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Out-of-State Colleges Compete for Students as Tuition Fees Escalate in California

April 23, 2011

The average per capita personal income in California fell 2.5% to $42,325 (over the period 2007-9). In just one year, based on a survey of Bay Area, California and select out-of-state schools, private college tuition fees are rising at 5% per year or higher. California’s public university system is seeing even faster tuition inflation – as high as 44% in one case. If the current rate of tuition increases continues, it is possible that private college tuition for one year could exceed the average per capita personal income in California. Add on living expenses, books and transport and that’s already the case.

With increasing pressure on both public and private colleges in California, neighboring states are seeing increased enrollment from California students. This was evident at the East Bay College Connection Fair held recently at St. Mary’s College of California. Washington State University touted it’s “Cougar Academic Award” to out-of-state students ($4,000 and $9,000 awards, based on GPA, SAT and ACT results). Western Washington University distributed information on scholarships for out-of-state students including the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) program (which reduces the out-of-state tuition to 150% of in-state based on merit). Western Oregon University put a spotlight on the $9,504 in potential savings through the WUE program. Not all public colleges in neighboring states participate in WUE – and it is important for parents interested in taking advantage of this program confirm that awards will guaranteed in future years. Some colleges have opted out of the program altogether as more California students look outside California for college options.

Colleges from neighboring states weren’t just touting tuition-reduction programs like WUE. Completing a four-year degree in four years is also a major cost factor. Several colleges in Washington and Oregon were quick to highlight that their public colleges were not suffering from the class impacts that have made graduating in four years a challenge for some programs.

College Tuition Cost Changes (2009-10 to 2010-11)

Bay Area 4-Year Colleges Type Tuition (’09-’10) Tuition (’10-’11) Change
St. Mary’s College of California Private $33,250 $35,430 7%
University of California – Berkeley Public $7,656 $8,325 9%
Stanford University Private $36,030 $38,700 7%
San Francisco State University Public $3,762 $4,740 26%
San Jose State University Public $3,992 $5,054 27%
Santa Clara University Private $34,950 $37,368 7%
CSU – East Bay Public $3,392 $4,872 44%
California College of the Arts Private $31,382 $33,254 6%
Mills College Private $35,190 $37,605 7%
Select 4-Year Colleges (California) Type Tuition (’09-’10) Tuition (’10-’11) Change
California Institute of Technology Private $34,437 $36,282 5%
Chapman University Private $34,700 $38,254 10%
California Institute of the Arts Private $35,406 $36,742 4%
Pepperdine University Private $36,770 $39,080 6%
CalPoly – San Luis Obispo Public $5,043 $6,498 29%
San Diego State University Public $3,754 $4,902 31%
Thomas Aquinas College Private $22,400 $22,400 0%
UC – Davis Public $8,635 $9,364 8%
UC – Irvine Public $8,046 $9,399 17%
UC – Los Angeles Public $7,551 $9,151 21%
University of Southern California Private $37,844 $39,274 4%
Premier Out of State 4-Year Colleges Type Tuition (’09-’10) Tuition (’10-’11) Change
Harvard University Private $36,173 $36,828 2%
Princeton University Private $34,290 $36,640 7%
Yale University Private $36,500 $38,300 5%
M.I.T. Private $37,782 $39,212 4%
Columbia University Private $39,326 $41,316 5%

(source: College Board 2010 and 2011 College Handbooks)

Canadian University Options

For those in the Bay Area with Canadian citizenship, Canadian universities are an attractive option – there is no concept of “in-state” or “out-of-state” for Canadian universities, but rather “citizen” or “non-citizen” tuition rates. Canadian citizen tuition rates at Canadian universities range from CDN$2,500 to $10,000 (depending on the program, vs. non-citizen rates that vary depending on the program from CDN$15,000 to CDN$28,000) and all Canadian public universities offer a comprehensive set of degree options. Using the University of British Columbia as an example, the annual tuition for an Engineering major is CDN$5,422 for Canadian citizens and permanent residents, vs. CDN$26,355 for non-citizens / residents. More information on UBC’s tuition fees is available here. Canadian citizens returning as students are also eligible for health coverage under the Canadian system (there may be a waiting period depending on the province). Read more…

Every province in Canada has one or more comprehensive public universities. There are far fewer private college options in Canada due to the strength of the publicly funded system. Here are some of the west-coast Canadian university options to consider:

A complete list of Canadian universities is available here.

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