- New England colleges have the highest in-state tuition rates in the country, according to a new report from Simple Thrifty Living. Illinois and Pennsylvania, both states with long-running budget issues, are also at the top, the report found.
- When the cost of attendance was calculated against median state income, however, it is Southern states, like Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Kentucky and South Carolina, the budget-crunched states like Illinois and Pennsylvania, and others including Michigan whose cost of attendance comprises the greatest percentage of median income.Vermont is the only New England state that is still considered among the most expensive by this indicator.
- Vermont also has the highest out of state tuition in the country, on average, making it one of the most expensive states for higher education across all metrics.
While the Northeast is also home to all of the private Ivy league institutions and many of the country's elite institutions in general, many of the region's colleges are struggling more than peer institutions across the country to meet enrollment goals, because of a notably lower feeder population in the Northeast. Recent research shows that New England has the highest percentage of students leaving the area to attend college, which could be attributed to the significantly higher cost of attendance.
However, cost of living is often the single-biggest impediment to college affordability, and is increasingly more of a hindrance to recruiting faculty as well. In fact, the biggest issue with the free college movement is it does not consider that other costs associated with college, specifically room and board and books, are not covered — and recent reports have found these costs skyrocketing, too.
Initiatives like those at some colleges to include the cost of course materials in the total cost of tuition may inflate tuition a bit on the surface, but could help students apply for grants and other financial aid to cover some of these add-ons that aren't reflected in the sticker price — without having to wait for a refund check. This is particularly important in states like Louisiana, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and other states where cost of attendance comprises a high percentage of median income.