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The Nation's Most Affordable Colleges (Yes, There Are Some Out There)

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Getting a college degree doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg

The idea of an “affordable college” may seem oxymoronic in a time when some schools charge more than $50,000 annually for tuition, but there are good schools out there that come with a reasonable price tag.

The Department of Education is ranking American colleges and universities by affordability for the first time ever using a new interactive tool based on published tuition prices and each school’s “net price,” which is the average cost after tuition, room and board, book fees and financial aid are taken into consideration.

The College Affordability and Transparency Center exists as a result of mandated education reforms passed by Congress in 2008.

Here’s a list of the 10 cheapest schools (“cheapest” being relative, of course) in the United States with enrollments of 5,000 students or more as they ranked by the “net price” in the 2008-2009 academic years:

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  • South Texas College 1 of 10
    South Texas College
    Net price: $1,317 • Undergrad enrollment: 26,388 • Freshmen with financial aid: 86% • Location: McAllen Texas
  • University of Texas, Pan American 2 of 10
    University of Texas, Pan American
    Net price: $1,646 • Undergrad enrollment: 18,337 • Freshmen with financial aid: 87% • Location: Edinburg, Texas
  • Indian River State College 3 of 10
    Indian River State College
    Net price: $2,138 • Undergrad enrollment: 17,110 • Freshmen with financial aid: 66% • Location: Fort Pierce, Fla.
  • California State University, Dominguez Hills 4 of 10
    California State University, Dominguez Hills
    Net price: $2,451 • Undergrad enrollment: 14,477 • Freshmen with financial aid: 76% • Location: Carson, Calif
  • California State University, Los Angeles 5 of 10
    California State University, Los Angeles
    Net price: $3,263 • Undergrad enrollment: 20,619 • Freshmen with financial aid: 77% • Location: Los Angeles, Calif.
  • Palm Beach State College 6 of 10
    Palm Beach State College
    Net price: $3,490 • Undergrad enrollment: 28,017 • Freshmen with financial aid: 56% • Location: Lake Worth, Fla.
  • CUNY Lehman College 7 of 10
    CUNY Lehman College
    Net price: $4,335 • Undergrad enrollment: 12,195 • Freshmen with financial aid: 90% • Location: Bronx, N.Y.
  • CUNY John Jay College Criminal Justice 8 of 10
    CUNY John Jay College Criminal Justice
    Net price: $4,590 • Undergrad enrollment: 15,330 • Freshmen with financial aid: 79% • Location: New York, N.Y.
  • Texas A&M International University 9 of 10
    Texas A&M International University
    Net price: $4,594 • Undergrad enrollment: 6,419 • Freshmen with financial aid: 96% • Location: Laredo, Texas
  • Bellevue College 10 of 10
    Bellevue College
    Net price: $4,749 • Undergrad enrollment: 14,010 • Freshmen with financial aid: 40% • Location: Bellevue, Wash.

Source: CNN

Images: Wikipedia + Creative Commons

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