Big Ten student debt, tuition, cost of living comparison

As inflation is on the rise, some Big Ten universities decide whether to increase tuition or not for the 2022-23 academic year.

by Madison Roth

The University of Minnesota Board of Regents announced in June a tuition increase for University students. Some other universities in the Big Ten also decided to increase tuition, while others kept tuition frozen for the 2022-23 academic year.

In addition to tuition increasing and the average student debt rising, college students who live off campus said they also have to worry about paying monthly rent and groceries as inflation continues to rise.

Looking at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Purdue University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Michigan State University and the University of Iowa, here are the tuition increases, average student debts and costs of living between these Big Ten universities.

University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

The University is raising tuition 3.5% for resident and nonresident undergraduate students at the Twin Cities campus.

In-state tuition was $13,532 and is now $14,006 while out-of-state tuition was $32,122 and is now $33,246. This is only for tuition and does not include any fees. Cost of attendance, which includes tuition and fees, for the 2022-23 academic year is $16,108 for in-state students and $35,340 for out-of-state students.

“The decision to increase tuition, I want to be very clear, is always a last resort,” President Joan Gabel said in an interview with the Minnesota Daily. “It’s because our expenses go up. We only have so many sources of revenue as an institution. Tuition is the last thing for us to increase, but as we all know we’re in an extremely acute inflationary environment.”

The average student debt for students at the University in 2020 was $26,644, according to the Office of the President’s website.

Purdue University

Purdue University will not increase tuition this school year and has not raised tuition in the past 10 years for their students.

In-state tuition and fees at Purdue is $9,992 while out-of-state tuition and fees is $28,794. According to an article written by the Purdue University communications team, “Purdue students and their families have collectively saved more than a billion dollars since 2012-13” because of their decision to freeze their tuition rates.

Additionally, over 60% of students at Purdue graduate debt free. The average student debt was $3,389 for the 2021-22 school year, according to the article.

University of Wisconsin-Madison

The University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison) is not raising tuition for resident undergraduate students this upcoming school year, but it will raise tuition for nonresident undergraduate students 2%.

In-state tuition and fees at UW-Madison is $10,766, while out-of-state tuition and fees was $38,654 and will now be $39,354, according to the UW-Madison website.

UW-Madison’s average student debt for 2021-22 was $26,513, according to the University’s 2021-22 budget report. John Lucas, UW-Madison media spokesperson, said despite this number, almost 60% of students did not take out any loans.

“Only 40.3% of undergraduate students borrowed while attending UW-Madison, continuing a six-year trend where well over half of graduating seniors did not borrow loans while earning their degree at UW-Madison,” Lucas said.

Michigan State University

Michigan State University (MSU) is increasing tuition 3% for families that make more than $75,000 a year.

In-state tuition and fees for MSU is now $15,436 for students whose families make more than $75,000, while out-of-state tuition and fees is now $40,726, according to the MSU website.

“The decision to increase tuition was made last year as part of a three-year tuition package approved by the MSU Board of Trustees in June 2021 that laid out tuition prices and allowed families to plan for the increases by knowing ahead of time what they would be,” Emily Gerkin Guerrant, MSU vice president and university spokesperson, said.

In the 2020-21 school year, the average student debt for MSU students was $32,519, Gerkin Guerrant said. Gerkin Guerrant said MSU is investing in over $208 million in financial aid this year in hopes to help lower student debt.

University of Iowa

The University of Iowa (UI) is raising tuition for resident and nonresident students 4.25%.

In-state tuition and fees at UI is now $9,942, while out-of-state tuition and fees is $31,905, according to the UI website.

The average student who attends UI graduates with about $28,841 in student debt, UI Public Relations Manager Steve Schmadeke said. Schmadeke said about 49% of UI students graduate with no debt and that UI grants nearly $70 million in scholarships and financial aid.

“Within the last several years, we’ve added additional financial literacy officers to provide one-on-one debt counseling to students – encouraging them to live frugally and borrow only what they need,” Schmadeke said.

Cost of Living

The average cost of living for off-campus students who attend these Big Ten universities is about the same all around.

Rent for apartments near these universities ranges from about $600/month to about $1,300/month. The average cost of groceries between these five states that the universities are located in is about $258.60 per month, according to Education Data Initiative.