How UConn, CSCU tuition compare with other schools

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As the University of Connecticut gears up to raise tuition, school officials have presented UConn as a bargain when compared to other universities they handpicked.

When it comes time for UConn to compare itself, the list of comparison schools varies. We examined how the school’s price tag fares based on the different “peer institutions” and “comparison groups” they traditionally compare themselves to.

In a recent presentation on tuition planning, UConn was in the bottom half of three charts that ranked UConn and its “competitors” from highest to lowest in tuition and fees. Below is a page from that presentation that compared in-state tuition and fees:

Page 18 of Uconn Tuition Planning presentation, 10.28.2015

Page 18 of Uconn Tuition Planning presentation, 10.28.2015

Contributed to DocumentCloud by The Connecticut Mirror • View page as text

The list of “competitors” in the tuition presentation differed from the list of the school’s “peer institutions” on the university’s website. When Trend CT compared UConn’s 2014-15 tuition and fees to tuition and fees at schools on this list, the university was the third-most expensive out of nine. The 2014-15 data is the most recent data available from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

How UConn’s tuition and fees compare to those of ‘peer institutions’
UConn’s in-state, 2014-15 tuition and fees are the third-most expensive out of nine “peer institutions” on the university website.

Rutgers University-New Brunswick
$13,813

University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
$13,560

University of Connecticut
$12,700

University of Georgia
$10,836

Ohio State University-Main Campus
$10,037

Purdue University-Main Campus
$10,002

University of Missouri-Columbia
$9,433

University of Iowa
$8,079

Iowa State University
$7,731

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education

However, the lists in the UConn presentation and the peer institutions list above differed from yet another list — a “comparison group” used in an annual report by NCES that compares tuition as well as a number of other characteristics. It’s called the the Data Feedback Report generated by the NCES Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Here are the 2014 feedback reports for UConn, Central, Eastern, Southern and Western)

Trend CT sought to compare tuition at UConn as well as the CSCU schools among the respective groups the universities use for planning. For uniformity, we opted to use the NCES comparison groups, and we created the tool below.

Tuition comparisons at Connecticut public universities
Click a school name to see how in-state tuition and fees in 2014 stacked up against its “comparison group” used in the Data Feedback Reports generated by the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), which is run by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics.

University of Connecticut

University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus
$17,772

College of William and Mary
$17,656

Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus
$17,502

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
$15,020

University of California-Davis
$13,896

University of California-Santa Barbara
$13,865

University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
$13,486

University of California-San Diego
$13,427

University of Virginia-Main Campus
$13,208

University of California-Irvine
$13,179

University of California-Berkeley
$12,972

University of California-Los Angeles
$12,705

University of Connecticut
$12,700

University of Washington-Seattle Campus
$12,394

Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus
$11,394

University of Wisconsin-Madison
$10,410

Ohio State University-Main Campus
$10,037

The University of Texas at Austin
$9,830

University of Maryland-College Park
$9,427

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
$8,336

University of Florida
$6,313

Central Connecticut State University

University of Minnesota-Duluth
$12,802

William Paterson University of New Jersey
$12,244

University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth
$11,681

Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville
$9,738

Central Connecticut State University
$8,877

Salem State University
$8,646

Indiana State University
$8,416

Bridgewater State University
$8,353

Youngstown State University
$8,317

Eastern Washington University
$7,972

University of Southern Maine
$7,796

Buffalo State SUNY
$7,347

University of Central Missouri
$7,265

CUNY Brooklyn College
$6,536

Valdosta State University
$6,142

Eastern Connecticut State University

St Mary’s College of Maryland
$13,824

Ramapo College of New Jersey
$13,388

Keene State College
$12,864

University of Illinois at Springfield
$11,367

University of Montevallo
$10,660

University of Mary Washington
$10,312

Eastern Connecticut State University
$9,560

University of Maine at Farmington
$9,217

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
$8,975

Georgia College and State University
$8,960

The University of Virginia’s College at Wise
$8,868

The Evergreen State College
$8,682

Henderson State University
$7,860

Southern Oregon University
$7,701

Truman State University
$7,374

Sonoma State University
$7,276

Fort Lewis College
$7,252

New College of Florida
$6,916

Shepherd University
$6,570

Southern Utah University
$6,138

Southern Connecticut State University

William Paterson University of New Jersey
$12,244

Montclair State University
$11,540

Kean University
$11,244

University of Michigan-Dearborn
$10,952

Southern Connecticut State University
$9,157

Indiana State University
$8,416

Bridgewater State University
$8,353

University of Northern Colorado
$7,733

Rhode Island College
$7,602

Saint Cloud State University
$7,553

Buffalo State SUNY
$7,347

Southeast Missouri State University
$7,058

California State University-Chico
$7,002

University of Nebraska at Omaha
$6,750

Western Connecticut State University

Rutgers University-Camden
$13,683

Keene State College
$12,864

Plymouth State University
$12,677

Christopher Newport University
$11,646

Fitchburg State University
$9,260

Western Connecticut State University
$9,077

Westfield State University
$8,682

Worcester State University
$8,557

Framingham State University
$8,320

Frostburg State University
$7,982

Rhode Island College
$7,602

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education

How the comparison groups are chosen

The comparison groups in the Data Feedback reports may be chosen by the schools or selected by NCES if the schools don’t choose.

The selection process is both qualitative and quantitative, and the lists can include both currently similar schools and “aspirational” comparisons, according to leaders in the universities’ research departments.

While UConn’s peer institution list differed from its IPEDS comparison group, the IPEDS groups for the four CSCU schools matched the self-identified peer groups on the schools’ websites. Western didn’t have a comparison group on its website, but the list provided by Jerome Wilcox, the university’s director of institutional research and assessment, matched the IPEDS report. Eastern also didn’t have a list on its website, but Brian Lashley, Eastern’s assistant director of institutional research said the university compares itself to fellow members of the Council of Public and Liberal Arts Colleges, or “COPLAC,” which was also reflected in the IPEDS report.

What do you think?