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feature image of Rabbit Food article

Budgeting

Why a Public University Makes Sense for Your Budget

You have plenty of options when it comes to selecting your ideal school from which to earn your degree. So why should you attend a public university?  One of the primary reasons a public college is an ideal choice is how kind it is to your budget—both during and after school.

Here are a few of the ways in which a public university is the right choice for your finances.

Tuition is more affordable

One of the most clear-cut benefits of attending a public university versus a private college is the differentiation between average tuition costs. Your budget will feel much more flexible, as the average cost of enrolling in a private school's bachelor's degree program is four times as much as a comparable public program, according to College Board. The cost savings on upfront charges alone can leave you more room in your budget for textbooks and living expenses.

Living is more affordable

Speaking of living expenses, public universities are also generally more affordable in the housing department than private colleges or universities. While space and quality are fairly comparable between the two, public schools are able to offer more affordable options for room and board, with College Board estimating as much as 11 percent less expense to the student.

Better academic support

Classroom success will be a major factor in getting the most out of your college education. And with a public university's larger student body, you'll get a more diverse menu of options for academic assistance. Thanks to the larger alumni networks and financial support that come with a public school, support services are typically more comprehensive and more available. This opportunity can save public university students on the expense of private tutoring or off-campus academic support sources.

Academic diversity

Your college budget is not just about the upfront costs—it also should factor in the potential for lucrative careers post-graduation. A public university, thanks to a considerably larger student body and alumni network than most private schools, traditionally offers a wider variety of courses, degree options and potential career paths. (Plus the connections afforded to the alumni of a public school are often wider than those attending a private school.) These are all elements that can positively and noticeably affect future pay.

Higher future pay

And since we're on the subject of future pay, public universities also traditionally yield the highest-earning graduates. Not simply nationally, either—according to PayScale, South Dakota's top five colleges for producing the highest-earning bachelor's degree-holders include four public, state-funded universities. (SDState happens to be one of them.)