On paper, if you’re going strictly by sticker price, it would seem that public colleges and universities are the much more affordable option as compared to private institutions. But as you may have guessed, as with most things related to paying for college, it’s a lot more complicated that that in an apples vs. oranges sort of way.
Here’s what you need to know about choosing between a public and private college or university, specifically as it relates to what it’ll cost you…
If you aren’t familiar with The College Board’s Trends in College Pricing report, it’s a great way to get a general sense of how expensive different college options are (on paper, at least). Here’s a quick breakdown of cost and net cost (which is how much students actually end up paying minus aid and tax credits). Worth noting: About two-thirds of full-time students pay for college with the assistance of grant aid.
- Average published tuition and fees for in‐state students at public four‐year institutions is $8,893 in 2013-14. The net cost for students is $3,120.
- Average published tuition and fees at private nonprofit four-year institutions is $30,094 in 2013-14. The net cost for students is $12,460.