The University of Connecticut’s tuition is rising. In the past year, undergraduate in-state tuition has increased by $330 per semester. While the increase in tuition puts an additional burden on many students and families, this increase does not erode the position UConn has among Connecticut universities. According to the U.S. News 2022-2023 list of best colleges in Connecticut, UConn ranks second. The only institution ranked above UConn is Yale University; however, UConn beats Fairfield University, Quinnipiac University and so many others that have higher tuition rates. This simple fact that UConn is better than more expensive private schools in Connecticut shows that, for in-state students, it is absolutely a value school. To further show this point, I’m going to continue to look at UConn and Quinnipiac University, which U.S. News deems the second and fourth-best colleges in Connecticut, respectively.
First, to establish the cost of each school, UConn’s in-state tuition is $16,332 for the 2023-2024 academic year and Quinnipiac’s tuition is $50,400 for a full-time, in-state student. According to Quinnipiac’s website, “Credits taken in excess of 16 are billed at $1,160 per credit.” We don’t do that here at UConn. Now that we’ve established that UConn costs over $30,000 less, let’s look at the actual student outcomes from each university.
According to the College Board, UConn has an 83% graduation rate and a 91% retention rate, while Quinnipiac has an 80% graduation rate and an 88% retention rate. UConn offers 166 majors while Quinnipiac offers 103. UConn also has 14 schools and colleges while Quinnipiac only has nine. From this, we can assume that more UConn students complete their degrees that they intended to earn while also having more major options to choose from. Admittedly, these stats vary by site. For example, U.S. News places Quinnipiac’s graduation rate higher than UConn’s, and UConn’s six-year graduation rate is higher than Quinnipiac’s; however, the fundamental point remains that an additional cost in tuition does not compensate for the slight difference in graduation rates.
Payscale’s 2021-22 College Salary Report looks at what students make with their degree post-graduation. The average base salary of a UConn main campus graduate and a Quinnipiac University main campus graduate is $80,000 per year and $78,000 per year, respectively. I suppose one could argue that spending an extra $100,000 per year is worth it to get paid less after they graduate.
In terms of student involvement, UConn is also ahead with over 700 student clubs and organizations, while Quinnipiac has a few less at roughly 140. One can argue that UConn is bigger, hence why it has more clubs, but that argument is invalid. The argument here is that UConn’s increased size gives more opportunities to each of its students and allows them to better explore their niche. Additionally, students should appreciate the fact that UConn has a higher number of clubs rather than simply larger clubs because of their high enrollment. Quinnipiac could likewise argue the benefits of being a smaller university. There are pros and cons of each, but each school can reap the benefits of their chosen size.
Finally, Quinnipiac’s most popular major with 36% of its graduates is health professions and related programs. However, U.S.News has UConn ranked No. 39 in nursing, but has Quinnipiac University at No. 135. This is only one of many health-related majors, but the fact is that UConn has an incredibly better nursing program based on the rankings. This is surprising given that such a large percentage of Quinnipiac graduates are majoring in a health profession and indicates that UConn’s program may have been better for these graduates.are majoring in a health profession and indicates that UConn’s program may have been better for these graduates.
Yes, UConn’s tuition is rising, and yes, it adds an increased burden on students. But at the end of the day, after looking at private institutions in Connecticut, we can clearly see that UConn not only competes, but is even better than many of these institutions while still being $30,000 less in tuition per year. That makes UConn a value school.