simply too many factors to consider. For example, two schools listed here (the ones with asterisks) have multiple campuses that faced huge percentage hikes. If they were listed individually, 13 California State campuses would be in the Top 30, and yet two of its campuses are also among the Department of Education's list of cheapest schools to attend. Post continues after video.
Some of the steepest hikes (in percent) are not at the most expensive schools (in total) – the top two on this list are still under $3,000 after financial aid, while everybody else on the list is more than $4,000. If you want to get into the details and look at actual tuition rates or specific schools, play with the Department of Education calculator yourself.
Not interested in the details? Well, here are 10 of the cheapest campuses, according to the same source…
- Sitting Bull College (ND) -- $938
- South Texas College -- $1,317
- The University of Texas-Pan American -- $1,646
- Indian River State College (FL) -- $2,138
- California State University-Dominguez Hills -- $2,451
- California State University-Los Angeles -- $3,263
- Elizabeth City State University (NC) -- $3,335
- Palm Beach State College (FL) -- $3,490
- Haskell Indian Nations University (KS) -- $4,302
- CUNY Lehman College (NY) -- $4,335
You might notice that some California State campuses aren't as pricey as the first list would suggest — although if they keep hiking rates, they could get there fast.
These are the net prices per year after typical grants and scholarships. Students from out of state or who qualify for less aid would probably pay more.
More on Money Talks News and MSN Money:
The author must have mistakenly omitted the least expensive college of all:
The college of hard knocks.
I have 2 daughters who recently graduated from two different institutions (one a small private college, and one a large state university). They are indeed struggling to find employment like many of this unfortunate generation while trying to find a way to pay off staggering amounts of student loan debt. I must agree with the idea presented by the article that part of the problem is the idea (heavily encouraged by the schools themselves, despite what fuddy duddy Dad said) that once a degree is obtained, the job and salary are mere weeks away. It is unfortunate that the expectations are not managed better, but when schools are strapped for cash, the last thing they want to do is tell their revenue stream that the paper you get at the end of the higher education experience doesn't guarantee anything other than a payment.
I agree that libraries are great references and can really help the education process - and no, there are more than homeless folks there. Having at least a BS/BA/BBA is a kind of "gotta have" to be competitive in many (but not all) fields.
You can be a police officer with an Associates as well as an LVN/LPN and even an RN in some states - and both of those jobs make fine money.
I'd recommend taking classes at a small community college for an associates and then moving on to using non-traditional/work experience/CLEP & DSST stuff if college isn't your cup of tea.
Parents and students alike make many mistakes when it comes to both the planning and the undertaking of an education, and those who fail to plan ahead and make rational choices will suffer via paying way too much for way too little.
I've got a BS and an MA and am working on another MA. All in fields that I've either been in or plan to go into....and most importantly I'm interested in and enjoy taking classes. You've simply got to take some responsibility for it.
A student should not let his/her ego get in the way of facts.
Some have the ability, determination and intellect to attend and complete college, some do not. Determine which one you are before committing to $50/80 thousand in student loans.
There is no shame in being a really first class, electrician, plumber or welder and the pay is high, jobs always available someplace and you don't end up owing $50/60 thousand in student loans.
As a college grad from Podunk Univ. you will not be chosen for the internship at a major commercial bank or Industrial company. They may hire you as a third or forth level manager but the best pay you can hope for won't be as much as the fore mentioned electrician for ten or fifteen years..
Many students from smaller colleges end up starting their own business. If you are carrying a student loan, it is not always easy to obtain the financing for a startup.
Take a realistic look at yourself and determine if you really have the determination and the skills to justify committing to a large student loan. There are other ways to go.
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