New Mexico Public Colleges Rank No. 1 for Cheapest Cost-Per-Credit at $113, Vermont Most Expensive at $466

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A new study by Student Loan Hero ranks U.S. states and individual schools by average cost of a college credit.

Community College Costs

Cost of College by School Type

The latest study from leading financial education site Student Loan Hero finds where students live could as much as quadruple their college costs.

Student Loan Hero analyzed average tuition costs in each state to determine where students are paying the least — and the most — for their college credits. Additionally, the study ranked the most and least expensive schools by credit cost.

Most and Least Expensive States

Student Loan Hero’s study compared average cost-per-credit by state. Among the 10 states with the cheapest college credits, a 120-credit, four-year degree from a public school can cost as little as $13,560 in New Mexico.

10 states with the cheapest college credits, on average:

1. New Mexico: $113 per credit
2. California: $120 per credit
3. Wyoming: $122 per credit
4. North Carolina: $140 per credit
5. Florida: $160 per credit
6. Mississippi: $162 per credit
7. Arizona: $165 per credit
8. Montana: $167 per credit
9. Arkansas: $169 per credit
10. Texas: $170 per credit

On the other hand, a 120-credit, four-year degree from a public school in one of the most expensive states could cost up to four times as much. That’s as high as $55,920 in the most expensive state, Vermont.


Cost of a College Credit by School Type

According to the study, the average college credit costs $594 across every type of school (including private and public, for-profit and not-for-profit, and two- and four-year colleges).

Among public colleges, per-credit costs break down as follows:

Four-year, public: $325
Two-year, public: $135
Less than two years, public: $281

While it’s not surprising that private college credits cost more on average, the study found the per-credit cost at a four-year, private college is significantly more — over three times that of a four-year, public school.

Four-year, private not-for-profit: $1,039
Two-year, private not-for-profit: $557
Less than two years, private not-for-profit: $537


Community College Savings

Finally, the study examined how much money students can save by attending community college during the first two years of pursuing a four-year degree.

Overall, the average credit cost at a community college ($135) is 60 percent less than at four-year, public college ($325). New Jersey students could save the most on a four-year degree ($20,990 in savings) by completing their first 60 credits at community college. Students in Kansas stand to save the least (just $2,800 in savings), on average.


Study Methodology

College credit cost was calculated using tuition data from the Department of Education. The cost was based on annual tuition and fees for the college, assuming two semesters of full-time enrollment (12 credits). Public school averages are based on the cost-per-credit for all two-year and four-year public colleges within the state. Private school averages are based on all tuition prices at private not-for-profit and private for-profit colleges in each state. Data is for 2014-15 school year, released May 2016.

About Student Loan Hero

Student Loan Hero combines easy-to-use tools with financial education to help the millions of Americans living with student loan debt manage and pay off their loans. Student Loan Hero has helped more than 100,000 borrowers manage and eliminate over $2 billion in student loan debt since 2012 and assists over 3.5 million people in becoming more financially healthy every year.

Student Loan Hero offers both current and former students free loan calculators, as well as unbiased, personalized advice and repayment plans through an easy-to-use online dashboard.

Founded in 2012 by CEO Andrew Josuweit, who himself had over $100,000 in student loans, Student Loan Hero operates on the belief that all loan help and recommendations should come with honesty and no hidden agenda.

For more information, visit

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Mackenzie Kreitler

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