The cost of college in 2028

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The cost of college in 2028

In 2028, today's 5-year-old will be starting his or her freshman year of college. How much would you need to save between now and then to pay for it?

To get an idea of the cost of college in the future, we looked at the U.S. Department of Education's college affordability data and projected* the average net price for a full year of undergraduate education for each state (plus D.C.).

(We used "average net price" because it takes into account extra expenses like books and supplies, as well as the average amount of federal, state/local government, or institutional grant or scholarship aid for incoming freshmen.)

Below are the projected 2028 costs for both a 4-year private not-for-profit institution and a 4-year public institution.



United States East Region

East Region, 4-year private (not-for-profit institutions only) vs 4-year public
State 2012-13 2028 2012-13 2028
CT $26,697 $53,569 $12,598 $32,683
DC $25,588 $45,697 N/A N/A
DE $18,849 $33,360 $13,556 $25,860
MA $27,351 $50,426 $14,415 $34,650
MD $24,110 $49,304 $13,918 $32,585
ME $23,159 $47,210 $13,213 $27,365
NH $24,928 $49,126 $18,050 $54,325
NJ $20,559 $35,318 $14,176 $29,950
NY $19,531 $45,167 $11,557 $23,072
PA $24,553 $54,533 $16,450 $43,389
RI $29,972 $61,912 $12,892 $33,377
VA $21,745 $38,544 $14,773 $39,613
VT $24,956 $48,811 $14,955 $33,046



United States Midwest Region

Midwest Region, 4-year private (not-for-profit institutions only) vs 4-year public
State 2012-13 2028 2012-13 2028
IA $19,601 $40,925 $14,787 $28,448
IL $21,819 $47,320 $14,811 $46,009
IN $21,155 $45,002 $11,100 $22,540
KS $18,386 $35,244 $11,236 $24,054
MI $17,668 $33,684 $13,094 $21,989
MN $22,316 $39,657 $13,919 $31,210
MO $19,257 $62,772 $12,491 $26,405
ND $11,895 $35,997 $10,238 $18,873
NE $19,975 $47,736 $11,822 $29,760
OH $22,331 $43,889 $12,821 $26,762
SD $19,100 $50,760 $12,570 $32,465
WI $21,495 $37,937 $12,601 $33,944



United States West Region

West Region, 4-year private (not-for-profit institutions only) vs 4-year public
State 2012-13 2028 2012-13 2028
AK $32,131 $95,982 $8,238 $6,406
AZ $19,763 $44,353 $12,296 $34,037
CA $25,449 $47,340 $10,993 $25,212
CO $20,332 $34,799 $15,903 $36,787
HI $17,566 $44,607 $8,374 $17,680
ID $16,135 $39,761 $13,579 $25,871
MT $17,615 $52,648 $12,000 $18,544
NM $22,535 $50,995 $9,842 $21,362
NV $29,512 $79,457 $10,913 $25,517
OR $25,704 $53,902 $14,179 $30,798
UT $14,638 $15,490 $11,255 $25,362
WA $25,732 $64,187 $9,982 $17,286
WY N/A N/A $11,484 $23,425



United States South Region

South Region, 4-year private (not-for-profit institutions only) vs 4-year public
State 2012-13 2028 2012-13 2028
AL $17,293 $43,822 $13,034 $42,299
AR $15,633 $32,125 $8,800 $14,572
FL $21,070 $51,345 $9,943 $27,536
GA $20,126 $48,137 $12,939 $48,855
KY $18,376 $55,621 $11,407 $26,743
LA $18,771 $58,529 $9,783 $26,491
MS $13,353 $27,925 $12,211 $31,124
NC $20,556 $43,608 $9,613 $26,448
OK $19,394 $45,216 $8,999 $23,045
SC $18,088 $44,468 $14,816 $33,881
TN $18,336 $52,936 $10,793 $30,479
TX $19,656 $52,131 $10,036 $22,634
WV $16,018 $30,356 $9,314 $16,765



To determine 2028's average net price, we calculated an average yearly increase for each state based on 6 years of data between academic years 2007-08 to 2012-13 and assumed a 2 percent annual rate of inflation.

Illustration credit: James Vaughan