Below are some highlights from Trends in College Pricing 2020. Visit our resource library to see the full report, Excel data and PowerPoint presentation.
Published or Sticker Prices
In 2020-21, the average published (sticker) tuition and fees for full-time students are:
- Public four-year in-state: $10,560, $120 higher than in 2019-20 (1.1% before adjusting for inflation).
- Public four-year out-of-state: $27,020, $250 higher than in 2019-20 (0.9% before adjusting for inflation).
- Public two-year in-district: $3,770, $70 higher than in 2019-20 (1.9% before adjusting for inflation).
- Private nonprofit four-year: $37,650, $770 higher than it was in 2019-20 (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 50 states and the District of Columbia, average 2020-21 in-district tuition and fees range from $1,430 in California and $1,940 in New Mexico to about $7,100 in South Dakota and New Hampshire and $8,600 in Vermont.
- Average 2020-21 in-state tuition and fees range from $5,790 in Wyoming and $6,370 in Florida to $16,960 in New Hampshire and $17,510 in Vermont.
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 to cover their tuition and fees.
- Between 2006-07 and 2020-21, average net tuition and fee price paid by first-time full-time in-state students enrolled in public four-year institutions was lowest in 2009-10 ($2,830 in 2020 dollars); it was an estimated $3,230 in 2020-21.
- Between 2006-07 and 2020-21, average net tuition and fee price paid by first-time full-time undergraduates enrolled in private nonprofit four-year institutions was lowest in 2009-10 ($14,710 in 2020 dollars); it was an estimated $15,990 in 2020-21.
The income gap between families with the lowest and highest incomes is growing.
- From 1989 to 2098, families with incomes in the bottom 20% saw their incomes rise 21%, compared to income increases of 56% for families in the top 20%.
2018-19 was the seventh 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 2018-19 than it was in 2007-08.
- In 2007-08, funding per student was $8,800 (in 2018 dollars).
- In 2018-19, funding per student was $8,200.
In recent years, enrollment at public two-year and for-profit institutions has been declining.
- In fall 2018, 214,000 fewer students enrolled at public two-year colleges than enrolled in fall 2015. That’s a decline of 3%.
- For the same years, about 364,000 fewer students enrolled at for-profit institutions. That’s a decline of 27%.