2024 E-Insights Report

Affordable Education

Education, the bedrock of individual and societal progress, should ideally be readily accessible to all. Yet, the rising costs of college tuition and associated expenses can transform this pursuit into a daunting financial hurdle for many.

Understanding the educational landscape of Tampa Bay requires looking beyond its borders. Examining key indicators alongside other MSAs provides a nuanced perspective on its strengths, weaknesses, and potential for growth.

This section undertakes such a comparison, scrutinizing metrics including undergraduate and graduate tuition rates and student loan debt. By reflecting on Tampa Bay’s position against similarly sized peers, we aim to glean deeper insights into the current standing and future trajectory of our region’s educational affordability. This comparative analysis highlights areas where Tampa Bay shines, uncovers gaps that demand attention, and is likely to inform strategies for cultivating a robust and thriving educational ecosystem that is affordable.

Key Insights

  • Tampa Bay boasts the most affordable graduate tuition among 19 other major metropolitan areas, with costs even dipping slightly in recent years making it budget-friendly for graduate students. The region has significantly improved its competitive rank from ninth in 2012 to first in 2021 for the average cost for graduate education.
  • While graduate programs shine, average undergraduate tuition has steadily increased, pushing Tampa Bay down five spots to No. 12 in affordability for 2022.
  • The Tampa Bay region ranks second in Florida and sixth compared to other MSAs for lowest student loan disbursements, with a total disbursement of almost $4 billion.