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How Much Money Colleges Spend per Student, and the Differences are Significant!

Measures of Assessment:

There are so many rankings, by so many companies, on so many topics, but I feel these metrics are worth knowing. Spending per completion is the estimated educational spending per academic degree (expenses related to instruction, student services, academic support, institutional support, operations and maintenance). It is fascinating to see the enormous discrepancy between our public colleges. For instance St. Mary’s College of Maryland spends $109,456 per student and Towson University spends $38,386; that is almost a three-fold difference. Some of the difference is due to smaller class sizes, and possibly a costly housing problem for St. Mary’s in 2011, but it is also the smaller more personal environment. Morgan State spends $102,886, almost as much as St. Mary’s, but this is probably due to a very low 11% graduation rate so the cost of all students is borne by the few that graduate.

The average four year public college in the U.S. spends $66,436 per student completion while Maryland public schools spend $55,510.

College Grad. rate
(6 year)
Grad. rate
(4 year)
Completions per 100 students Spending per completion Student aid
per recipient
Students with Pell Grants
University of Maryland at College Park 84.1% 65.7% 27 $72,818 $8,152 19.1%
St. Mary’s College of Maryland 79.3% 71.3% 22 $109,456 $8,605 15.2%
Salisbury University 66.8% 46.7% 22.8 $41,275 $4,660 22.1%
Towson University 65.5% 40.4% 23.8 $38,386 $7,031 25.0%
University of Maryland-Baltimore County 64.6% 36.8% 22.6 $60,634 $7,762 27.0%
Frostburg State University 46.5% 22.0% 21.2 $53,942 $6,343 35.0%
University of Baltimore 37.6% 23.4% 26.6 $56,061 $4,549 42.6%
Bowie State University 35.2% 12.9% 17.6 $67,945 $6,887 48.7%
Morgan State University 33.7% 11.1% 14 $102,886 $7,073 61.5%
University of Maryland-Eastern Shore 32.5% 13.4% 14.7 $105,520 $9,271 55.1%
Coppin State University 13.9% 4.1% 14.6 $117,464 $6,077 59.6%
University of Maryland University College 2.9% 1.0% 29.4 $31,611 $8,364 23.9%

This graph also breaks down the 4 and 6-year graduation rates of the different institutions. These numbers are not the same as the chart from last week, perhaps due to different reporting years. (Not all undergraduates are included in the official graduation rate. The U.S. omits part-time freshmen and those who have attended college before, among others, from its graduation-rate survey. The outcomes for those students are not known).

Graduation rates are important because that is the outcome we want, and 85% of Americans students’ surveyed think they will graduate in 4 years. That is not the case and that means not only a greater cost for a student’s education, but also lost wages by not graduating on time. This information is from   College Completion.

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