There are still college educations that are worth every penny. They just are a bit like finding a needle in a haystack. After researching and analyzing colleges, universities, sizes, prices, student/teacher ratios, graduation rates, freshman profiles, retention rates and more I came up with a list of 11 schools for my son to apply to for the Freshman class of 2014.
Unfortunately, New Jersey is not s great state for middle class families who want a well priced, well regarded, public college degree. In fact my son will not be applying to any of them. The New Jersey state school system only has 12 state colleges and universities to choose from. Yet the population of the state is 8.8 million residents. This is a very poor ratio of numbers of schools to population density.
Compare this ratio to a tiny state like Vermont with approximately 616,000 residents (i.e. only 3% of NJ’s population) and they have 7 public colleges and universities. Besides California, perhaps the best example of a solid, well funded state school program is the New York state system. The population in New York is approximately 19 million and they have 64 public college and universities. That means the state has roughly 2x the population of NJ and 5 times the numbers of schools.
Since the mid 1960’s they have been pouring money into the schools, making them state of the art facilities and research centers. It’s sad to say funding for the New Jersey state schools system (except Rutgers) to meet the growing population in the Garden state has just not been a priority .
College Educations worth every penny…NY State Schools
The price to attend a NJ state college or university as an in-state resident is about $23,000 – $28,000 (includes tuition, room and board and fees) depending on which school you attend. For the same price you can go to a New York State University or College and have 64 schools to choose from–what a deal.
New York state’s aggressive fund raising allows their system to meet today’s challenges with a diverse offering of schools from large universities like Albany and Stonybrook to much smaller schools like Cortland, Oneonta and Oswego. They have such a wide variety of schools to choose from; schools that in everything from science and tech, pre professional programs to engineering, performing arts and business. They also still have xclassic liberal arts programs.
New York State is such a stellar example of what a quality public higher education system should look like, President Obama actually recently visited a couple of their campuses to shine a light on their success.
There other state schools that offer reasonable tuitions to out-of-state students, but you need to look for lesser well known ones. The “big 10 schools” like University of Michigan, Wisconsin and even Vermont charge out of state students so much more they become similar to a private institution’s tuition. I found that Lyndon – part of the Vermont state school system very competitively priced, as is University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth.
Overall, my best advise is to go to a state’s webpage for a full list of the schools in their system. From there you can evaluate each school’s cost, size, program offerings etc. For instance here is the one for the SUNY schools.