EPI's weekly illustration of education data trends — January 10, 2018

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Two-Year Comparison of Tuition, Fees, and Other Costs at Institutions of Higher Education (2014-15 to 2016-17)


A new report from the US Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics and Institute of Education Sciences outlines college prices for the two years 2014-15 and 2016-17. In Postsecondary Institutions and Cost of Attendance in 2016-17, the two-year price increase at four-year public institutions was 4.5 percent for publics and 5.5 percent for private, nonprofit institutions. Understand that this increase is over a two-year period and not a one-year increase, which makes the Department's analysis interesting because that isn't the typical way to look at this issue (typical is a one-year comparison). Thus, the "average" annual increase, inflation adjusted, was 2.25 percent for public four-year institutions and 2.75 percent for privates.

Public, four-year tuition and fee charges were $8,148 in 2016-17 and $18,415 for out-of-state students. At the private, four-year level, tuition and fees hit $27,260 in 2016-17.

Tuition and fee charges at public, two-year institutions rose 5.1 percent during the same period, or an average of 2.55 percent per year, to $3,479.

Room and board prices also rose at similar rates, but books and supplies actually decreased. This could be due to electronic purchasing and renting of textbooks, which, while still remarkably expensive, are priced lower than physical book purchases.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2017/2017075rev.pdf