If you’re like me, you’ve probably seen various montages of students finding out they got accepted to their dream college. They jump up and down in excitement, screaming and hugging their parents – who tend to be doing the same happy dance.

Such enthusiasm is definitely fun to watch, but at the same time, I have to feel a bit sorry for these kids. Their excitement seems to fixate on the college experience they will receive at a certain school. Unfortunately, many may not recognize the mountains of debt that accompany that experience.

There are a few methods, however, students can use to reduce that mountain of debt. One of these was recently highlighted by Preston Cooper in Forbes.

According to Cooper, the average cost of tuition at a public university is nearly $9,000. When adjusted by state and cost of living, however, that price tag can be much lower. The chart below details the savings students can experience if they select a college in the following states. As can be seen, the best savings can be found in Wyoming and Florida:

States Where College is Underpriced

In some states, however, students can expect to be forking out a lot more than the national average for college:

States Where College is Overpriced

Cooper goes on to warn that finding the best sticker price for college isn’t simply a matter of choosing a school in Wyoming. In-state and out-of-state college tuition pricing make a difference:

“High prices for out-of-state tuition (as well as private colleges) mean many students are held captive to the public colleges and universities in their own state.

In a normal competitive market, consumers facing high prices at one business can simply buy from another business. This keeps prices low. But this mechanism breaks down when it comes to public higher education, since students usually cannot chase the lowest tuition prices across the country. For public colleges, competition from across state borders is not nearly as important as it is for other industries. This explains not only the high cost of college, but also the wide variation in tuition across states.”

Cooper’s words bring up an interesting point. By focusing on such things as student loan forgiveness, are we not looking at the issue backwards? Wouldn’t it better to help students on the front end of college by driving costs down instead of attempting to address the issue after the costs are sunk? 

Image Credit: roanokecollege bit.ly/1ryPA8o