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Cost to Attend Public Colleges Varies Widely by State

Money magazine has an interesting take on the true cost of college depending on where you live.

Editors analyzed the new College Board data on the average tuition and fees at public colleges, along with tax support for higher education, to calculate the states where it is most and least expensive to send kids to an in-state university.

Specifically, Money projected how much a family earning $50,000 a year would likely pay in state taxes earmarked for higher education over 25 years, and added that to four years of in-state tuition for two children.

The most affordable states? Wyoming, where the total estimated cost for tuition for two kids plus taxes was $41,814. Alaska came in second at $55,243 and Utah in third at $55,593.

The most expensive places to live when it comes to sending kids to an in-state public school are: New Hampshire, where the tuition and tax tab came to $132,411, followed by Vermont at $129, 773, and Pennsylvania at $119,213.

The wide range is a good reminder that prospective students need to look beyond the headlines about college-pricing trends to see what the bottom-line cost will be for them and use net price calculators to figure the impact of financial aid for an even more accurate forecast of expenses.

See the complete ranking list at the "Best and Worst Places to Live for a Low-Cost College Education".

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