Are they using their smart phones to shop for schools — colleges and universities?
I’ve been teaching college students for a few decades at schools in Arkansas, Florida and Georgia. The warm weather, relatively low college and university rates, costs-of-living expenses, and the so-called Southern hospitality are among the top reasons why students — like me — love our school and location choices.
Also, southern cities are the primary sites for historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) where many Hispanic and Black students have matriculated. As a Clark Atlanta University graduate, I too loved the warmer climate (in comparison to my home state of Nebraska) and cost-of-living attributes. Yet, to boost my career sustainability, I trekked north to Evanston and Chicago, IL to complete a Master of Science in Journalism program, specializing in financial news, at the Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University.
IYet, unlike me, it is in the northern cities where an increasing number of minority students are beginning their college education. Due to demographic changes in the population, North Dakota and Minnesota are expected to receive a healthy share of minority colleges in its colleges and universities.
It also helps that, on average, North Dakota’s and Minnesota’s college tuition and fees are low for bachelor’s, associate’s and certificate-seeking students in comparison to the national average. The national data does not necessarily provide an apples-to-apples comparison on college and university costs in each state.
While this study is helpful, you are not able to directly compare the national colleges and tuitions’ averages for an undergraduate education to each states’ figures. The states’ data are grouped together for community colleges, trade, and public and private schools undergraduate and certificate degrees. The national data separates each certificate and degree program related to undergraduate or bachelor’s education.
That’s why I took the available states’ data and compared it to the national colleges and universities’ statistics by averaging all six categories (1st and 2nd year certificates, associate, 2-4 year certificates, bachelor and post bachelor certificate). Using my bargain hunting wisdom, I used those averages to reach my comparison conclusions on the best-priced colleges and universities.
For instance, the average annual cost of a bachelor’s degree nationwide is $7, 934 for in-state residents and $21,201 for out-of-state students. A 2 to 4-year certificate is $4,113 and $14,077 for in-state and out-of-state students, respectively. In North Dakota, the comparisons are $6,608 and $9,845 for the in- and out-of-state students. Minnesota‘s average college costs are $8,004 and $17,223 for the same comparisons.
Connect the dots …
The continual rise in college/university tuitions, fees, expenses and related student loan costs, are causing many smart thinking parents and students to price shop in higher education.
- This is a perfect time of year to begin planning for the 2020 and beyond years for your choices among colleges and universities.
- Use the abundant Internet search engine tools to begin your real school shopping.
- Don’t shop on price alone. Location, ambiance, safety statistics, campus housing, school policies and more should be considered in your final equation.
- Ask friends, neighbors, co-workers and others by connecting via social media with graduates of your proposed colleges and universities. Get their feedback on and importantly, track where those graduates are working and how they are thriving (or not) in their careers.
- If it is financially feasible, visit the campuses of the schools you are interested in. While there are many organized college fairs for students and parents, also consider an impromptu or planned visit to the classrooms where you or your child will likely spend the most time in as a prospective major.
Happy school shopping!