One of the comments on last week’s post asked for a map of tuition. Below are maps of the enrollment-weighted, average tuition by state for (1) all colleges, (2) four-year colleges, and (3) two-year colleges.
There is a lot of interesting information buried in these maps, but three things jumped out at me.
First, tuition tends to be highest in the Northeast, particularly at the four-year level, and lowest in the non-coastal West.
Second, Wyoming is the only state that is in the most affordable bracket in every map. Pennsylvania deserves the opposite distinction, since it’s in the most expensive bracket in every map. (Vermont is too, but its two-year figures are heavily swayed by a single, very expensive two-year college.)
Third, there are very different tuition patterns among the states. Some states are consistently very expensive at both the four-year and two-year levels (e.g. Illinois and Pennsylvania). Some are consistently very affordable (e.g. Wyoming, Mississippi, and New Mexico). Some have low tuition at the two-year level, but high tuition at the four-year level (e.g. California and North Carolina), while some have low tuition at the four-year level and high tuition at the two-year level (e.g. Nevada). There’s at least one political science dissertation to be written on whether these differences resulted from deliberate policy decisions or historical accident. Either way, I’m even more curious about whether these different patterns lead to different results in terms of enrollment, attainment, debt, etc.