Public Universities with Lowest Out-of-State Tuition

(Man with walletI’ve updated this post with information available from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System in the fall of 2013)

Back when I was a freshman attending a rather large state university in Austin, Texas, I ran into quite a few students (relatively speaking) from the state of New York. They told me that they were attending college in Texas because our out-of-state tuition was cheaper than their in-state tuition. I only saw them that one year because the following year, the legislature raised out-of-state tuition and Texas was no longer as appealing to New Yorkers as it once was.

That sort of situation isn’t as common today as it once was but it still happens. Based strictly on an average of all the states’ public universities total cost of attendance, students who are residents in five states (New Jersey, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and California) could find it cheaper to attend public universities in South Dakota, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Nebraska, or Arkansas. Of course, any cost savings would probably be lost in travel costs and the like making the entire proposition a wash in the end.

However, out-of-state tuition is a major concern of many foreign students who don’t qualify for in-state tuition in any state. The average total cost of attendance for out-of-state residents at public colleges is $30,779, up from $29,822 in 2012.

There are 247 public institutions whose total cost of attendance is less than $30,000 compared to 108 private colleges. Even though the average has increased since 2012, there are fewer colleges whose total cost of attendance is lower than the average. In 2012, there were 277 public and 128 private institutions whose total cost of attendance was less than $30,000.

Texas has the most colleges with a total cost of attendance of $30,000 or less with 26 schools, 6 private and 20 public. Georgia had 20 followed by New York with 19 and Missouri with 18. Alabama, Louisiana, and Arkansas all had 13 or more schools below $30,000. If you’re just looking at private colleges, Tennessee, Michigan, and Missouri rank at the top along with Texas, Florida, and South Carolina.?  Wisconsin, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and West Virginia join the top of the list for public schools under $30,000.

Of schools with a total cost of attendance (out of state tuition and living expenses) less than $30,000, only 35 qualified as 50-50 schools. There were 26 public and 9 private. Not surprisingly, there are more public schools with a total cost of attendance of less than $30,000 than there are private institutions. However, since private colleges are much more likely to give institutional aid, you can’t assume that the best deal will always be a public school. (Learn how to target schools in Cutting the Cost of College Class.)

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The following table lists 355 colleges (public and private) that have a total cost of attendance of less than $30,000 according to 2013 Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System information. The five-year graduation rate is used for public schools and the four-year rate for the private schools. (This is just some of the information that you will find on the DIY College Rankings College Search?  Spreadsheet.)

Colleges with Total Cost of Attendance of $30,000 or Less

4/5 yr
Total Price Out-of-
Abraham Baldwin Agricultural CollegeGAPublic224222684
Adams State UniversityCOPublic20082029378
Adventist University of Health SciencesFLPrivate6181623274
AIB College of BusinessIAPrivate57122527
Alabama A & M UniversityALPublic38442424668
Alabama State UniversityALPublic43582022993
Alcorn State UniversityMSPublic29462920139
Alice Lloyd CollegeKYPrivate5702620300
Allen UniversitySCPrivate639021500
Angelo State UniversityTXPublic52182527935
Appalachian State UniversityNCPublic147046129881
Arkansas Baptist CollegeARPrivate959020675
Arkansas State University-Main CampusARPublic77033324729
Arkansas Tech UniversityARPublic70173519786
Bacone CollegeOKPrivate946026400
Baker College of FlintMIPrivate3580819740
Baker College of MuskegonMIPrivate3277019740
Baker College of OwossoMIPrivate1918419740
Bemidji State UniversityMNPublic37423918539
Bennett College for WomenNCPrivate6722628822
Bethel UniversityTNPrivate39716427834
Bethune-Cookman UniversityFLPrivate33181526958
Bismarck State CollegeNDPublic263117420
Black Hills State UniversitySDPublic26232518925
Blackburn CollegeILPrivate5273624584
Bowie State UniversityMDPublic36693529907
Brescia UniversityKYPrivate5461729640
Bridgewater State UniversityMAPublic79214628593
Brigham Young University-HawaiiHIPrivate25862715122
Brigham Young University-IdahoIDPrivate138152311200
Brigham Young University-ProvoUTPrivate280053117470
Bryan College-DaytonTNPrivate10955029775
California University of PennsylvaniaPAPublic65904928737
Cameron UniversityOKPublic39461621559
Central Baptist CollegeARPrivate7062022380
Central Bible CollegeMOPrivate5393420404
Central State UniversityOHPublic22552024572
Central Yeshiva Tomchei Tmimim LubavitzNYPrivate647013200
Centralia CollegeWAPublic172412603
Chadron State CollegeNEPublic17434120120
Cheyney University of PennsylvaniaPAPublic10992225876
Chicago State UniversityILPublic3585928576
Chipola CollegeFLPublic99717245
Cincinnati Christian UniversityOHPrivate6182626503
Claflin UniversitySCPrivate17962929868
Clarion University of PennsylvaniaPAPublic50224525935
Clayton State UniversityGAPublic38312027899
Cleveland State UniversityOHPublic83592228058
College of Coastal GeorgiaGAPublic198226126
College of the OzarksMOPrivate13593827276
Colorado Mesa UniversityCOPublic67232129911
Colorado Mountain CollegeCOPublic178021689
Columbia CollegeMOPrivate105702122237
Columbia International UniversitySCPrivate5385028235
Columbus State UniversityGAPublic50202528528
Concord UniversityWVPublic23722724128
Concordia College AlabamaALPrivate630318230
Coppin State UniversityMDPublic23681223363
CUNY Hunter CollegeNYPublic115483925786
CUNY Queens CollegeNYPublic113774529755
Dakota State UniversitySDPublic12262719231
Dalton State CollegeGAPublic32301320960
Davenport UniversityMIPrivate30241725825
Delaware State UniversityDEPublic34672929937
Delta State UniversityMSPublic23332726845
Dickinson State UniversityNDPublic12622617827
Dillard UniversityLAPrivate11801728556
Dine CollegeAZPublic126411779
Dixie State College of UtahUTPublic547327173
East Central UniversityOKPublic31612922131
East Georgia State CollegeGAPublic274021621
Eastern Kentucky UniversityKYPublic112883227548
Eastern New Mexico University-Main CampusNMPublic27681921276
Eastern Oregon UniversityORPublic21802628523
Edinboro University of PennsylvaniaPAPublic60244823333
Edison State CollegeFLPublic583123692
Edward Waters CollegeFLPrivate739523392
Elizabeth City State UniversityNCPublic25403822125
Emmanuel CollegeGAPrivate6952524840
Emporia State UniversityKSPublic34353827365
Fairmont State UniversityWVPublic36822822150
Fashion Institute of TechnologyNYPublic714129638
Faulkner UniversityALPrivate20561329330
Fayetteville State UniversityNCPublic39772424455
Ferris State UniversityMIPublic92763828252
Fitchburg State UniversityMAPublic34304325784
Flagler College-St AugustineFLPrivate27854728590
Florida Memorial UniversityFLPrivate15511526512
Fort Hays State UniversityKSPublic52243325614
Framingham State UniversityMAPublic36214828184
Frostburg State UniversityMDPublic43724129642
Gallaudet UniversityDCPrivate10291029852
Georgia Southwestern State UniversityGAPublic20312528135
Glenville State CollegeWVPublic11882428760
Gordon State CollegeGAPublic320120104
Grambling State UniversityLAPublic41431929937
Grand Valley State UniversityMIPublic184885626198
Great Basin CollegeNVPublic987517315
Grove City CollegePAPrivate24347723806
Hannibal-LaGrange UniversityMOPrivate9083327842
Harding UniversityARPrivate40414125532
Harris-Stowe State UniversityMOPublic1163524148
Haskell Indian Nations UniversityKSPublic7676730
Henderson State UniversityARPublic30242424132
Hilbert CollegeNYPrivate9143129390
Husson UniversityMEPrivate19402225340
Huston-Tillotson UniversityTXPrivate7661226034
Indiana State UniversityINPublic82343729772
Jackson State UniversityMSPublic58583128382
Jacksonville State UniversityALPublic61762525488
Jamestown CollegeNDPrivate8752527900
Johnson UniversityTNPrivate6904921352
Kentucky Christian UniversityKYPrivate5362829398
Kentucky State UniversityKYPublic19791625842
Lake Superior State UniversityMIPublic22433026391
Lancaster Bible CollegePAPrivate7073129150
Lane CollegeTNPrivate19811617400
Langston UniversityOKPublic19281623011
Le Moyne-Owen CollegeTNPrivate984117482
Lee UniversityTNPrivate35543924314
Lewis-Clark State CollegeIDPublic27942427356
Life UniversityGAPrivate619029187
Lincoln Christian UniversityILPrivate5461925130
Lincoln UniversityMOPublic22131622047
Lincoln University of PennsylvaniaPAPublic16823627663
Livingstone CollegeNCPrivate11331325050
Lock Haven UniversityPAPublic46934428846
Louisiana CollegeLAPrivate10671422940
Louisiana State University-AlexandriaLAPublic1271920948
Louisiana Tech UniversityLAPublic67504526749
Lourdes UniversityOHPrivate1128829950
Lubbock Christian UniversityTXPrivate13623129718
Macon State CollegeGAPublic32342021293
Madonna UniversityMIPrivate16322226202
Maranatha Baptist Bible CollegeWIPrivate7653124360
Marshall UniversityWVPublic86123926282
Martin Luther CollegeMNPrivate6795320740
Marygrove CollegeMIPrivate625429780
Massachusetts College of Liberal ArtsMAPublic14525129875
Mayville State UniversityNDPublic5682318026
McNeese State UniversityLAPublic61783026588
Mid-America Christian UniversityOKPrivate9161326426
Middle Georgia CollegeGAPublic236219069
Midland CollegeTXPublic165714124
Midwestern State UniversityTXPublic40532819467
Miles CollegeALPrivate1523621794
Minnesota State University MoorheadMNPublic55693925112
Minnesota State University-MankatoMNPublic117234425330
Minot State UniversityNDPublic22562715701
Mississippi CollegeMSPrivate27913426023
Mississippi University for WomenMSPublic19373625475
Mississippi Valley State UniversityMSPublic17092118013
Missouri Southern State UniversityMOPublic40392819688
Missouri State University-SpringfieldMOPublic135085025463
Missouri Valley CollegeMOPrivate14471629000
Missouri Western State UniversityMOPublic43202222514
Montana State University BillingsMTPublic33892828686
Montana Tech of the University of MontanaMTPublic17623629864
Moody Bible InstituteILPrivate23005525808
Morehead State UniversityKYPublic55533429237
Morris CollegeSCPrivate9581420656
Mount Carmel College of NursingOHPrivate6546228670
Mount Olive CollegeNCPrivate16763227150
Mountain State UniversityWVPrivate2624417330
Navajo Technical CollegeNMPublic90514240
New England School of CommunicationsMEPrivate5072124382
New Mexico Highlands UniversityNMPublic16751518264
New Mexico Institute of Mining and TechnologyNMPublic12434028501
Nicholls State UniversityLAPublic48853226920
North Carolina A & T State UniversityNCPublic82783525886
North Carolina Central UniversityNCPublic53273128569
North Central UniversityMNPrivate11552028960
North Dakota State University-Main CampusNDPublic106754729203
North Georgia College & State UniversityGAPublic46054727211
North Greenville UniversitySCPrivate19353429000
Northeastern State UniversityOKPublic56572120301
Northern Arizona UniversityAZPublic170764722254
Northern Kentucky UniversityKYPublic98703026426
Northern Michigan UniversityMIPublic77924024468
Northern State UniversitySDPublic16724020080
Northwest Missouri State UniversityMOPublic55554521892
Northwestern Oklahoma State UniversityOKPublic15453220178
Northwestern State University of LouisianaLAPublic53193226632
Oakland City UniversityINPrivate8074330000
Oglala Lakota CollegeSDPublic988110846
Oklahoma Christian UniversityOKPrivate16762829825
Oklahoma Panhandle State UniversityOKPublic11962715439
Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology-OkmulgeeOKPublic2198118653
Ozark Christian CollegeMOPrivate5641918604
Paine CollegeGAPrivate8151022620
Park UniversityMOPrivate11872222158
Peru State CollegeNEPublic11922015532
Philander Smith CollegeARPrivate680725028
Pittsburg State UniversityKSPublic57324225983
Point UniversityGAPrivate11702227500
Potomac State College of West Virginia UniversityWVPublic138820152
Prairie View A & M UniversityTXPublic63372825295
Purdue University-Calumet CampusINPublic55352028960
Ranken Technical CollegeMOPrivate1325026592
Regent UniversityVAPrivate13312527838
Rochester CollegeMIPrivate7012228780
Rogers State UniversityOKPublic29071526422
Rowan UniversityNJPublic89086726752
Rust CollegeMSPrivate8101314850
Saginaw Valley State UniversityMIPublic78612929557
Saint Cloud State UniversityMNPublic112034226360
Salem State UniversityMAPublic59133527989
Salisbury UniversityMDPublic73046329666
Salish Kootenai CollegeMTPrivate836921963
Sam Houston State UniversityTXPublic123154527788
Savannah State UniversityGAPublic37712325376
Shaw UniversityNCPrivate20461326998
Shawnee State UniversityOHPublic39132025723
Shepherd UniversityWVPublic34773927765
Shippensburg University of PennsylvaniaPAPublic68125829814
Slippery Rock University of PennsylvaniaPAPublic74615724998
Snow CollegeUTPublic294221630
South Dakota School of Mines and TechnologySDPublic16364122980
South Dakota State UniversitySDPublic88125420562
South Georgia CollegeGAPublic177822766
Southeast Missouri State UniversityMOPublic80084123979
Southeastern Louisiana UniversityLAPublic106762727683
Southeastern Oklahoma State UniversityOKPublic28672422440
Southern Adventist UniversityTNPrivate23641629808
Southern Arkansas University Main CampusARPublic25382821278
Southern Polytechnic State UniversityGAPublic36312528265
Southern University and A & M CollegeLAPublic51131717928
Southern University at New OrleansLAPublic165317333
Southern Utah UniversityUTPublic55562829842
Southwest Baptist UniversityMOPrivate19863829000
Southwest Minnesota State UniversityMNPublic22243419436
Southwestern Adventist UniversityTXPrivate6493328659
Southwestern Oklahoma State UniversityOKPublic36352923445
State University of New York at New PaltzNYPublic61946729958
Stillman CollegeALPrivate10302226641
Sul Ross State UniversityTXPublic14851924172
SUNY at AlbanyNYPublic119256329326
SUNY College at BrockportNYPublic64546129468
SUNY College at Old WestburyNYPublic35613228534
SUNY College at PlattsburghNYPublic54385429985
SUNY College at PotsdamNYPublic38274729487
SUNY College of Technology at AlfredNYPublic32776729076
SUNY College of Technology at CantonNYPublic29523024904
SUNY College of Technology at DelhiNYPublic26074324872
Talladega CollegeALPrivate647019596
Tarleton State UniversityTXPublic70013426133
Tennessee State UniversityTNPublic55552629959
Texas A & M International UniversityTXPublic38223525352
Texas A & M University-Corpus ChristiTXPublic65123527948
Texas A & M University-GalvestonTXPublic18122726119
Texas A & M University-TexarkanaTXPublic93925377
Texas CollegeTXPrivate833120482
Texas State University-San MarcosTXPublic237224829218
Texas Woman's UniversityTXPublic59893427933
The University of Montana-WesternMTPublic11852425711
The University of Texas at BrownsvilleTXPublic67121226246
The University of Texas at San AntonioTXPublic213162128765
The University of Texas of the Permian BasinTXPublic20273024811
The University of Texas-Pan AmericanTXPublic119553424425
Tougaloo CollegeMSPrivate9142920748
Touro CollegeNYPrivate59411027788
Troy UniversityALPublic109043123637
Truett-McConnell CollegeGAPrivate586827250
Truman State UniversityMOPublic54816425142
United States Air Force AcademyCOPublic4413830
United States Coast Guard AcademyCTPublic1045830
United States Merchant Marine AcademyNYPublic1011786603
United States Military AcademyNYPublic4624820
United States Naval AcademyMDPublic4576900
United Talmudical SeminaryNYPrivate1447018491
United Tribes Technical CollegeNDPrivate59010990
University of Alaska FairbanksAKPublic38252529598
University of Arkansas at MonticelloARPublic26762021388
University of Arkansas at Pine BluffARPublic28001921962
University of Arkansas-Fort SmithARPublic52431922024
University of Central ArkansasARPublic80773523551
University of Central MissouriMOPublic80094624643
University of Central OklahomaOKPublic110942924395
University of Hawaii at HiloHIPublic28222928208
University of Houston-VictoriaTXPublic119928320
University of Illinois at SpringfieldILPublic20476029172
University of Louisiana at LafayetteLAPublic130083227067
University of Louisiana-MonroeLAPublic49822724819
University of Maine at FarmingtonMEPublic20695629803
University of Maine at Fort KentMEPublic5642728585
University of Maine at Presque IsleMEPublic8512628082
University of MaryNDPrivate16322622936
University of Maryland Eastern ShoreMDPublic35362828723
University of Minnesota-CrookstonMNPublic13404521760
University of Minnesota-DuluthMNPublic95284925750
University of Minnesota-MorrisMNPublic17895923013
University of MontevalloALPublic22463827042
University of Nebraska at KearneyNEPublic47625225146
University of Nebraska at OmahaNEPublic93283429545
University of North AlabamaALPublic48501121892
University of North Carolina at PembrokeNCPublic43913025594
University of North TexasTXPublic228164227947
University of Northern IowaIAPublic102096228504
University of Northwestern OhioOHPrivate36913021725
University of Science and Arts of OklahomaOKPublic8903522202
University of South AlabamaALPublic86783125372
University of South Carolina-AikenSCPublic24873729122
University of South Carolina-BeaufortSCPublic14181829789
University of South DakotaSDPublic45134321623
University of South Florida-St. Petersburg CampusFLPublic25502529428
University of Southern IndianaINPublic81492927377
University of Southern MississippiMSPublic112964227313
University of West AlabamaALPublic17882324410
University of West GeorgiaGAPublic82653029718
University of Wisconsin-Eau ClaireWIPublic98385926040
University of Wisconsin-Green BayWIPublic46435025201
University of Wisconsin-La CrosseWIPublic87496325584
University of Wisconsin-OshkoshWIPublic93794324948
University of Wisconsin-ParksideWIPublic33792125717
University of Wisconsin-PlattevilleWIPublic67204324600
University of Wisconsin-River FallsWIPublic58134524880
University of Wisconsin-Stevens PointWIPublic85205524300
University of Wisconsin-StoutWIPublic69464526210
University of Wisconsin-SuperiorWIPublic21093625501
University of Wisconsin-WhitewaterWIPublic95354823837
University of WyomingWYPublic83544726802
Uta Mesivta of Kiryas JoelNYPrivate1412017100
Utah State UniversityUTPublic144354027690
Valley City State UniversityNDPublic8254024066
Vincennes UniversityINPublic670123888
Virginia State UniversityVAPublic49713629043
Virginia Union UniversityVAPrivate12961627154
Voorhees CollegeSCPrivate6322419876
Warner UniversityFLPrivate7922728702
Washburn UniversityKSPublic41922923756
Wayland Baptist UniversityTXPrivate11572022024
Wayne State CollegeNEPublic27174519300
Waynesburg UniversityPAPrivate15595030000
Weber State UniversityUTPublic114502327118
West Liberty UniversityWVPublic23153826720
West Texas A & M UniversityTXPublic51813619134
West Virginia State UniversityWVPublic19551724263
West Virginia University Institute of TechnologyWVPublic9842325177
Western Carolina UniversityNCPublic64644727438
Western Illinois UniversityILPublic95204928381
Western New Mexico UniversityNMPublic15901026838
Western State Colorado UniversityCOPublic18633529396
Westfield State UniversityMAPublic48015726413
Wichita State UniversityKSPublic85293624631
Wilberforce UniversityOHPrivate5821224400
Wiley CollegeTXPrivate12181120134
William Carey UniversityMSPrivate19333624795
Williams Baptist CollegeARPrivate5272623040
Winona State UniversityMNPublic76875026260
Winston-Salem State UniversityNCPublic50183325297
Worcester State UniversityMAPublic39014328421
Wright State University-Lake CampusOHPublic7602328244
Xavier University of LouisianaLAPrivate24813629409
York College PennsylvaniaPAPrivate47034128820
Youngstown State UniversityOHPublic103362620580

  1. Thank you for sharing this, Michelle. Although these may be inexpensive out of state school choices, the quality of these schools vary. As you indicated, it is likely that there is a close-by, high quality, small, liberal arts school whose “net tuition” (published tuition minus average scholarship given) is competitive or even lower than paying out-of-state tuition at a public university.

    For example, Missouri Southern in Joplin, MO is on the spreadsheet. About 110 miles away, in Point Lookout, MO, is College of the Ozarks. Almost all of the ranking systems rank College of the Ozarks significantly higher than Missouri Southern. Yet the net tuition for College of the Ozarks is $11,212 while net tuition for out-of-state students at Missouri Southern is $13,546 according to Clearly, College of the Ozarks is the better value between the two schools for non-Missourian students.

  2. Michelle Kretzschmar says:

    Hi Chuck,
    I completely agree. In general, I think this list is valuable for those who don’t meet the financial aid deadline for private schools and therefore aren’t likely to receive significant financial aid to reduce the cost. Then there are cases such as international students who have a harder time qualifying for financial aid. And apparently, there are some people who will just insist on attending an out of state college no matter the circumstances.

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