That's the case at SUNY and CUNY in New York and at Rutgers University in New Jersey.
Senior Veronica Jones had an opportunity to go to a university in New York with some scholarship money, but said even with the free money, Rutgers was a better deal.
"Being an in-state school and being a public school, it was cheaper for me to come here," she said.
Rutgers noticed a surge in its admissions over several recent semesters, and in conversations with families and students containing cost was high on the list of priorities for many of them.
"Families have always struggled with paying for college, but with this economy, they're struggling even more," Nancy Pullen said.
Pullen is Rutgers' director of recruitment. She says interest in the school is so high, especially with in-state students, that their tours are booked solid.
The cost of out-of-state or private universities can reach 50-thousand dollars a year.
"At Rutgers, for a New Jersey resident, the total cost of tuition fees, room and board, is about 21-thousand dollars a year, so less than half," Pullen said.
"I'm pretty much going to school entirely on student loans," senior Jesse Eisemann said.
Eisemann and his family crunched the in-state versus out-of-state numbers. Choosing Rutgers, he could keep his car, and still lean on home to save money.
"If I need to do laundry, I can drive it home and back because I'm saving that much money with my in state tuition," he said.
And he won't have as much in student loans to pay back when they begin coming due, just six months after he graduates.
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