Schools By State

Learn more about some of the most notable public and private schools in your state, as well as where you can look for further information on higher education in your area. In addition, find out exactly what accrediting agencies evaluate the colleges and universities in each state.

National Trends in Higher Education

The U.S. is experiencing a dramatic increase in the number of full-time students enrolled at higher education institutions, alongside a rise in tuition prices. But in addition, national graduation rates are steadily increasing, putting the U.S. back on track to reclaim its position as the country with the highest number of college graduates per capita. Learn more about how the recent recession affected the higher education landscape, and about the continual growth of online education that is changing the face of the average college student.

Increasing Enrollments, Increasing Cost

Year Number of Full-Time Enrolled Students Federal Education Appropriation Per Student Average Tuition for Public, 4-Year Institution Average Tuition for Private, 4-Year Institution
1994 8,123,619 $7,419 $4,258 $18,447
1999 8,325,527 $8,504 $4,711 $21,745
2004 9,731,858 $7,195 $6,322 $24,722
2008 10,271,685 $7,781 $7,008 $26,356
2012 11,548,974 $5,906 $8,821 $29,593

Source: SHEOO, “State Higher Education Finance FY 2012” and College Board’s “Published Prices” reports

In recent years, higher education institutions have seen an increase in enrollment and a decrease in state and local funding. These changes stem from the recession that hit the nation in 2007/2008. In times of economic decline, the job market is more unstable, so many turn to earning a degree to make themselves better job candidates. In addition, those with higher degrees tend to experience lower unemployment rates.

2012 Weekly Earnings and Unemployment Rates by Educational Attainment

Average: $815 Weekly Earnings | 6.8% Unemployment

|
  • Doctoral Degree
    $1,624
    2.5%
  • Professional Degree
    $1,735
    2.1%
  • Master's Degree
    $1,300
    3.5%
  • Bachelor's Degree
    $1,066
    4.5%
  • Associate's Degree
    $785
    6.2%
  • Some College (No Degree)
    $727
    7.7%
  • High School Diploma
    $652
    8.3%
  • Less Than a High School Diploma
    $471
    12.4%

Income and sales taxes taken in at the state and local level, along with money from lottery ticket sales, supported higher education budgets. But because people were earning and spending less money, and thereby shrinking the higher education budget, the federal government created the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This act helped states fund their higher education systems. Unfortunately, the act was not renewed in 2012, so public universities had to raise tuition an average of 27% to compensate for the loss of state funding.

With this trend in increasing tuition prices nationwide, it now falls to the students and their families to find a way to pay for an accredited education. Fortunately, there are funding options available. The first thing students should do is apply for federal aid using FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), which will find all federal grants, loans, and programs for which they are eligible. Keep in mind that only students enrolled accredited colleges are eligible for federal aid, making finding and choosing the right accredited college more important than ever. To further reduce tuition costs, prospective students should apply for scholarships before looking into private loans.

Graduation rates are also increasing slowly but surely, the U.S. Department of Education noted. This puts the U.S. on track to meet President Obama’s goal of increasing the number of degree-holders to 60% by 2020.

Graduation Rate Within 4 Years and 6 Years

  • Delaware
    54.8%
    70.8%
  • Iowa
    39.6%
    69.4%
  • Washington
    41.4%
    68.9%
  • Virginia
    49.1%
    68.4%
  • New Jersey
    40.1%
    66.5%

The rising price of college can be disheartening, but funding for an advanced education is available — you just need to know where to look.

More Schools Going Online

Distance learning could also potentially bring down the price of a higher education. The Sloan Consortium found that 33.5% of higher education students were enrolled in at least one online course, according to its most recent survey and report. This means approximately 7.1 million students are receiving at least part of their education online. The upward trend might not be as steep as it once was, but more and more students are still looking for alternative — and potentially cheaper — ways to earn their degrees.

  • Schools with Online Offerings

    Public Schools
    1,692
    Private Schools
    1,731
  • Schools with No Online Offerings

    Public Schools
    619
    Private Schools
    20

Most, if not all, of the larger schools in the U.S. offer fully online courses or hybrid courses that divide classroom time between traditional and virtual classrooms. These online and hybrid courses tend to be more cost effective, as in most cases, students can forgo paying campus maintenance fees and room and board fees if they complete these programs from home. In addition, out-of-state students who enroll in online classes typically are able to pay cheaper, in-state tuition rates.

All of this indicates that the face of the average college student is changing. The nation is recovering from the recession, and as more potential students find work, they will turn to online courses to earn credit and degrees, thanks in part to the flexibility of online coursework.

As online education gains legitimacy and prominence, established professionals will be able to advance their careers without jeopardizing their present day positions. Free online classes, known as Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs), are also growing in popularity; the number of universities offering them doubled in the last year, affirming the bright future of online learning.

What the Future May Hold

The benefits of earning a higher degree have not changed much over the years. According to CollegeBoard’s Education Pays 2013 report, a degree opens doors for employment and higher pay, and those with a college education tend to live healthier and more active lives. In addition, people who pursue a degree online are able to continue to work to support themselves and their families, and most accredited online programs charge tuition equal to that paid by in-state students.

The rise in higher education costs can be daunting, but there are resources for funding and cheaper options available for those wanting to earn their degrees and further their careers.