With no tuition increases for three straight years, Palm Beach State College continues to have the lowest tuition in Florida among public four-year colleges and universities, and it now has the sixth-lowest in the nation, according to new data compiled by the U.S. Department of Education.
The Department of Education recently released the updated college cost list on its College Affordability and Transparency Center. Based on 2012-13 data, the list shows that PBSC’s yearly tuition for a full-time student was $2,324, while the national average for public four-year colleges and universities was $7,407. The national ranking is one notch better than last year, when PBSC had the seventh-lowest tuition.
“The fact that Palm Beach State College has low tuition is a good thing,” said Karla Registre, vice president of the Student Government Association on the Lake Worth campus. “When I was applying to colleges, I was planning to go to a university, but when I checked out tuition, I realized that was just way too much for me to live on my own. I knew my financial aid was not going to cover those kinds of prices, and I would end up having to taking out loans, which I really did not want to do at this point. I looked at Palm Beach State College, and I realized it was the best option because you basically do get the same thing but just at a lower price.”
The College Affordability and Transparency Center allows students and families to search for costs in various categories, including highest and lowest tuition and net prices, which is the cost of attendance minus grants and scholarship assistance, for public and private for-profit and nonprofit, four-year and two-year institutions. A total of 4,269 institutions are included on the combined lists.
The DOE first launched the online center in 2011 to comply with the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008. It provides more comprehensive information for parents and students about college costs, allowing them to make informed decisions. At that time, based on 2009-10 data, PBSC had the ninth-lowest tuition in the nation.
Trustees recently approved the college’s 2014-15 fiscal year budget, which called for tuition for students pursuing associate’s degrees and certificates to remain flat for the third year in a row. The tuition for bachelor’s degree courses, regulated by the Florida Legislature, also will remain unchanged for the second year in a row.