The 50 Cheapest Colleges in the US

What Are the Average College Costs?

The average college costs vary depending on various factors such as the type of institution (public vs. private), location, tuition, fees, room and board, books and supplies, and other miscellaneous expenses. 

As of the 2021-2022 academic year, the average cost of tuition and fees for public four-year colleges was around 

$10,560 for in-state students 

$27,020 for out-of-state students. 

Private four-year colleges had an average cost of tuition and fees of around $38,330. Room and board, books, supplies, and other expenses can add several thousand dollars to the total cost. It's important to research and understand the specific costs associated with the colleges or universities you are interested in attending, as they can vary widely. Financial aid, scholarships, and other forms of assistance may be available to help offset the costs of college.

What Do Cheap Colleges Cost and Why Do They Cost Less?

The cost of attending college can vary widely, and there are some colleges and universities that are considered more affordable or "cheap" compared to others. The cost of cheap colleges can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars per year, depending on various factors such as location, type of institution (public vs. private), tuition, fees, room and board, books and supplies, and other miscellaneous expenses.

There are several reasons why some colleges may cost less compared to others:

1. Public vs. private institutions:

Public colleges and universities, which are funded by state governments, often have lower tuition and fees compared to private colleges, which rely on private funding and endowments.

2. In-state vs. out-of-state tuition:

Public colleges often offer lower tuition rates for in-state students compared to out-of-state students, as they are funded by the state and prioritize residents. Out-of-state students may have to pay higher tuition rates, which can increase the overall cost of attendance.

3. Location:

The cost of living in different geographic areas can affect the overall cost of attending college. Colleges located in urban areas or high-cost regions may have higher living expenses, while colleges in rural areas or lower-cost regions may have lower living expenses.

4. Size and prestige:

Smaller colleges or less prestigious institutions may have lower tuition and fees compared to larger or more prestigious colleges and universities.

5. Financial aid and scholarships:

Some colleges may offer generous financial aid packages or scholarships to students, which can significantly reduce the cost of attendance.

It's important to thoroughly research and understand the specific costs associated with colleges you are interested in, including tuition, fees, room and board, books and supplies, and other expenses, as well as any available financial aid or scholarship opportunities. Keep in mind that "cheap" colleges may still offer a quality education and valuable opportunities for students, and it's important to consider factors beyond just cost when evaluating college options.

The 50 Cheapest Colleges in the United States

School-Location-Total Cost (2022-2023)

Antioch College AG-Hampton, VA-$148

Sitting Bull College-Fort Yates, ND-$496

Northern Marianas College-Saipan, MP-$1,841

EDP University of Puerto Rico-Manati- PR-$2,581

University of Arkansas System eVersity-Little Rock, AR-$2,617

St Petersburg College-Clearwater, FL-$2,702

Caribbean University-Bayamon-Bayamon, PR-$2,823

Caribbean University-Carolina-Carolina, PR-$2,970

Caribbean University-Ponce-Ponce, PR-$3,033

Elizabeth City State University-Elizabeth City, NC-$3,270

Florida State College at Jacksonville-Jacksonville, FL-$3,306

Pensacola State College-Pensacola, FL-$3,351

Eastern Florida State College-Cocoa, FL-$3,445

Caribbean University-Vega Baja-PR-$3,539

Atlantic University College-Guaynabo, PR-$3,557

Texas A&M University-Central Texas-Killeen, TX-$3,637

Dewey University-Juana Diaz-Juana Diaz, PR-$3,854

California State University, Los Angeles-Los Angeles, CA-$3,859

Indian River State College-Fort Pierce, FL-$3,878

CUNY Bernard M Baruch College-New York, NY-$3,897

CUNY Lehman College-Bronx, NY-$3,913

CUNY Hunter College-New York, NY-$4,014

Dewey University-Manati, PR-$4,081

Texas A&M International University-Laredo, TX-$4,165

South Florida State College-Avon Park, FL-$4,228

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley-Edinburg, TX-$4,419

CUNY City College-New York, NY-$4,546

Pasco-Hernando State College-New Port Richey, FL-$4,637

EDP University of Puerto Rico-Humacao-Humacao, PR-$4,669

California State University-Dominguez Hills-Carson, CA-$4,683

CUNY Brooklyn College-Brooklyn, NY-$4,736

Berea College-Berea, KY-$4,938

University of Puerto Rico-Aguadilla-Aguadilla, PR-$4,984

Dewey University, Carolina-Carolina, PR-$5,018

CUNY York College-Jamaica, NY-$5,228

St Johns River State College-Palatka, FL-$5,266

Dewey University-Hato Rey, PR-$5,380

Indiana University-Northwest-Gary, IN-$5,453

EDP University of Puerto Rico Inc-San Sebastian-San Sebastian, PR-$5,518

CUNY Queens College-Queens, NY-$5,594

Pacific Islands University-Mangilao, GU-$5,597

Dalton State College-Dalton, GA-$5,776

Gulf Coast State College-Panama City, FL-$5,851

Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City-Oklahoma City, OK-$5,860

Universidad Central de Bayamon-Bayamon, PR-$5,732

Brigham Young University-Idaho-Rexburg, ID-$6,871

Heritage College-Toppenish, WA-$7,356

Inter American University of Puerto Rico-Aguadilla-Aguadilla, PR-$7,376

College of the Ozarks-Point Lookout, MO-$7,505

Franklin University-Columbus, OH-$7,658

When Should Cost Be a Consideration in Your College Choice?

The cost of college should be a consideration in your college choice from the very beginning of your college search process. It's important to have a realistic understanding of your financial situation and what you can afford before making decisions about which colleges to apply to or attend. Here are some specific situations where cost should be a consideration in your college choice:

1. Limited Financial Resources:

If you have limited financial resources, cost should be a primary consideration in your college choice. You may need to focus on more affordable options such as community colleges, public universities, or colleges with lower tuition and fees.

2. High Student Loan Debt:

If you are concerned about graduating with a significant amount of student loan debt, it's important to consider the potential long-term impact on your finances. Choosing a more affordable college can help you minimize student loan debt and reduce your financial burden after graduation.

3. Limited Scholarship or Financial Aid Opportunities:

If you are not eligible for significant scholarships or financial aid, or if the colleges you are considering do not offer generous aid packages, then cost should be a significant factor in your decision-making process. You may need to weigh the financial benefits of attending a more affordable college versus a more prestigious or higher-cost college.

4. Other Financial Obligations:

If you have other financial obligations such as supporting a family, paying for housing or living expenses, or saving for other future expenses, cost should be carefully considered in your college choice to ensure you can manage your financial responsibilities effectively.

5. Career Plans:

If your intended career path does not require a specific prestigious or high-cost college degree, it may not be necessary to choose a more expensive college. Consider the return on investment and potential earning prospects of your chosen career in relation to the cost of the college you are considering.

In summary, cost should be a consideration in your college choice if you have limited financial resources, are concerned about student loan debt, have limited scholarship or financial aid opportunities, have other financial obligations, or your career plans do not require a specific prestigious or high-cost college degree. It's important to carefully evaluate your financial situation and consider the long-term impact of college costs on your financial well-being before making a decision.

Are There More Affordable College Options Than These?

Yes, there are several other affordable college options beyond the cheapest colleges in the United States. Here are some additional options to consider:

1. Community Colleges:

Community colleges are typically more affordable than four-year colleges and universities. They offer lower tuition and fees, and often provide opportunities to transfer credits to a four-year institution after completing an associate's degree or lower-division coursework. Community colleges can be a cost-effective way to earn general education credits or explore different fields of study before transferring to a four-year college or university.

2. In-state Public Universities:

In-state public universities often offer lower tuition rates for residents of the state compared to out-of-state or private universities. If you are a resident of a particular state, attending a public university in your state can be a more affordable option.

3. Regional Public Universities:

Regional public universities, also known as state colleges or regional colleges, are public institutions that serve a specific geographic region within a state. They often offer lower tuition and fees compared to flagship public universities, making them more affordable options for students seeking a quality education at a lower cost.

4. Online Colleges and Universities:

Online colleges and universities can offer more affordable tuition rates compared to traditional brick-and-mortar institutions. They often have lower overhead costs and may offer more flexible scheduling options, making them a viable option for students seeking a more affordable college education.

5. Vocational or Technical Schools:

Vocational or technical schools offer specialized training in fields such as trade skills, technology, healthcare, and more. These schools can often provide a more affordable and focused education for students interested in specific career paths.

6. Scholarships and Financial Aid:

Scholarships and financial aid can significantly reduce the cost of college. Many colleges and universities offer scholarships based on academic achievement, extracurricular involvement, leadership, and other factors. Additionally, federal and state governments, as well as private organizations, offer financial aid programs to eligible students. It's essential to research and apply for scholarships and financial aid opportunities to make college more affordable.

In summary, there are several other affordable college options beyond the cheapest colleges in the United States, including community colleges, in-state public universities, regional public universities, online colleges and universities, vocational or technical schools, and scholarships/financial aid programs. It's important to carefully consider your financial situation, educational goals, and career plans when evaluating college options and explore all available options to find the most affordable and suitable choice for you.


In conclusion, while attending college can be an expensive endeavor, there are many affordable options available for those seeking higher education. The 50 cheapest colleges in the United States offer a range of degree programs and opportunities for students to excel academically without breaking the bank. It is important to consider cost when choosing a college, but it should not be the only factor. Students should also consider the quality of education, campus resources, and overall fit with their academic and personal goals.