Do the words all-nighters, after parties and froomies (yes, that’s a friend who is also your roommate), ring a bell for you? Probably one of the most exciting chapters of our lives is going to college. If you’re in your final year of high school now, chances are that you’ve already shortlisted quite a few of your preferred colleges.

And for many of us, costs could be a major factor in finalizing the names on that list, right? If that’s the case with you as well, we have something to help you with your research. Just read along to know the average college tuition costs in all the US states. Along with the in-state and out-of-state tuition costs, we’ve also mentioned the average living expenses that you could incur for a year. Have a look at the figures and make an informed choice!

Infographic - Average College Tuition Costs by State
Infographic – Average College Tuition Costs by State

Breakdown Of Your College Costs

When you take into account the different costs like books and supplies, accommodation, tuition and transportation, you realize that college expenses are just so much more than shelling out those random bucks to try out different dishes in the canteen. Before we give you a list of the average college tuition costs by state, let us first tell you about the breakdown of these expenses.

Tuition Costs:

The first and foremost college related expense that you would incur are the tuition costs and fees. These costs are basically the price that you pay for attending the classes in your college. Now depending on your residency, tuition costs could further be categorized as in-state tuition costs and out-of-state tuition costs.

If you’re attending a college in the same state that you’re currently residing in, and are paying the taxes of that state, you would be considered an in-state student, meaning you will be charged an in-state tuition fee. On the other hand, if you’re attending college in a state where you aren’t a resident, then you would have to pay the out-of-state tuition costs.

Usually, the in-state tuition costs are lower than the out-of-state tuition costs, simply because the residents of the state are already involved in the funding of these institutions through their taxes.

  • Average Public In State Tuition Costs: $9,890 (For 4 years)
  • Average Public Out Of State Tuition Costs: $19,670 (For 4 years)

Room and Board Costs:

These costs are related to your food and accommodation expenses. Most campuses offer a variety of dorm and hostel options to provide accommodation to students on campus. You may even choose an off campus accommodation for yourself, and if you do so, you’ll have your own rent and food costs to consider in your college expenses.

  • Average Public In State Room Costs: $10,820 (For 4 years)
  • Average Public In State Room Costs: $10,820 (For 4 years)

Books and Supplies:

Another common college expense for every student is the yearly books and supplies for their course. While different courses have their own set of materials required, you could even save a little on these costs by either borrowing from a senior or renting used books.

  • Average Cost Of Books and Supplies: $1,280 (For both in-state and out-of-state students for a period of 4 years)

Transportation Costs:

Now this cost may be subjective to each student, depending on whether they are residing on or off campus. With this, the total transportation costs for you would be based on the distance that you travel, your mode of travel and how often you travel.

For instance, you may be able to get special student discounts for public transportation, while if you have a car, you’ll have to shell out for the gas and maintenance fees of your vehicle as well. On an average, your transportation costs for 4 years of college could be around $1,200, if you’re spending most of your time on campus.

Personal Expenses:

All your other miscellaneous expenses like your mobile bill, laundry, eating out or shopping will make up another category of personal expenses for your college. This could again depend on every student’s needs and requirements, but on an average, these other expenses could be around $2,300.

You can take into account all these common costs when you’re trying to get a budget for your college expenses. Apart from these, you may also have some other expenses like moving costs, if you’re an out-of-state student or are planning to get accommodation on the campus.

Average College Tuition Costs By State Statistics

Sr. NoStateIn – State Tuition CostsOut – of – State Tuition CostsAverage Living ExpensesNet Costs (For 1 Year)
9.District of Columbia$7,020$12,973$17,500$25,450
30.New Hampshire$16,970$27,455$15,700$30,110
31.New Jersey$14,380$21,179$14,650$27,330
32.New Mexico$6,890$13,477$13,400$19,470
33.New York$8,340$20,956$15,650$23,700
34.North Carolina$8,995$18,183$13,125$21,010
35.North Dakota$8,125$11,896$10,230$19,460
40.Rhode Island$14,180$30,276$15,500$28,860
41.South Carolina$13,440$25,084$13,475$25,725
42.South Dakota$9,570$12,220$11,300$20,260
49.West Virginia$8,440$17,996$12,500$20,620

Note: These statistics are for the average tuition costs of a public institution. If you choose to enroll in a private institution, your average college tuition costs would vary accordingly.

Also Read: Top-rated Out of State Moving Companies | How To Establish Residency In A New State?

Process Of Enrolling In A College

While some of us may get guidance from our parents or siblings who have been to a college, many of us experience the jitters of both excitement and nervousness for the entire admission process. Let us help you figure out a rough timeline outlining the different aspects of the college enrolment process, the criteria you need to meet and the documents you may need.

  • First things first. As soon as you’ve decided to pursue your higher education, you will have to start preparing a list of your preferred colleges you may want to apply to. You can do so by checking out the relevant college websites and getting information on the courses and facilities offered. You may also need to take the costs factor into consideration while narrowing down your choices.
  • After you’ve selected your preferred colleges, you will have to start filling out their application forms. Keep in mind that you may be charged some application fee by a few colleges. While submitting the application form, also take note of the documents that your college requires.

Some common documents that you may need for the admission process are:

  • Your high school transcripts. If you’re a foreign student, you may have to submit the equivalent documents of your country. You can confirm the same with the college as well.
  • Standardized Test Scores like SAT or ACT. And some foreign students may have to submit additional test scores like the GRE, GMAT, IELTS or TOEFL.
  • Letters of Recommendation (LORs) – You may need around 2 – 3 LORs from your teachers, counsellor or your employer, if you were employed with a professional company.
  • Some other additional documents that you may need based on your college requirements are a Resume, a Statement Of Purpose (SOP) and essays, if needed.

Once you have all the required documents in place and have submitted them along with your application form, the next step could probably be the interview process. Make sure you follow all the deadlines in the application process and get yourself prepared for beginning this new journey.

Student Loan: Procedure and Requirements

When you add up the different expenses associated with college, it may become a little overwhelming for many. Especially when your dream college is in a state which has amongst the most expensive tuition costs. Luckily, you don’t have to give up on your dream college because of the expenses as the US Government does provide federal student loans as some financial aid.

Under this federal student loan program, the US Department of Education is your lender, and you have 4 main types of direct loans available. To apply for either of these, you would first have to fill the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.

  • Direct Subsidized Loans – Eligible for undergraduate students to demonstrate financial need for college expenses. The interest rate for these loans is around 2.75%.
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans – Available for all undergraduate, graduate and professional students, irrespective of their financial needs. While the interest rate for a direct unsubsidized loan is the same like the direct subsidized loan for an undergraduate student, you may have to pay a higher interest rate around 4.3% if you’re a graduate or a professional student.
  • Direct PLUS Loans – Available to graduate and professional students with a credit check. Parents of dependent undergraduate students could also apply, in absence of any financial aid. You will be given this type of a loan at an interest rate of around 5.3%
  • Direct Consolidation Loans – This could combine all eligible federal student loans into a single loan.

As a US citizen, you may be eligible to apply for these federal student loans. But if you’re an international student, you could check the available international student loans that you could be eligible for.

Read Also: How To Pack For College?

Frequently Asked Questions

Which State Has The Cheapest In State Tuition?

Wyoming has the cheapest in state tuition costs amongst all the states in the US. On an average, the in state tuition costs are around $4,280 in the Equality State. Even when you combine these costs with the average living expenses, the net costs for a year comes to around $14,600. So, Wyoming is definitely one of the cheapest states for you to attend college in.

How Much Does 4 Years Of College Cost on Average?

As per a report shared by, the average cost of college for a single student in the US is around $35,720 per year. Going by this data, 4 years of college would cost around $140,000 on average.

However, the total cost of 4 years of college for you would depend on a few factors like whether you’re an in-state or an out-of-state student and whether you’re staying on campus or off campus. Additionally, if you’re enrolling in a private or public university, you would also decide the total costs of your college.

What State Has The Cheapest College?

Whether you’re an in-state or an out-of-state student, you would probably find the cheapest colleges in the state of Wyoming. Some of the other US states that have affordable colleges are South Dakota, New Mexico and Arkansas.

What State Has The Highest In State Tuition?

The State of Vermont is said to have the highest in state tuition costs of around $19,000. When you add this to the average living expenses of around $15,000 in the state, your net college costs for one year would be around $34,000, making colleges in Vermont amongst the most expensive ones in the country.


Making the most out of your school and college years is something that many of us look forward to, right? While college years mark a new phase in your life, it is also an important milestone for your career. Now that you’ve got a rough idea of how the expenses for your dream college can be like, you can get yourself prepared for this new journey.

And, if you’re looking for some good affordable moving companies to help you move to your dream college, you can also check out our suggestions for the Top 4 Affordable Moving Companies in the US

Also See: Best Cities For Business Graduates To Move To