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Key Points

  • In 2015-16, the average net tuition and fee price for full-time public four-year college students from the lowest-income families was $2,340—compared with $11,150 for those from the highest-income families; average other expenses after grant aid were $12,210 and $14,640, respectively.

  • The average net tuition and fees paid by full-time students from families with incomes below $35,000 at private nonprofit four-year institutions rose by $710, from $7,710 (in 2015 dollars) to $8,420 between 2003-04 and 2011-12 and fell to $7,580 in 2015-16.

  • The average net tuition and fee price paid by full-time students from the highest-income families at private nonprofit four-year institutions rose by $1,310, from $21,050 (in 2015 dollars) to $22,360 between 2003-04 and 2011-12, and by another $1,610 to $23,970 in 2015-16.

 

Figure 11: Average Net Tuition and Fees, Net Other Expenses, and Grant Aid in 2015 Dollars by Income and Dependency Status, Public Institutions, 2003-04, 2007-08, 2011-12 and 2015-16

Figure 12: Average Net Tuition and Fees, Net Other Expenses, and Grant Aid in 2015 Dollars by Income and Dependency Status, Private Institutions, 2003-04, 2007-08, 2011-12 and 2015-16

NOTES: Grant aid includes grants from all sources but not federal tax credits and deductions. It excludes military and veterans’ benefits. Figures 11 and 12 are based on the NPSAS calculation of net tuition and fees, which applies any grant aid individual students receive in excess of the tuition and fee price to the other expenses in their budgets, including books and supplies, housing, food, and transportation. Figures 8, 9 and 10 estimate average net tuition and fees by subtracting average grant aid from average tuition and fees, which can yield negative net tuition and fee prices. Income is for the year preceding the academic year; income cutoffs are in 2014 dollars.

SOURCES: NCES, National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS), 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016; calculations by the authors.

Also Important

  • The sources of grant aid differ across income and dependency groups. For example, in 2015-16, full-time students from families with incomes below $35,000 at public two-year colleges received 75% of their grant aid from the federal government and 6% from their institutions; for those from families with incomes of $120,000 or higher, these shares were 1% federal and 45% institutional. (Trends in Student Aid 2018, Figure 18)
  • In 2015-16, full-time students from families with incomes below $35,000 at public four-year institutions received 46% of their grant aid from the federal government and 20% from their institutions; for those from families with incomes of $120,000 or higher, these shares were 1% federal and 57% institutional. (Trends in Student Aid 2018, Figure 18)
  • In 2015-16, full-time students from families with incomes below $35,000 at private nonprofit four-year institutions received 22% of their grant aid from the federal government and 63% from their institutions; for those from families with incomes of $120,000 or higher, these shares were 0% federal and 85% institutional. (Trends in Student Aid 2018, Figure 19)
  • In 2015-16, full-time students from families with incomes below $35,000 at for-profit institutions received 59% of their grant aid from the federal government and 21% from their institutions; for those from families with incomes of $120,000 or higher, these shares were 0% federal and 78% institutional. (Trends in Student Aid 2018, Figure 19)