Most Affordable Public Colleges

Look no further than these seven public schools for ridiculously cheap tuition.

By Sydney Nikols | February 17, 2017

Schools with low tuition will help you keep your student debt down.
Photo: Thinkstock

Getting a college education is hugely important, but it may not be worth borrowing tens of thousands of dollars in order to enroll. The National Center for Educational Statistics reports that the annual cost of tuition for an in-state student is $15,918. If you’re looking to take advantage of cheap annual in-state tuition at a public school in your area, count your lucky stars if one of these seven schools is within driving distance.

Check out these public schools if you’re looking to take advantage of cheap annual in-state tuition.

1. United States Military Academy at West Point

Tuition and Fees: $0/per year

The only exception to this list’s rule, this West Point, NY-based school is free regardless of what state you come from. In exchange for five years of service after graduating, students at the United States Military Academy get a great education (the school ranked 17th on U.S. News and World Report’s list of the best national liberal arts colleges), room, board, and even an annual stipend for absolutely no cost at all. So what’s so hard about military school anyway? (We kid, we kid…)

Westpoint is located above the banks of the Hudson river.

2. New Mexico Highlands University

In-State Tuition and Fees: $4,000/per year


New Mexico Highland University’s location in Las Vegas, NM, is rural (remember, this isn’t Las Vegas, Nevada), and the school is surprisingly small – only 2,416 undergrads are enrolled and most classes have less than 20 students in them. You don’t have to sweat whether or not you’ll get in, either – the school accepts 100 percent of applicants.

3. University of Wyoming

In-State Tuition and Fees: $4,404/per year

University of Wyoming, located in Laramie, WY, has extensive undergrad, grad, and research programs, but still manages to maintain a small-school feel (their student-to-faculty ratio is an impressive 14 to 1). Popular majors include education, nursing and psychology.

4. Elizabeth City State University

In-State Tuition and Fees: $4,000/per year

Ranked 21st on U.S. News and World Report’s list of best regional colleges in the South, Elizabeth City State University, located on the northeastern coast of North Carolina, doles out need-based financial aid to a full 97.5 percent of full-time undergrads, meaning you’ll most likely pay even less than the already-cheap tuition.

5. University of North Carolina at Pembroke

In-State Tuition and Fees: $4,000/per year

University of North Carolina at Pembroke states that they’re committed to serving the local region, maintaining a diverse population, and making education accessible to everyone. We can definitely vouch for them on that last item – 77.6 percent of undergrads receive need-based financial assistance toward the already inexpensive tuition, and the most popular major at the school is (you guessed it!) education.


6. North Carolina A&T State University

In-State Tuition and Fees: $5,422/per year

We’re not sure if you’ve noticed, but North Carolina knows how to keep things cheap. North Carolina A&T State University, located in urban Greensboro, is the third NC-based school on our list that keeps in-state student costs down. As an added bonus, 85.4 percent of full-time undergrads receive need-based financial aid.

NC A&T has more African-American engineers graduate from their program than almost any other college in the United States.
Photo: Ncat.edu

7. Cal State University at Northridge

In-State Tuition and Fees: $6,296/per year

Located in sunny Los Angeles County, California State University at Northridge is a large school (31,119 undergrads are enrolled) that’s turned out a lot of famous alums – Eva Mendes, Paula Abdul, and former state senator Richard Alarcon all enjoyed this school’s awesomely cheap tuition.

Today’s lesson: Those of us who aren’t North Carolina residents are obviously doing something wrong (though Californians, Wyoming residents, and New Mexicans aren’t doing so bad for themselves eithe

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