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States where the price of public college has grown most

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States Where the Price of Public College Has Grown Most

Most students don’t pay the “sticker price” for college. The cost you see when you search for a college’s tuition can be misleading; many of the schools with the top tuitions in the country also have robust need- and merit-based financial aid programs, meaning many of their students pay somewhere below the maximum price.

The rise in tuition at public colleges and universities often comes along with a slash in school funding. As the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) put it in a 2016 study, “Funding Down, Tuition Up.” States are quick to slash higher education budgets when searching for money, and the decrease in public investment has led to an increase in tuition for the average public school in every single U.S. state over the past decade.

Many states have implemented generous assistance plans to help their students attend college at a lower cost, reducing the amount they have to spend or take out in student loans. Other states have implemented tuition hike freezes or caps, which seek to rein in the amount that colleges can charge their students. Few states have found success, though; from 2008 to 2018, the average annual published tuition has risen by $2,651 nationally, or 36%.

Stacker used 2018 data from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities to rank states by the fastest growth in tuition in percent at public colleges from 2008 to 2018. Illinois was not included because tuition data through 2018 was not available. Read on to find out the policies each state uses to try to make college more affordable for students, and find out which four states saw funding increases for their public universities over the past decade.

You may also like: 25 startling facts about the state of student debt in America

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Minh Nguyen // Wikimedia Commons

#49. Ohio

- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): 5% ($500)
- Percent change in state funding per pupil 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): -18.1%

As stated in the intro, it’s important to recognize that zero states saw the price of college fall; Ohio, the lowest, still saw a 5% increase in the average tuition price of its public colleges. Republican Gov. Mike DeWine, who was elected in November 2018, recently added a provision to the state budget that would cap tuition increases at Ohio’s public schools at 2%, following up on a campaign promise to make college more affordable. A report prepared by Ohio’s Department of Higher Education attributes their low tuition increases to “...the chancellor’s biennial budget authority to restrain tuition and fees.”

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TDH2015 // Wikimedia Commons

#48. Missouri

- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): 9.7% ($782)
- Percent change in state funding per pupil 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): -31.3%

In 2007, the year before the window for this story, Missouri’s state government passed the Higher Education Student Funding Act, which capped tuition increases for each of its public colleges and universities. The act has clearly done its job capping tuition costs, though per-student spending has declined and supplementary costs have skyrocketed. Plus, in May 2019, the state government approved the largest tuition hike since 2012.

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Tim Evanson // Flickr

#47. Montana

- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): 10.2% ($638)
- Percent change in state funding per pupil 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): -1.9%

Montana’s current governor, Steve Bullock, is running for president and recently appeared in the second round of Democratic debates, but part of his plan for his own state is a 17% increase in the number of students earning college degrees or certificates by 2025. To achieve that goal, several Montana public schools regularly freeze their tuition to make attendance more affordable to students.

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Acroterion // Wikimedia Commons

#46. Maryland

- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): 10.7% ($928)
- Percent change in state funding per pupil 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): -3.5%

A four-year tuition freeze for Maryland’s public colleges began in 2007 under Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley, but after the recession, tuition prices were allowed to rise normally. This year, in-state tuition increased at typical levels, though the tuition cost for out-of-state students rose an unusually high amount.

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Regan Vercruysse // Flickr

#45. Maine

- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): 14.9% ($1,294)
- Percent change in state funding per pupil 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): -2.4%

From 2010–2016, under the governorship of Paul LePage, tuition increases were frozen at Maine’s public colleges. This led to Maine’s public schools being ranked the most affordable in the New England region in December 2018. Though the freeze is over, the University of Maine System officials plan to tie the rate of tuition increases to the rate of inflation going forward.

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GoodFreePhotos

#44. Indiana

- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): 15.2% ($1,232)
- Percent change in state funding per pupil 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): -1.2%

Unlike all of the states discussed so far, Indiana does not impose any tuition restrictions on its public schools; the state’s Commission for Higher Education merely recommends changes in annual reports. Despite that, several campuses, such as Purdue University, choose to freeze tuition increases on their own.

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EQRoy // Shutterstock

#43. New Jersey

- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): 17.6% ($2,075)
- Percent change in state funding per pupil 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): -23.5%

Like Indiana, New Jersey has no laws governing tuition hikes at its public colleges; a bill was introduced in the state Senate in 2018 to cap tuition hikes to 4% annually, but it didn’t progress past the state's Legislature. It’s not clear how much this bill would affect tuition, given most New Jersey schools increased their tuitions just over 2% in 2018.

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Pixabay

#42. Wisconsin

- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): 18.2% ($1,380)
- Percent change in state funding per pupil 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): -22.8%

Wisconsin’s tuition freeze for undergraduate resident students is set to enter its seventh year. The program was started under Republican Gov. Scott Walker and continues under Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who was elected last November. Evers plans to keep the freeze for at least another two years. Recently, two Republican lawmakers introduced a bill to the state legislature to lock tuition raises to inflation, should the freeze ever end.

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Tony Webster // Flickr

#41. Iowa

- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): 19.1% ($1,407)
- Percent change in state funding per pupil 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): -28.1%

In 2017, Iowa’s Legislature convened a Tuition Task Force to address concerns from educators, students, and lawmakers about future tuition hikes. Their main concern, according to the task force, was the unpredictability of rate hikes; this year, the Board of Regents in Iowa approved a 3.9% tuition hike at public schools as part of a five-year plan, with at least 3% raises in tuition at the University of Iowa and Iowa State University each year.

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Travelerpix // Shuttestock

#40. North Dakota

- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): 19.5% ($1,336)
- Percent change in state funding per pupil 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): 16.1%

North Dakota is the first state on this list, and one of only four overall, to actually increase the amount it spent on each pupil over the past decade. Currently, North Dakota caps tuition hikes at its public colleges to 3%, though they can go up to 4% in some circumstances.

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Jacob Boomsma // Shutterstock

#39. Minnesota

- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): 22.6% ($2,082)
- Percent change in state funding per pupil 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): -7.5%

One important figure missing from this breakdown: over the last decade, Minnesota public colleges have lost almost a fifth of their enrollment. Since 2013, tuition has increased only twice due to repeated freezes from the state Legislature, though it will rise 3% this year at each of the schools in the Minnesota State System.

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Thecoldmidwest // Wikimedia Commons

#38. Wyoming

- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): 24.2% ($1,015)
- Percent change in state funding per pupil 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): 7.8%

Wyoming has consistently ranked near the top of the list for most affordable public schools in America, reaching the #1 spot in 2013. Like North Dakota, per-pupil spending has increased over the past decade, but unlike North Dakota, there are currently no tuition cap or freeze laws in effect.

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Tupungato // Shuttestock

#37. Pennsylvania

- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): 24.7% ($2,859)
- Percent change in state funding per pupil 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): -37.3%

Throughout the 10 years that counted for this study, and even 10 years before that, Pennsylvania approved no tuition freezes for its public college system. However, that changed this year, when the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education board of governors approved a plan to freeze tuition rates for the 2019–20 school year at the 2018–19 rate.

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Ken Wolter // Shutterstock

#36. Nebraska

- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): 25.3% ($1,670)
- Percent change in state funding per pupil 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): -0.6%

Nebraska’s public colleges have faced widespread funding cuts, and the government has not recently frozen tuition across the board, though some colleges, like the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, have frozen tuition on their own. However, the Nebraska State College System recently set tuition rates for two years, bringing more predictability to the college funding.

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Ken Wolter // Shutterstock

#35. South Carolina

- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): 27.5% ($2,717)
- Percent change in state funding per pupil 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): -31.9%

South Carolina has seen significant tuition increases and an overall decrease in per-pupil spending. This will change in 2019, as Republican Gov. Henry McMaster recently announced that most South Carolina public colleges will raise tuition less than 1% this coming year, much less than the typical 3%.

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Agnieszka Gaul // Shutterstock

#34. Michigan

- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): 28.7% ($2,886)
- Percent change in state funding per pupil 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): -16.7%

A section in the 2017–2018 budget meant Michigan’s public schools could only receive performance funding dollars if they kept tuition raises below 3.8%. This may have helped, as this year University of Michigan’s tuition only went up by 2% for in-state students, whereas previous years saw hikes of 2.9%.

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michelmond // Shutterstock

#33. Texas

- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): 29% ($2,210)
- Percent change in state funding per pupil 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): -22.2%

Texas’s public schools, under the administrations of Republican Govs. Rick Perry and Greg Abbott, have increased their tuition price while decreasing the amount of state funding. According to the Texas Tribune, “Over the last decade and a half, state appropriations have dwindled from around $8,000 per full-time student at UT System schools, adjusted for inflation, to around $6,000. The cost of tuition and fees paid for by students and their parents crept up during that time from roughly $5,000 to $8,000 in 2016.”

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Katherine Welles // Shutterstock

#32. Vermont

- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): 29% ($3,646)
- Percent change in state funding per pupil 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): -15.8%

Vermont is known for being the long-time home of Sen. Bernie Sanders, who’s running for president in 2020 with a radical education plan to cancel all student debt and make two- and four-year public colleges tuition-free. In Vermont’s state legislature, a plan to make college free statewide is gaining traction, despite their Republican governor.

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Michael Barera // Wikimedia Commons

#31. Arkansas

- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): 29.2% ($1,933)
- Percent change in state funding per pupil 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): -12.8%

Most public schools in Arkansas over the past decade have faced steady tuition hikes, and this year is no different: The board of trustees recently approved tuition hikes for most of the University of Arkansas System. This comes after a year of frozen tuition, as ordered by Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

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Ritu Manoj Jethani // Shutterstock

#30. New York

- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): 32.2% ($1,938)
- Percent change in state funding per pupil 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): -2.0%

Early in 2017, New York’s Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo made waves when he announced the Excelsior Program, which would grant free access to New York’s highly regarded public schools to families meeting certain requirements. Since then, the system has been criticized by those who say it’s too hard to qualify for benefits, since tens of thousands of applicants were rejected in its first two years of existence.

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Holzman Moss Bottino Architecture // Wikimedia Commons

#29. Delaware

- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): 32.9% ($3,035)
- Percent change in state funding per pupil 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): -26.2%

Delaware’s public schools have faced consistent tuition hikes of around 4% over the last few years, and recently approved a similar hike for the 2019–20 school year. Delaware currently has no program regulating tuition increases or freezing tuition at public colleges.

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Jacob Boomsma // Shutterstock

#28. South Dakota

- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): 33.7% ($2,128)
- Percent change in state funding per pupil 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): -6.2%

Unlike its neighbor to the north, South Dakota has no cap on tuition hikes. That causes problems for students in South Dakota, whose colleges are among the costliest in the nation in terms of the net cost to the student, due to a scarcity of financial aid programs.

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Laura Dutelle // Wikimedia Commons

#27. Washington

- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): 33.9% ($2,402)
- Percent change in state funding per pupil 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): -15.7%

Washington state’s 2017–2019 budget limits tuition increases at public colleges to 2.2%, but that’s not all; under Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee, who’s currently running for president on a platform of averting climate change, the state passed a substantial higher education bill that makes college drastically more affordable, even free, for thousands of students.

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Jeff Zehnder // Shutterstock

#26. Kansas

- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): 35.8% ($2,433)
- Percent change in state funding per pupil 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): -26%

Kansas’s troubles with increasing tuition reflect a familiar story: The state cuts the education budget, and the students are required to make up the difference. Though officials try to control costs by “tightening the belt,” the University of Kansas’s chancellor admitted this year, “We’re kind of running out of belt at this point.”

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Feng Cheng // Shutterstock

#25. Massachusetts

- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): 36.5% ($3,407)
- Percent change in state funding per pupil 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): -12.1%

A 2018 report from the New England Board of Higher Education found that Massachusetts had the fastest-rising costs out of all public education systems in the United States, largely brought on by funding cuts to the system. They’re not alone in the region; a report by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston found that public education funding declined by double digits in every New England state, save Maine.

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Jacob Boomsma // Shutterstock

#24. New Mexico

- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): 37.8% ($1,899)
- Percent change in state funding per pupil 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): -34.0%

Though New Mexico falls near the midpoint on this list, a 2017 study from Student Loan Hero found that New Mexico’s public schools actually have the cheapest costs per credit in the nation, at $113 per credit. This comes despite typical tuition hikes and disinvestment by the state government.

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Daderot // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Connecticut

- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): 38.4% ($3,437)
- Percent change in state funding per pupil 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): -20.2%

Like the other New England states besides Maine, Connecticut has seen double-digit disinvestment in public schools over the past decade. This year, the Board of Regents for Higher Education approved a 5% tuition hike for Connecticut’s four public regional universities which, despite the increase, face a severe budget shortfall.

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ssafox // Shutterstock

#22. Kentucky

- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): 38.8% ($2,878)
- Percent change in state funding per pupil 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): -27.2%

Kentucky has various restrictions for price hikes at its public universities, but all of its public colleges raised their tuition between 3.9% and 4.8% on average over the past decade. Kentucky is well known for being the home state of Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has called himself the “Grim Reaper” for the agenda of the Democratic Socialists, which includes free college along with Medicare For All and a Green New Deal.

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Charles Knowles // Shutterstock

#21. Idaho

- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): 39.9% ($2,069)
- Percent change in state funding per pupil 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): -18.2%

Idaho recently capped the increase in tuition at its public colleges at 3.5% in 2017, only for the hikes to rise to at least 4.9% in 2019. College executives hope that the increased funding will be used for more space to house students, expanded mental health resources, and an investment in personnel.

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Jon Bilous // Shutterstock

#20. New Hampshire

- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): 40.2% ($4,607)
- Percent change in state funding per pupil 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): -29.7%

In 2017, New Hampshire’s higher education spending was the lowest in the nation, leading students to pick up a majority of the costs as opposed to the state government. According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, this is because state officials chose to reduce spending following the Great Recession rather than raise tax revenue.

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Daderot // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Utah

- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): 41.5% ($1,989)
- Percent change in state funding per pupil 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): -18.5%

In 2019, various tuition increases were approved by the Board of Regents, ranging from 0% at Southern Utah University to 4.2% at Utah State University’s Eastern & Blanding campuses. This range of changes is new; in the past, tuition hikes were set across the board instead of being tailored to each individual campus.

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Ken Wolter // Shutterstock

#18. Mississippi

- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): 42.0% ($2,364)
- Percent change in state funding per pupil 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): -34.4%

Mississippi provides another clear example of education funding drying up, leading to students picking up more of the slack. In 2019, the tuition hikes at Mississippi’s public schools range from 1.9% at the University of Mississippi to 8.4% at Mississippi University for Women.

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Maureen amerune // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Alaska

- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): 42.2% ($2,206)
- Percent change in state funding per pupil 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): -6%

In 2019, an unprecedented slashing by Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy took $135 million of state support from Alaska’s public education system, 41% of the state’s total support. This will likely lead to layoffs and the shuttering of departments across the university system.

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Patawee // Shuttestock

#16. Rhode Island

- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): 43.2% ($3,688)
- Percent change in state funding per pupil 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): -12.6%

Democrat Gina Raimondo was elected governor of Rhode Island in 2014, and is currently serving as one of the nation’s nine women governors. In 2017, she enacted the Rhode Island Promise plan, which made the first two years of admission free at the Community College of Rhode Island; she now wants to expand that plan further.

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Center for Teaching Excellence // Flickr

#15. Oklahoma

- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): 43.3% ($2,556)
- Percent change in state funding per pupil 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): -37.3%

Oklahoma faced high rates of disinvestment and tuition hikes over the past decade. In 2019, despite receiving $28 million in new appropriations from the state government, tuitions are set to increase at an average of 2.5% statewide. In Oklahoma, state law requires that, “tuition remain at levels below the average among comparable institutions.”

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Evonne // Flickr

#14. North Carolina

- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): 45% ($2,293)
- Percent change in state funding per pupil 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): -18.6%

In September of 2018, North Carolina enacted a program called “NC Promise” at Elizabeth City State University, UNC Pembroke, and Western Carolina University that dropped their tuition to just $1,000 annually for in-state students. Enrollment jumped by double digits for incoming classes, and many students transferred from other campuses or began college again after dropping out earlier.

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nother Believer // Wikimedia Commons

#13. Oregon

- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): 47.3% ($3,327)
- Percent change in state funding per pupil 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): -8.9%

Oregon’s 2017–2019 biennial budget sets a bound of 5–9% on its tuition hikes. Democratic Gov. Kate Brown, who entered office in 2015, pushed for more state funding allocation to higher education in order to keep tuition hikes down.

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Steve Heap // Shutterstock

#12. West Virginia

- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): 51.4% ($2,677)
- Percent change in state funding per pupil 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): -26.0%

The average tuition increase for West Virginia’s public schools in 2019 was 2.4%, the lowest in nearly a decade, due to an increased allocation of state spending. Unfortunately, 2019 wasn’t considered for this ranking, leading to West Virginia’s 12th-place showing.

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Nightryder84 // Wikmedia Commons

#11. Tennessee

- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): 54.3% ($3,446)
- Percent change in state funding per pupil 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): -10.8%

Similar to North Carolina’s public schools, Tennessee has a program called Tennessee Promise, which offers two years of community college or technical school to students tuition-free, regardless of family income. The state program saves money by paying whatever students need after they receive tuition assistance programs like Pell Grants, in what is called “last dollar” policy.

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ImagineerInc // Shutterstock

#10. Virginia

- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): 54.7% ($4,534)
- Percent change in state funding per pupil 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): -16.5%

For nearly two decades, Virginia’s public colleges faced tuition hikes, leading to its place in the top 10 on the list. In 2019, however, increased state funding from the Virginia General Assembly made it a one-year tuition freeze possible at all 15 public universities in the state.

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Unknown // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Nevada

- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): 55.8% ($2,606)
- Percent change in state funding per pupil 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): -22.2%

Nevada, under Democratic Gov. Brian Sandoval’s tenure from 2011–2019, has considered several sweeping proposals for overhauling the state, including universal health care, which did not pass, and free community college, which passed in 2017. The Nevada Promise Scholarship provides free community college to eligible students who maintain a 2.5 GPA; however, tuition is expected to increase by 4% in 2019 at state colleges.

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Felix Mizioznikov // Shutterstock

#8. Florida

- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): 58.9% ($2,360)
- Percent change in state funding per pupil 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): -13%

Republican Gov. Rick Scott froze the tuition at Florida’s state colleges back in 2014, and the prices haven’t been raised since. The current governor, Ron DeSantis, seems set to continue this policy, while also increasing performance funding for the colleges.

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Jack Miller // Flickr

#7. California

- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): 65.4% ($3,826)
- Percent change in state funding per pupil 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): 0.3%

The University of California system is among the most highly regarded in the country for its performance, and the state has managed to keep funding per pupil steady over the past decade. However, with high living expenses across California, the overall cost of attending a public college has skyrocketed both in tuition and supplemental fees.

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Grant Blakeman // Shutterstock

#6. Colorado

- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): 68.0% ($4,370)
- Percent change in state funding per pupil 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): -9.2%

Colorado, for the upcoming 2019–20 school year, has frozen tuition at all of its public colleges save one, the Metropolitan State University of Denver, which plans to hike tuition by 3%. However, this freeze doesn’t necessarily make up for past trends: In 2017, Colorado was the fourth-lowest state in state spending per pupil.

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Ken Wolter // Shutterstock

#5. Alabama

- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): 69.8% ($5,355)
- Percent change in state funding per pupil 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): -34.6%

Alabama has no statewide tuition freeze guidelines; however, at least five schools have pledged to freeze tuition for the 2019–20 school year, including all three members of the University of Alabama system. It’s the first time in 40 years that those three schools have decided against a raise in tuition.

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Bryan Pollard // Shutterstock

#4. Georgia

- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): 73.4% ($3,629)
- Percent change in state funding per pupil 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): -12.4%

Over the past five years, Georgia’s Board of Regents has held to a 1.7% average annual increase in tuition rates, with freezes in both 2016 and 2018. However, these low rate increases weren’t enough to combat disinvestment from the state, including the slashing of the HOPE program for low-income students.

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Rachel // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Hawaii

- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): 79.7% ($4,726)
- Percent change in state funding per pupil 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): 5.4%

In the 2012–13 school year, Hawaii had the third-highest rate of per-pupil spending in the nation—you’ll notice it’s the final of the four states on this list with a positive percent change in state funding over the past decade. However, the University of Hawaii at Manoa is among the fastest-increasing schools in the nation for tuition, and the system has been struggling with costs.

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Ken Wolter // Shutterstock

#2. Arizona

- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): 91.3% ($5,355)
- Percent change in state funding per pupil 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): -55.7%

With eye-popping tuition hikes and funding cuts, Arizona’s public college system will continue to hike its rates in 2019 by an average of 2.8%. Arizona ranks 44th in the nation for higher education spending, which helps explain the precipitous rise in tuition rates.

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Roberto Michel // Shutterstock

#1. Louisiana

- Change in tuition at public, four-year colleges 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): 105.4% ($4,773)
- Percent change in state funding per pupil 2008–2018 (inflation adjusted): -40.6%

Louisiana is the worst offender in the nation when it comes to increasing tuition, with the sticker price of attending a public college more than doubling over the last decade. With college degrees becoming more and more essential for well-paying jobs in the 21st century, this first-place ranking does not bode well for Louisiana’s future economic prospects. Though fees will likely not increase this year, Louisiana lawmakers may soon have to deal with the lack of funding for higher education causing low enrollment and financial issues across the state.

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