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Fans in the student section celebrate a Wyoming touchdown in December during the Mountain West Championship at War Memorial Stadium in Laramie. By one count, students who earn their bachelor’s degree in Wyoming pay the least amount of tuition in the country.

File, Star-Tribune

Wyoming students receive the best return on their college education investment in the nation, according to a recent study.

Students who earn their bachelor’s degree in Wyoming pay just $22,422, according to Student Loan Hero, which is the cheapest in the United States. With that degree, they’ll make $13,500 more than a Wyomingite with a high school diploma alone.

With an average salary of $45,519, a graduate in Wyoming will make back the money he or she spent on college in a little more than 18 months, Student Loan Hero says. That’s a five-year return on investment of 203 percent.

That’s significantly better than the national average, which is about 52 percent. Wyoming is followed by New Mexico (151 percent), Arkansas (120 percent), Texas (114 percent) and Georgia (104 percent) for states with the best return on investment for college graduates with bachelor’s degrees.

Vermont had the lowest return on investment, at -56.5 percent, and Student Loan Hero estimates it will take graduates there 11.5 years to recoup their investment.

Bachelor’s degree holders in Washington D.C. had the largest dollar amount difference between themselves and high school graduates, at more than $32,000.

Wyoming has consistently ranked as one of the cheapest states for secondary education costs. A separate study by Student Loan Hero, released in March, ranked the state third in the nation for college affordability, behind New Mexico and California.

The University of Wyoming is the state’s only four-year public institution, though its complemented by seven community colleges. Both UW and the community colleges have announced tuition increases for the coming years, but officials say they aren’t worried that it will dissuade students from pursuing their degrees.

Enrollment figures seem to support their optimism: UW is expecting its largest-ever freshman class in the fall, a needed uptick after a down year.

“Nobody is competing with us at all on a tuition frwont,” UW President Laurie Nichols told the Star-Tribune last month.

Follow education reporter Seth Klamann on Twitter @SethKlamann


Education and Health Reporter

Seth Klamann joined the Star-Tribune in 2016 and covers education and health. A 2015 graduate of the University of Missouri and proud Kansas City native, Seth worked for newspapers in Milwaukee and Omaha before coming to Casper.

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