The $10K Degree – How Close Are We Now?

This is the ninth post in the series. Probably about 3 more coming soon. Then I’ll be all tuckered out. The next 3 will lay out my vision for a college with $10,000 baccalaureates. All posts are categorized as $10K Degree.

We know that we are nowhere close to the $10K degree when we are talking about the vast majority of universities, both public and private. But how close are we to having affordable degrees right now with the current offerings that students could choose from, if they live in the right states and all the stars line up just right?

It’s impossible for me to cover all of the low-cost (actually, low-price) providers in the higher ed space, but I’ll provide a few examples that I am aware of. Since the $10K degree target is for tuition/fees/books – I’ll estimate $900 per year for books regardless of the school under consideration.

Let’s say you take the first two years at a community college. Here are some schools I’ve found with low tuition.

1) Victor Valley CC in Victorville, California. In-state tuition/fees = $38/cr. (out-of-state = $214/cr.)
California schools are still a great bargain for in-state students:

  • $38 * 30 cr. = $1,140 tuition/fees + $900 books = $2,040 per year
  • There are many CC’s in CA with similar price structures. But you need to be a resident, of course.

2) Central New Mexico CC in Albuquerque, NM  In-state tuition = $579 per semester (out-of-state = $3,008)
The tuition/fees page is a bit of a mess, but it looks like:

  • ($579 * 2) + $110 fees + $900 books = $2,168 per year
  • How about that? You can get your first two years (60 credits) for $4,336 and you’ve spent less than half of your $10,000 allocated for the degree. If you’re a New Mexico resident. Most of the other NM colleges are probably about the same.

3) Southeast CC in Beatrice, Nebraska. In-state tuition/fees = $52/cr. (Out-of-state = $64/cr.)
We’ll look at both in-state and out-of-state on this one:

  • 30 cr. * $52 = $1,560 + $900 books = $2,460 per year for Nebraska residents
  • 30 cr. * $64 = $1,920 + $900 books = $2,820 per year for non-residents
  • Some of the other Nebraska colleges are probably in the same ball park. Residents are on track for the $10K degree.

4) Georgia Virtual Technical Connection – the Georgia Technical Colleges.  Tuition = $45/cr. (allegedly)
According to their website: online courses are available at a low price. However, I tried 5 different college websites looking for info about low tuition for online courses and came up empty.  If I find it, I’ll update here. Pretty sure you’ll run into some transfer issues here for getting years 3 and 4 at a university (please correct me, if needed).

A couple others fall short of the target of no more than $2,500 per year.

5) Eastern Wyoming College in Torrington, WY. Resident tuition = $852 per semester for 15 credits.
For Wyo resident: ($852 * 2) + ($384 * 2 fees) + $900 books = $3,372

6) Portland CC in Portland, OR.  In-state tuition/fees = $85/cr. (Out-of-state = $211/cr.)
For OR (& surrounding states) residents: (30 cr. * $85) + $900  = $3,450

So, if you’re thinking about the first 2 years at a CC or TC, it looks like you have a few options, if you live in the right states. If you don’t, then the closest you can come (that I know of) is to hang out at the DQ in Beatrice, Nebraska for 2 years and spend 56.4% of your $10K allocation on tuition, fees, and books.

Now what are your options for years 3 & 4 to finish the baccalaureate? Some of the cheapest upper level (years 3 & 4) tuition and fee rates that I have found include:

If you happen to live in any of these states, the in-state tuition/fees are lower than most: (USN&WR)

  • New Mexico Highlands University: Tuition/fees of $2,952 + $900 books = 3,852
  • Macon State College (GA): $3,082 + $900 = $3,982
  • Cal State Northridge: $3,702 + $900 = $4,602
  • University of Wyoming: $3,726 + $900 = $4,626

If you don’t live in those states, or if your heart is set on going away to college, as an out-of-state student, then consider these:

  • New Mexico Highlands University: Tuition/fees of $4,652 per year + $900 books = $5,552
  • MN State Moorhead:  $6,918 + 900 = $7,818
  • Several others in the $7,000 range – check out USN&WR

BYU-Idaho is an interesting option. Doesn’t matter if you are in-state or out-of-state. It does matter whether you are an LDS faithful, or not. LDS students pay only $1,835 in tuition and fees per semester. Non-LDS pay double that. (Private school of course, so they can make their own rules – nothing wrong with that.) For LDS students, that would be $4,570 per year.

The best deal I can find is for students who are New Mexico residents.

  • Years 1 & 2 at a CC like Central New Mexico = $2,168 + 2,168 = $4,336
  • Years 3 & 4 at New Mexico Highlands = $3,852 + 3,852 = $7,704
  • Total cost for tuition/fees/books  $12,040

That’s pretty close to the arbitrary target of $10,000. It also assumes no price increases during the 4 year period – that you pass every class you take – that you never take a class that you don’t need – and that you come to the CC fully ready for college-level work (no remedial classes allowed) – and for heaven’s sake DON’T CHANGE YOUR MAJOR!!

California residents could do it for $13,284. Wyoming residents could do it for $15,996. Residents of any state could do it as an out-of-state student for $16,744 with two years in Nebraska and 2 years in New Mexico.

One last thing before I close. What about a bachelor’s degree from a school that is one of those 2yr/4yr hybrids? Several of the Florida Colleges now offer baccalaureate degrees which is why all their names changed recently along the lines of Sunshine State Community College becomes Sunshine State College.

For example: you decide that you want to earn a degree by attending Daytona State College for all 4 years.

  • Years 1 & 2: $2,768 + 2,768 = $5,536
  • Years 3 & 4: $3,010 + 3,010 = $6,020
  • Total cost for tuition/fees/books  $11,556 (Florida residents)

Wow! And I nearly forgot about this option. Turns out to be the closest I’ve found to the $10,000 target. Then there’s a whole host of other good colleges in the same system: St. Petersburg College, Miami Dade College, Broward College, Florida State College at Jacksonville, and the list goes on and on.

Many other schools are members of the Community College Baccalaureate Association. But I’m really tired of hunting down low-price providers, so you can take it from here. Feel free to leave a comment if you know of other low-price colleges and universities that come close to providing the $10K baccalaureate.

Just so I don’t have to edit the stuff above (again!) – here’s the best deals I found:

  1. Florida residents can learn B.S. for about $11.5K
  2. New Mexico residents can learn B.S. for about $12K
  3. California residents can learn B.S. for about $13K
  4. Out-of-state students (as shown above) for about $17K

There a few colleges that have a different model where students basically work their way through school. These are very interesting and will be looked at in an upcoming post. Examples include Berea College (KY), College of the Ozarks (MO), Alice Lloyd College (KY), and others.

4 Responses

  1. Barry,

    Would you be interested in coming on our show to discuss? Shoot me an email if so.

    Warmest Regards,

  2. […] The $10K Degree – How Close Are We Now? […]

  3. Hi Shawn. I’ll try to shoot you an email later today – or you can send me one any time. You’ll see the Post-it at the top of the page. Coming on your show sounds like fun.

  4. […] The $10K Degree – How Close Are We Now? […]

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