The 10 Cheapest Colleges in Indiana
Between 2008-2009 and 2018-2019, the cost of college grew 28% at public institutions and 19% at private nonprofit institutions. As college expenses continue to rise, more and more students are prioritizing affordability when choosing a school. A new study found that 40% of students rate cost as “most important” when choosing where and how to pursue higher education.
Tips for Saving Money on College
Although college costs are growing, there are a handful of strategies students can use to help make higher education more affordable.
Graduate On Time (or Early)
Less than half of college students graduate in four years. Whether it’s paying for classes that don’t satisfy degree requirements or an extra year of room and board, the more time you spend in college, the more money you also spend. Accelerated programs and 4+1 master’s degree programs (which allow students to graduate with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in just five years) are smart options for those looking to lower the amount of time and money spent on college.
Earn Credit in High School
Earning college credit while in high school is another smart strategy for ensuring you graduate in four years and don’t incur extra college costs. Many colleges award credit to high school students who earn an acceptable score on their AP and IB exams. Another option is the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) offered by the College Board—the organization that administers the SAT—which allows students to test out of introductory courses.
Step Down a College
Opting to attend one of your “safety” schools over your “reach” can also help cut the cost of college. The most well-known and prestigious schools don’t need to attract top students with merit aid, but many really good colleges try to entice top applicants to their campus with attractive aid packages. Simply, applying to colleges where your profile is particularly strong is a good way to set yourself up to receive extra aid.
The 10 Cheapest Colleges in Indiana
Another method for controlling the cost of college is to attend an affordable institution. Keep in mind that sticker price isn’t the best method for determining the cost of college. Net price (sticker price minus aid) provides a clearer picture of what it really costs to attend college.
Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $7,715/$20,574
Location: Gary, IN
Acceptance Rate: 82%
Undergrad Enrollment: 3,500
IU Northwest offers small-school charm with easy access to the big city—its compact 43-acre campus is just 30 miles outside of Chicago. IU Northwest is one of the most diverse schools in Indiana; 48% of the student body is minority students and 42% are first-generation college students. IU Northwest is also the only public comprehensive institution of higher education in Indiana, and one of three total, designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution—a label given to schools where Hispanic and Latino students make up at least a quarter of the full-time undergraduate population.
Learn more about Indiana University Northwest and what it takes to get accepted.
Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $15,763/$22,555
Location: Hammond, IN
Acceptance Rate: 30%
Undergrad Enrollment: 9,500
Purdue University Northwest (PNW) provides students with a great blend of city life and nature—the main campus is just 30 miles from Chicago while its rural Westville campus is just 15 miles from Indiana Dunes National Park and Lake Michigan. PNW is home to more than 70 areas of study through its six colleges and 38 countries are represented by students on campus.
Learn more about Purdue University Northwest and what it takes to get accepted.
Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $16,673/$29,532
Location: South Bend, IN
Acceptance Rate: 87%
Undergrad Enrollment: 4,700
IU South Bend is the oldest and largest regional campus of the Indiana University System. IU South Bend offers nearly 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs through its six schools. South Bend is also rife with opportunities outside of the classroom—the university is home to more than 100 student clubs and organizations and hosts over 100 art events annually.
Learn more about Indiana University-South Bend and what it takes to get accepted.
Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $16,841/$25,371
Location: Vincennes, IN
Acceptance Rate: N/A
Undergrad Enrollment: 17,400
Vincennes University has the distinction of being Indiana’s first college—it was founded in 1801, before Indiana had even achieved statehood. Vincennes University offers eight bachelor’s degree programs and more than 90 associate degree programs through its six colleges.
Learn more about Vincennes University and what it takes to get accepted.
Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $17,495/$29,726
Location: Fort Wayne, IN
Acceptance Rate: 83%
Undergrad Enrollment: 9,600
Purdue University Fort Wayne (PFW) is known for its mastodon mascot, the only mastodon mascot in the nation. The school’s unique mascot is traced back to the discovery of a mastodon skeleton in Angola, Indiana, by its chair of the Department of Geology shortly after the university was founded. Mastodons roamed the southern Great Lakes region more than 10,000 years ago—today, PFW offers more than 200 programs, ranging from actuarial science to women’s studies, through its six colleges and schools.
Learn more about Purdue University Fort Wayne and what it takes to get accepted.
Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $18,097/$30,956
Location: New Albany, IN
Acceptance Rate: 85%
Undergrad Enrollment: 4,600
Located in suburban New Albany, IU Southeast is just six miles from Louisville, Kentucky, providing students with a variety of employment opportunities along with easy access to numerous cultural excitement and events. It wasn’t until the late 2000s that IU Southeast got its first residence halls and they’ve earned acclaim—the website Niche ranks IU Southeast 17th in the nation (out of 1,392) for best college dorms in America and 58th (out of 1,419) for the best college campus in America.
Learn more about Indiana University-Southeast and what it takes to get accepted.
Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $18,799/$30,336
Location: Evansville, IN
Acceptance Rate: 94%
Undergrad Enrollment: 9,500
USI’s gorgeous 1,400-acre campus is located on the Ohio River and serves as a center for a tri-state region that includes Illinois and Kentucky. USI is an easy drive from major cities like Indianapolis, Louisville, Nashville, and St. Louis. The university offers 60 bachelor’s degree programs through its four colleges. USI is a Carnegie Foundation Community Engaged University, a designation given to schools committed to fulfilling their social responsibilities through community engagement and service.
Learn more about the University of Southern Indiana and what it takes to get accepted.
Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $20,022/$38,824
Location: West Lafayette, IN
Acceptance Rate: 67%
Undergrad Enrollment: 33,700
Purdue University is the largest college in Indiana and the 15th largest college in the nation. You could say Purdue students have their heads in the clouds—it’s home to the nation’s first university-owned-and-operated airport (now the second-busiest airport in Indiana) in the country, was the first university to offer a four-year bachelor’s degree in aviation, and the famous pilot Amelia Earheart was once a part-time staff member. Purdue has been called the “Cradle of Astronauts,” and both the first and last people to walk on the moon are Purdue alumni.
Learn more about Purdue University and what it takes to get accepted.
Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $20,096/$41,778
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Acceptance Rate: 79%
Undergrad Enrollment: 21,200
IUPUI is Indiana’s premier urban research university. IUPUI offers more than 550 undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs, including the nation’s first bachelor’s degree in motorsports engineering and the world’s first school of philanthropy. IUPUI is also home to Indiana’s only school of dentistry. Diversity and inclusion are important to IUPUI—29% of students are people of color and 29% of tenure-track faculty are minorities.
Learn more about Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis and what it takes to get accepted.
Total Cost In-state/Out-of-state: $20,482/$31,586
Location: Terre Haute, IN
Acceptance Rate: 92%
Undergrad Enrollment: 10,900
Indiana State University’s Sycamore Graduation Guarantee helps ISU students reign in college costs. The Sycamore Graduation Guarantee ensures students are able to complete their bachelor’s degree on time—if a student doesn’t graduate within four years (and meets their responsibilities) the college will pay their tuition and fees. ISU is also known for Donaghy Day, a tradition named after an ISU graduate and professor, in which students work to beautify the campus and surrounding community.
Learn more about Indiana State University and what it takes to get accepted.
How Much Will College Cost Your Family?
The actual cost of each college can vary significantly and the sticker price of a school is a poor indicator of what you will pay. For example, it’s possible that an expensive private college ends up being more affordable than an in-state public school after financial aid is figured in.
Net price—a calculation that accounts for financial aid—is a better measure of what college will actually cost. Most colleges provide a net price calculator, however, our free Financial Aid Calculator allows you to easily estimate the expense of college for hundreds of schools in just minutes. Use it in conjunction with our free Chancing Engine—which estimates your odds of acceptance—to gain a clearer understanding of your college future.