For those thinking about attending pharmacy school, the cost of tuition is something that needs to be considered. For many, pharmacy school will follow an undergraduate education at a four-year college or university. The cost of these programs adds up very quickly, and individuals can find themselves buried under a mountain of debt. It is important to remember, though, that the cheapest program may not be the best program. Attending a more expensive, but also more elite, program may lead to better job opportunities and higher earning potentials. One should not be shortsighted when looking at the cost of pharmacy schools.
PharmD program costs can vary widely from one institution to another. Some programs are part of a state university system and may have much lower costs for in-state residents than for those attending the program who are not state residents.
It is very important to obtain accurate information regarding tuition costs. For instance, according to the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP), the least expensive program (by first-year tuition costs) is at South Dakota State University, a meager $3,700 for in-state residents and $5,550 for out-of-state tuition, with another $8,769 in mandatory fees for the program. However, going to the school’s web site reveals that in-state tuition is $7,947.60 and that tuition is $9,793.90 for non-South Dakota residents. The school’s web site also indicates that there are tuition discounts for Minnesota residents in addition to those for South Dakota residents. According to the school’s web site, this program has a first-year total cost of $12,789.18 for in-state residents and of $14,630.10 for out-of-state students. The differences in the quoted costs are $320.18 for in-state residents and $241.10 for out-of-state residents. While this may seem insignificant, when one is thinking about spending thousands of dollars on one’s education, these few hundred dollars can be used for living expenses or for additional school-related expenses, such as books. Interested students will have to look closely at both the tuition and fee schedules of the schools they are interested in.
In the case of the South Dakota State University program, it is also important to consider that this is the pharmacy school program ranked 61st in the country, which ranks it just about average, compared to its competitors.
By contrast, one of the better pharmacy schools in the country, the program at the University of Southern California, has the highest tuition costs, according to the AACP. It states that the first-year tuition costs are $41,500, with an additional $1,178 in mandatory fees. According to the University’s web site, the total educational costs for the first year of study are $64,783. This includes:
- Fingerprinting Fee: $76
- Immunization Program Fee: $168
- New Student Orientation Fee: $35
- Program Fee: $62
- Student Health Center: $472
- Student Services: $26
- Norman Topping Student Aid Fund: $16
- Student Health Insurance: $1,040
- Malpractice Insurance: $10
- Computer Access Fee: $260
- Tuition: $41,500
- Room & Board: $15,696
- Books & Supplies: $1,344
- Personal: $1,828
- Transportation: $2,250
In addition, there are other fees for parking and transcripts that may be necessary. The University estimates that the remaining years of study will each cost an additional $64,504, for a total of $129,287 to obtain one’s PharmD degree.
For those applying to pharmacy school programs, it is of vital importance to thoroughly research the cost of the education one is pursuing and to weigh that against the prestige of the program and one’s future earning potential.