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What Are the Cost Differences Between Public and Private College?

How to Pay for College > For Parents > Costs of College > What Are the Cost Differences Between Public and Private College?

The debate over whether public or private college offers better education has been going on for decades but has no definitive answer. However, the cost differences between public and private college is a lot easier to define. Simply put, public college costs less than a private college.

Examining the Price Tag

The College Board published the following numbers in their 2016 study on trends in college pricing:

According to the study, the average annual charges for an out-of-state student at a public four-year institution is $35,370. Fees for in-state students have higher variation but are generally more than $10,000 cheaper than fees for out-of-state students.

For a private nonpro