10 of the cheapest places to score a college degree

Cait Freda, special to CNBC.com
10 cheap colleges
Brigham Young University
Source: Brigham Young University

College tuition that costs less than $900 a month?

The costs of obtaining a university degree are high and getting higher: The average cost of tuition for the 2015-2016 academic year was $24,061 for an in-state public school and a whopping $47,831 for a private college, according to Collegedata.com. The soaring price of a university degree has sent parents and students scrambling for cheaper alternatives.

However, those whose parents aren't independently wealthy have low-cost options. Recently, U.S. News and World Report compiled a list of some of the cheapest U.S. institutions available in dollar terms. The following list uses the publication's data and lists them by their respective price tags.


— Posted by Cait Freda, special to CNBC.com
30 May 2016

Harris-Stowe State University
Source: Harris-Stowe State University

Location: St. Louis

Tuition: $9,853 (out of state); $5,220 (in-state)

Founded in 1857, historically black Harris-Stowe boasts an enviable 13:1 student to teacher ratio. The school offers a curriculum that runs the gamut from business and education to arts and sciences. U.S. News recently ranked the school as a Tier 2 Regional College in the Midwest.

The school describes itself as "strongly committed to providing a high-quality higher education experience that is both affordable and accessible to the diverse populations within and beyond the metropolitan St. Louis region."

Rust College
Source: Rust College

Location: Holly Springs, Mississippi

Tuition: $9,500

Founded in 1866, Rust College is another historically black school. It has a student body of fewer than 1,000 undergraduates and has 32 student organizations and NCAA-ranked athletic teams. The college describes its mission as preparing students "for careers while living and studying in an environment that nurtures academic and personal development."


Mayville State University
Source: Mayville State University

Location: Mayville, North Dakota

Tuition: $8,845 (out of state); $6,380 (in state)

Founded as a public institution in 1889, Mayville State calls itself a "small school with big advantages," which may be a helpful marketing point given its rural location. Each of the school's 1,000-plus undergraduates is issued a notebook computer upon enrollment.

The school is arguably one of the most plugged-in anywhere: Virtually every part of the campus has access to the internet. Mayville State is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and offers 22 student organizations

Bemidji State University
Mark Pearson | Flickr

Location: Bemidji, Minnesota

Tuition: $8,152 (in and out of state)

Bemidji State was founded nearly 100 years ago. Unlike a number of other public colleges, the university offers the same annual tuition rate for in-state and out-of-state students. Bemidji State, which has a thriving athletic program, is ranked by U.S. News as a "top tier" Midwest university. Its campus has been cited as one of the most eco-friendly in the country.

Southwest Minnesota State University
Source: Southwest Minnesota State University

Location: Marshall, Minnesota

Tuition: $8,094 (in and out of state)

This public university's rural campus is home to more than 6,500 undergraduate students and has a wide array of sports teams and more than 100 student organizations. The Tier 2-ranked school offers what it calls a fulfilling "Southwest Experience" that includes "strong academics, fulfilling social opportunities and support" from other students.


West Texas A&M University
Source: West Texas A&M University

Location: Canyon, Texas

Tuition: $7,775 (out of state); $6,264 (in state)

West Texas A&M enjoys a suburban setting and has a student body of more than 7,000 students. The school has a wide array of sports teams, student groups and Greek letter organizations.

School President J. Patrick O'Brien says WTAMU's programs "have been designed to prepare individuals to thrive in this dynamic, global environment, to appreciate the creativity of humans and to acquire the skills to contribute to ongoing creative processes."

Minot State University
Source: Minot State University

Location: Minot, North Dakota

Tuition: $6,390 (in and out of state)

Established in 1913, Minot State is a public college in an urban setting, and has more than 3,100 students. They have access to 56 clubs and several NCAA Division II athletic teams. Minot State is ranked by U.S. News as number 112 among regional universities in the Midwest.

Delta State University
Rogelio V. Solis | AP

Location: Cleveland, Mississippi

Tuition: $6,112 (in and out of state)

Delta State is a public university that has about 4,000 students, 120 student clubs, 13 different sports and 50 majors. The school offers an eclectic mix of disciplines such as commercial aviation, music and technology.

Brigham Young University
Source: Brigham Young University

Location: Provo, Utah

Tuition: $5,150

Founded in 1875 by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Brigham Young University is located near the Wasatch Mountains. BYU has 27,000-plus undergraduates and offers about 70 clubs, intramural sports and an NCAA division 1 athletic program.

BYU is a religious institution with a strict code of honor that prohibits various activities.

Berea College
Source: Berea College

Location: Berea, Kentucky

Fees: $870

Berea College was the first interracial and co-ed college in the South. It is home to a student body of around 1,600. The college operates on a tuition-free system and relies on financial aid and its $1 billion endowment to subsidize education fees, which according to U.S. News add up to a mere $870. In return, attendees must work at least 10 hours weekly in approved job areas on campus or in the surrounding community. Also, students must live on campus unless they are over 23 or are married.

Besides 28 fields of study, Berea also offers over 70 student organizations and 16 athletic varsity programs. According to a report at Business Insider, Berea spends about $27,000 per student each year, a fact that President Lyle Roelofs told the publication was a reflection of the school's "utilitarian" philosophy.

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