Top Universities, Bottom Dollar

How do you choose the best place to pursue higher education? Is it a university’s prestige? Is it the ratio of faculty to students? Is it the quality of a certain department? For a growing number of students, these considerations are not the primary ones. With the cost of education skyrocketing, the choice has to become simpler: Where can I afford to attend? This list of the top 10 most economical schools is here to help.

Tuition for a year of undergraduate education varies wildly. At the top reaches, people are spending $30,000 for the privilege of getting educated alongside the privileged. Are the classes worth the expense? Are the professors really so brilliant? Perhaps not. At many of the most competitive and expensive universities, students barely encounter their famous professors, instead finding themselves taught by teaching assistants—graduate students not much older or more experienced than themselves.

For a fraction of the cost, it is possible to acquire an education that is just as good, if not sometimes better, than that offered at the most pricey institutions of higher learning. The cliché about school is that “you get out what you put into it.” This does not refer to dollars “put in.” The CEO’s silver spoon son may fritter away a $30,000 year in a drunken stupor, skipping classes, and buying term papers off the Internet. Dedicated students, paying far less, will find themselves, in the end, with a diploma that means much more. Elbow grease and hours hitting the books are the stuff of a real education.

Here, then, is a list of some of the most affordable schools in the nation.

The prices mentioned require residency. For those who do not live in Texas, for example (the state with the top three most affordable schools), extra time may be required living in state to establish residency. In the long run, this extra time may be well worth the effort.

1. Texas A&M University

Still under $10,000 a year, Texas A&M is one of the best schools in the Southwest. Texas A&M is a great school for a great price.

2. University of Texas at Arlington

Also under $10,000, the Arlington branch of the University of Texas is another great offering from the Lone Star State.

3. University Of Texas at Dallas

Tuition is the same as the other public Texas universities.

4. University of Utah

The University of Utah pulls students in from out of state with extremely low tuition and a reputation for high quality learning.

5. State University of New York at Buffalo

SUNY-Buffalo charges around $9,500 for two semesters and offers good financial aid packages and fellowships to PhD candidates.

6. University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Finally, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte provides an enthusiastic student body a great education at an equally great price, hovering near the $10,000 mark.

7. New Jersey Institute of Technology

The seventh entry on this list breaks the $10,000 mark—coming in at about $12,000 per year.

8. Arizona State University

Sun-drenched ASU students have a reputation for studying hard and playing hard. They pay around $12,000 in annual tuition.

9. University of Arizona

Paying approximately same as their ASU siblings, University of Arizona students can take advantage of financial aid after completing a semester.

10. Illinois Institute of Technology

Also around $12,000 per year, the Illinois Institute of Technology has limited financial aid packages, but offers a top quality education. In a state with many great universities, the Illinois Institute of Technology holds its own.


About the Author: Take a look at more industry related articles by Chris Stout at Chris Stout is a frequent contributor with articles pertaining to using Distance Learning and Career Advice.

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