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National Report Shows Tuition In NC Rising Fast But Still Relatively Cheap

College Board

The cost of going to a public university has been rising faster in North Carolina than in most other states, but it's still relatively cheap here compared to the rest of the country. Those are a few highlights from a report the College Board released Wednesday.

One of the things that jumps out in the report is how widely the price of college varies based on what state you live in. Wyoming is the cheapest for in-state students, New Hampshire is the most expensive, and the difference between the two is more than $10,000 a year.

North Carolina is on the lower end of that scale. For in-state students, North Carolina has the 10th cheapest average tuition and fees in the country, about $6,500 a year.

Jennifer Ma is an author of the College Board report. She says that's a great price tag, "but if you look at what's happened in the last five years, North Carolina actually has experienced a 40 percent increase in tuition and fees in the public four-year sector."

That's among the steepest increases in the country. So how is North Carolina's in-state tuition rising so fast and yet staying relatively cheap?

Ma says part of the answer is how much money its universities are getting from the state. North Carolina gives them about $12,000 per student. Only Hawaii, Wyoming and Alaska give their public universities more.

So even though the General Assembly keeps cutting the UNC-system's budget, the state's public universities are still getting more money – and charging cheaper tuition – than the ones in most other states.