Enrollment and tuition have a symbiotic relationship: As one increases, so does the other. At universities and colleges in the United States and Europe, both typically rise every year, but for 10 public schools in particular — and the business schools they contain — the numbers are becoming so big that even in-state students are paying top dollar.
“Opting to study at a public university in your home state can be a great way to save money on tuition,” says David Levy from Degreechoices, a team of education researchers founded in 2021 that provides financial advice and guide prospective students to find schools and careers that best suit their needs. “Students who wish to attend a college that isn’t in their home state can end up paying more than double the tuition costs of their in-state counterparts. Even so, the cost of tuition at some public colleges may be higher than you might think, especially seeing as the cost of public universities in the U.S. has nearly tripled since 1980.”
Degreechoices has published a list of public universities where tuition is highest in the U.S. — see table below. Compare the price tags here with the total cost for B-schools in Poets&Quants‘ latest ranking of the to undergraduate programs.
PUBLIC SCHOOLS WHERE TUITION IS GROWING MOST
|William & Mary||Williamsburg||VA||
|University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus||Pittsburgh||PA||
|Virginia Military Institute||Lexington||VA||
|Colorado School of Mines||Golden||CO||
|University of Virginia-Main Campus||Charlottesville||VA||
|University of Vermont||Burlington||VT||
|University of New Hampshire-Main Campus||Durham||NH||
|The Pennsylvania State University||University Park||PA||
|University of Connecticut||Storrs||CT||
|New Jersey Institute of Technology||Newark||NJ||
WILLIAM AND MARY TOPS THE LIST
Why is tuition on the rise? After a brief pause during the coronavirus pandemic and resulting economic downturn, rates are going back up, especially in major cities. The main reason is a significant uptick in the number of students: Enrollment in public schools is expected to rise to 15.1 million by 2030, three times the projected number of students attending private colleges in the same year, according to Statista data.
To put things into perspective, while the national average cost of tuition is $8,406 per year, this year the William & Mary Mason School of Business takes the cake for the top public college with the highest tuition for in-state students at $23,812 per year – a whopping $15,406 and more than 180% higher than the national average cost for tuition.
While tuition is sky high, so are the results. William and Mary, known as a “Public Ivy college,” ranked 68th this year in P&Q‘s undergraduate ranking and proves quite the valuable option when looking at the employment outcomes for their graduates. The Mason School had a solid 90% graduation rate, 28% higher than the state average and 23% above the national average. Encouragingly enough, students make about $64,723 annually 10 years post-grad, which is great to consider when looking at the hefty cost of up-front tuition. From top to bottom, the Mason School’s most popular six programs are Business Administration, Poli Sci/Government, General Psychology, Biology, Economics, and Health & Fitness.
‘ESSENTIAL FOR STUDENTS TO THOROUGHLY RESEARCH’
The runner up for the highest tuition is the (University of Pittsburgh), landing at $20,362 per year. Graduation rates are still pretty good here, with an 82% rate – about 15% above the national average. In third place comes Virginia Military institute, with tuition landing at $19,538 per year. After that comes Colorado School of Mines, at $19,538 per year, and the University of Virginia at a close $19,244 per year.
“It is essential for prospective students to thoroughly research their favorite institutions to ensure the price is affordable,” Levy says. “In addition to the tuition, there is also the cost of books, room and board, and any other expenses that may need to be considered. Those living in Virginia may find it particularly expensive to attend college in their home state as three out of the top five most expensive colleges in this study are located in Virginia.”
But there’s hope! As Degreechoices notes, while tuition sticker price has increased at top colleges, most students do not end up paying full tuition costs. In fact, the average tuition discount lands at 54.5% for students across 359 private, nonprofit colleges and universities.
See Degreechoices’ analysis of tuition at public universities & colleges here.
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