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

University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

University of Connecticut

University of Georgia

Ohio State University-Main Campus

Purdue University-Main Campus

University of Missouri-Columbia

University of Iowa

Iowa State University

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

College of William and Mary

Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

University of California-Davis

University of California-Santa Barbara

University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

University of California-San Diego

University of Virginia-Main Campus

University of California-Irvine

University of California-Berkeley

University of California-Los Angeles

University of Connecticut

University of Washington-Seattle Campus

Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Ohio State University-Main Campus

The University of Texas at Austin

University of Maryland-College Park

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

University of Florida

Central Connecticut State University

University of Minnesota-Duluth

William Paterson University of New Jersey

University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth

Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville

Central Connecticut State University

Salem State University

Indiana State University

Bridgewater State University

Youngstown State University

Eastern Washington University

University of Southern Maine

Buffalo State SUNY

University of Central Missouri

CUNY Brooklyn College

Valdosta State University

Eastern Connecticut State University

St Mary’s College of Maryland

Ramapo College of New Jersey

Keene State College

University of Illinois at Springfield

University of Montevallo

University of Mary Washington

Eastern Connecticut State University

University of Maine at Farmington

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

Georgia College and State University

The University of Virginia’s College at Wise

The Evergreen State College

Henderson State University

Southern Oregon University

Truman State University

Sonoma State University

Fort Lewis College

New College of Florida

Shepherd University

Southern Utah University

Southern Connecticut State University

William Paterson University of New Jersey

Montclair State University

Kean University

University of Michigan-Dearborn

Southern Connecticut State University

Indiana State University

Bridgewater State University

University of Northern Colorado

Rhode Island College

Saint Cloud State University

Buffalo State SUNY

Southeast Missouri State University

California State University-Chico

University of Nebraska at Omaha

Western Connecticut State University

Rutgers University-Camden

Keene State College

Plymouth State University

Christopher Newport University

Fitchburg State University

Western Connecticut State University

Westfield State University

Worcester State University

Framingham State University

Frostburg State University

Rhode Island College

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?