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Key Points

  • The 2018-19 increase in published tuition and fees was largest in the private nonprofit sector, where the average price increased by 3.3% ($1,130) to $35,830.
  • Average public four-year tuition and fee prices range from $8,600 at bachelor’s colleges and $8,850 at master’s institutions to $11,120 at doctoral universities. Average published prices for these types of institutions in the private nonprofit sector are $34,920, $30,450, and $44,020, respectively.
  • The $14,000 average tuition and fee price for full-time students enrolled in for-profit institutions in 2017-18 was about four times as high as the average price at public two-year colleges and 1.4 times as high as the average in-state price at public four-year institutions that year.


Table 1: Average Tuition and Fees and Room and Board in Current Dollars, 2017-18 and 2018-19

Average Tuition and Fees and Room and Board in Current Dollars, 2017-18 and 2018-19

NOTES: Prices in Table 1 are not adjusted for inflation. Prices reported for 2017-18 have been revised to reflect the most recent information and may differ from those reported in Trends in College Pricing 2017. Public two-year room and board charges are based on commuter housing and food costs. Prices for the for-profit sector are from IPEDS and the latest available data are for 2017-18.

SOURCES: College Board, Annual Survey of Colleges; NCES,IPEDS Fall 2016 Enrollment data and IPEDS 2017 Institutional Characteristics data.

Enrollment-weighted tuition values represent the price charged by each institution weighted by the number of full-time undergraduate students enrolled in fall 2016. Public four-year in-state charges are weighted by total fall 2016 full-time undergraduate enrollment in each institution, including both in-state students and out-of-state students. Out-of-state tuition and fees are computed by adding the average in-state price to the out-of-state premium weighted by the number of full-time out-of-state undergraduate students enrolled at each institution. Room and board charges are weighted by the number of undergraduate students residing on campus for four-year institutions and by the number of commuter students for public two-year institutions.

Also Important

  • The prices shown in Table 1 are published or sticker prices. In 2015-16, about three-quarters of full-time undergraduate students received grants that reduced the actual price of college (NPSAS, 2016). Average institutional grant aid is generally higher at higher-price institutions. In addition, many states and institutions grant tuition waivers to groups such as veterans, teachers, or dependents of employees.
  • The prices shown in Table 1 are for one academic year. The total price of a college education depends on how long a student is enrolled before completing a degree. Many students spend more than four years earning a bachelor’s degree and more than two years earning an associate degree.
  • The prices shown in Table 1 are for full-time students. Prices for part-time students are typically less than those for full-time students.
  • About 18% of full-time public two-year students are in California, which has the lowest tuition and fee price in that sector. Excluding California raises the average published price of public two-year colleges from $3,660 to $4,160.