Trends in College Pricing: Highlights

Review highlights from the Trends in College Pricing 2021 report. You can find the full report, Excel data, and PowerPoint presentation in the Resources section at the bottom of this page.

Published or Sticker Prices

In 2021-22, the average published (sticker) tuition and fees for full-time students are:

  • Public four-year in-state: $10,740, $170 higher than in 2020-21 (1.6% before adjusting for inflation).
  • Public four-year out-of-state: $27,560, $410 higher than in 2020-21 (1.5% before adjusting for inflation).
  • Public two-year in-district: $3,800, $50 higher than in 2020-21 (1.3% before adjusting for inflation).
  • Private nonprofit four-year: $38,070, $800 higher than in 2020-21 (2.1% before adjusting for inflation).

One Price Doesn't Fit All

Published college prices vary widely, depending on the type of institution and where it's located.

  • Across the United States, average public two-year in-district tuition and fees range from $1,430 in California and $1,950 in New Mexico to $8,600 in Vermont.
  • Average 2021-22 public four-year in-state tuition and fees range from $6,100 in Wyoming and $6,370 in Florida to $17,040 in New Hampshire and $17,750 in Vermont.

Net Prices

The majority of full-time undergraduate students receive grant aid that helps them pay for college.

  • Since 2009-10, first-time full-time students at public two-year colleges have been receiving enough grant aid on average to cover their tuition and fees.
  • Between 2006-07 and 2021-22, the average net tuition and fee price paid by first-time full-time in-state students enrolled in public four-year institutions is lowest in 2021-22 at an estimated $2,640, after peaking in 2012-13 at $3,720 (in 2021 dollars).
  • Between 2006-07 and 2021-22, the average net tuition and fee price paid by first-time full-time students enrolled in private nonprofit four-year institutions is lowest in 2021-22 at an estimated $14,990.

Family Income

The income gap between families with the lowest and highest incomes is growing.

  • Between 1990 and 2020, the average income increased by 57% for the top quintile of families and by 12% for the lowest quintile of families.

Institutional Finances

2019-20 was the eighth year in a row that state and local funding per student increased after four years of decline. However, funding per student was still lower in 2019-20 than it was in 2007-08.

  • In 2007-08, funding per student was $9,000 (in 2019 dollars).
  • In 2019-20, funding per student was $8,640.

Enrollment

Between fall 2019 and 2020, total enrollment fell by 631,000 (3%). The public two-year sector saw the largest decline in enrollment—581,000 (9%). Total enrollment at the public four-year and private nonprofit four-year sectors declined by 0.7% while it increased by 33,000 (3%) at for-profit institutions.

  • Total undergraduate enrollment (including full-time and part-time students) fell by 698,000 (4%).
  • Total graduate student enrollment rose by 67,000.

Resources