Cost is key consideration for students evaluating their college options


May 29, 2019

By Matthew Nasr
Staff Writer

Did you know that averaging $5,400, Wyoming offers the lowest in-state tuition and fees? Out-of-state students pay approximately $17,490, which is just about $3,000 more than it costs for a New Jersey resident to attend an in-state public college.

On the other hand, at $14,180, New Jersey ranks fourth in most expensive average in-state tuition, according to CollegeBoard.

Despite the high cost of in-state public colleges and universities, they still tend to offer the lowest priced tuition for New Jersey residents.

Senior Brian Arroyave, who will be studying education at Montclair State University in the fall, said he committed to Montclair State because it is the best and most affordable option.

“Other out-of-state colleges that offered the same program costed more than Montclair, which is why I plan on going there,” Arroyave said.

Montclair State’s in-state tuition is approximately $12,790 per year, including tuition and fees. However, out-of-state students pay upwards of $20,577 per year, including tuition and fees, for the same education.

“I would not want to go to Montclair if it was out-of-state because it frankly wouldn’t be worth it, and I would be able to find an alternative school to go to under those circumstances,” Arroyave said.

Next year, senior Eric Mangru will be studying at Ramapo College of New Jersey in Mahwah. He said he decided on Ramapo because of its well-respected nursing program as well as its affordability. The average tuition for in-state students at Ramapo is $14,374, while out-of-state students can expect to pay $23,715.

Mangru got accepted into Emory University in Georgia and Saint Louis University in Missouri, which are both highly ranked for nursing, but he decided on Ramapo because the out-of-state private options are extremely expensive. Tuition and fees at Emory University are $53,774 per year, and Saint Louis University’s tuition is $44,700 per year.

“Nursing is not one of the most lucrative fields, so paying an outrageous price to go to a school does not seem warranted. Someone who went to Emory can work at the same hospital as someone who went to a state school. The only difference between these two people would be their college debt,” Mangru said.

He said by choosing Ramapo, he will never have to worry about paying tuition.

“I was given their presidential scholarship with a renewable value of $18,000 per academic year. With a tuition of only $14,000, my scholarship can also contribute to my room and board,” Mangru said.

While staying in-state is often the most cost-effective option, biology teacher Dr. Dunn said by attending the University of Wyoming, which has the lowest in-state tuition in the country and relatively low out-of-state tuition, he was able to get away from the East Coast and have new experiences without breaking the bank.

“When I went there, it was about $700 a semester full-time, which was the most cost-efficient at the time,” said Dunn, who studied at the University of Wyoming from 1978-1984.

He said students who are not sure what type of profession they want to pursue should consider beginning their college careers at a local community college.

“Get your associate’s degree from community college, and you will have no problem getting accepted into a state school to finish your degree,” Dunn said.

“Nursing is not one of the most lucrative fields, so paying an outrageous price to go to a school does not seem warranted. Someone who went to Emory can work at the same hospital as someone who went to a state school. The only difference between these two people would be their college debt.”

Guidance counselor Ms. Colombo, who earned her bachelor’s degree at Seton Hall University in South Orange, said students should not rule out private universities like her alma materwhich now costs $39,900 per yearjust because of the hefty price tag.

“Seton Hall was my number one decision because they gave me a full ride. It had everything I needed, and the campus was beautiful,” Colombo said.

She said finding the school that is the best fit takes time, so she urges students not to wait until the last minute to do research.

“It is never too early to start looking for your dream college, weigh out all your options because you never know how much money you’ll get from the schools, always have back-up plans in case and finally make the right decision for you,” said Colombo.

Infographic by Adam Herabi
This graph reflects data provided by the College Board.

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