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Below are some highlights from Trends in College Pricing 2019. Download the report's full highlights and visit our resource library to see related tables, figures, and more.

Published or Sticker Prices

Across all sectors, published prices rose much more slowly from 2014-15 to 2019-20 than in the preceding five years.

  • From 2018-19 to 2019-20, tuition and fees increased less than 4% across all sectors before adjusting for inflation.
  • From 1989-90 to 2019-20, average tuition and fees tripled at public four-year and more than doubled at public two-year and private nonprofit four-year institutions, after adjusting for inflation.

See Table 1, Table 2, Figure 1, and Figures 4A, 4B for more details.

One Price Doesn't Fit All

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

  • Across the 50 states and the District of Columbia, average 2019-20 in-district tuition and fees range from $1,430 in California to $8,210 in Vermont.
  • Average 2019-20 in-state tuition and fees range from $5,580 in Wyoming to over $17,000 in Vermont.

See Figure 5 and Figure 6 for more details.

Net Prices

Over 70% of full-time undergraduate students receive grant aid that helps them pay for college.

  • At public two-year, public four-year and private nonprofit four-year institutions, the estimated 2019-20 average net tuition and fees for full-time undergraduate students are higher than they were for 2009-10.
  • In 2015-16, more than half of full-time students at public two-year institutions and more than a quarter of full-time students at public four-year institutions received enough grant aid to completely cover their tuition and fees.
  • In that same academic year, full-time students were more likely to pay less than $5,000 in net tuition and fees at private nonprofit institutions than at for-profit institutions.

See Figures 8, 9, 10 , Figure 11, 12 and Figures 11,12 (2018) for more details.

Family Income

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

  • From 1988 to 2018, families with incomes in the bottom 20% saw their incomes rise 12%, compared to income increases of 51% for families in the top 20%.

See Figures 20A, 20B for more details.

Institutional Finances

2017-18 was the sixth year in a row that state and local funding per student increased after four years of decline.

  • In 2011-12, funding per student was $6,440 (in 2017 dollars).
  • In 2017-18, funding per student was $7,850.

See Figures 15A, 15B for more details.


In recent years, enrollment at public two-year and for-profit institutions has been declining.

  • In fall 2017, 127,000 fewer students enrolled at public two-year colleges than enrolled in fall 2015. That’s a decline of 2%.
  • For the same years, about 247,000 fewer students enrolled at for-profit institutions. That’s a decline of 18%.

See Figure 21 for more details.

To find out more about any of the highlighted data, visit our resource library or download the full Trends in College Pricing 2019 report.