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10 Colleges With the Highest In-State Tuition

Ilana Kowarski

The U.S. News Short List, separate from our overall rankings, is a regular series that magnifies individual data points in hopes of providing students and parents a way to find which undergraduate or graduate programs excel or have room to grow in specific areas. Be sure to explore The Short List: College, The Short List: Grad School and The Short List: Online Programs to find data that matters to you in your college or grad school search.

College hopefuls who want to avoid acquiring an excessive amount of student loan debt often choose to apply to public schools in their home state to capitalize on in-state tuition.

However, the unfortunate reality is that many public colleges and universities are costly.

Among the 495 ranked public schools that reported their 2019-2020 tuition and fees to U.S. News in an annual survey, the average in-state price was $9,832. The 10 most expensive public schools for in-state students each charged more than $17,500, with an average cost of roughly $21,800.

[Read: What You Need to Know About College Tuition Costs.]

Louisiana's Southern University and A&M College was the most expensive school for in-state students during the 2019-2020 school year, with tuition and fees that exceeded $43,300.

Meanwhile, the least expensive public school for in-state students was the United States Merchant Marine Academy in New York, a tuition-free college that charged fees that add up to only $1,050.

Eight of the 10 priciest public schools for in-state students are National Universities, institutions that are often research-oriented and offer a variety of college majors as well as master's degrees and doctorates.

One school -- Southern University and A&M College -- is a Regional University, meaning that it offers a broad range of undergraduate programs and some master's programs but few doctorates. The remaining school on the list -- the Virginia Military Institute -- is a National Liberal Arts College, meaning that it emphasizes undergraduate education and awards at least half of its degrees in liberal arts disciplines.

[Read: How to Get In-State Tuition at Out-of-State Colleges.]

Virginia is home to three of the most expensive public schools for in-state students, and Pennsylvania also has three. Louisiana, Colorado, New Hampshire and Vermont each host one of these schools.

Below is a list of the 10 ranked public schools where in-state students paid the highest tuition and fees for the 2019-2020 academic year. These figures do not include room and board, books, transportation and other costs. They also do not factor in any scholarships or grants a student might receive. Unranked schools, which did not meet certain criteria required by U.S. News to be numerically ranked, were not considered for this report.

School (state) In-state tuition and fees for 2019-2020 U.S. News rank and category
Southern University and A&M College (LA) $43,374 96-122, Regional Universities (South)
College of William and Mary (VA) $22,922 40 (tie), National Universities
Temple University (PA) $19,748 104 (tie), National Universities
University of Pittsburgh $19,718 57 (tie), National Universities
Virginia Military Institute $19,118 72 (tie), National Liberal Arts Colleges
Colorado School of Mines $19,062 84 (tie), National Universities
University of New Hampshire $18,879 125 (tie), National Universities
University of Vermont $18,802 121 (tie), National Universities
Pennsylvania State University--University Park $18,450 57 (tie), National Universities
University of Virginia $17,891 28, National Universities

Don't see your school in the top 10? Access the U.S. News College Compass to find in-state tuition and fees, complete rankings and much more. Sign up for the U.S. News Extra Help: College Admissions free email newsletter to receive expert advice twice a month.

U.S. News surveyed more than 1,900 colleges and universities for our 2019 survey of undergraduate programs. Schools self-reported myriad data regarding their academic programs and the makeup of their student body, among other areas, making U.S. News' data the most accurate and detailed collection of college facts and figures of its kind. While U.S. News uses much of this survey data to rank schools for our annual Best Colleges rankings, the data can also be useful when examined on a smaller scale. U.S. News will now produce lists of data, separate from the overall rankings, meant to provide students and parents a means to find which schools excel, or have room to grow, in specific areas that are important to them. While the data comes from the schools themselves, these lists are not related to, and have no influence over, U.S. News' rankings of Best Colleges, Best Graduate Schools or Best Online Programs. The tuition and fees data above is correct as of Feb. 25, 2020.

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