It varies greatly. The most cost-effective education for a freshman or sophomore is community college in your district/county/state. Tuition is often just $80-110 per credit hour. After 60 credit hours (equaling 2 yrs of college), transfer can then be made to a four year college - in order to complete the junior and senior year. Four year public colleges or universities are more expensive than community/junior colleges, but far less expensive than private institutions, which can cost upwards of $50,000 per year for tuition alone, at the most expensive ones.