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Business and Policy Areas
Business and Policy Areas
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2015 College Cost Watch Lists Released

July 13, 2015

The Department of Education recently published its latest college cost and affordability lists on the College Affordability and Transparency Center website. A requirement of the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, the lists are intended to highlight institutions, by sector, with the highest and lowest tuition and net prices. The lists also identify institutions with the greatest percentage increases in tuition and net prices.

Overall, four-year public institutions saw an average tuition increase of 7.7 percent and an average net price increase of 6.4 percent over a three-year period between 2011-12 and 2013-14. Private nonprofit institutions saw a tuition increase of 7.9 percent and a net price increase of 9.4 percent during that same three-year period.

Of the 32 public, four-year or above institutions with the highest increases in tuition, 14 are located in Louisiana. Most other states represented had only one or two public, four-year institutions make the list.

The 2015 lists use data collected in 2013-14 through the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and are divided into six categories:

• The 5 percent of institutions with the highest tuition and fees.
• The 5 percent of institutions with the highest net price.
• The 5 percent of institutions with the largest percentage increase in tuition and fees.
• The 5 percent of institutions with the largest percentage increase in net price.
• The 10 percent of institutions with the lowest tuition and fees.
• The 10 percent of institutions with the lowest net price.

Institutions on the lists with the largest increases in tuition and fees and net price over the previous three-year period must now submit a report to ED that includes:

• A description of the major areas in the institution's budget with the greatest cost increases and an explanation of the increases.
• A description of the steps the institution will take to reduce costs in those areas.
• A description of progress made on reducing cost from institutions that were included on the same list in a previous year.
• Identification of the state body responsible for determining the cost increase, and any other relevant information, if the institution is not in the exclusive control of determining cost increases.

An exception in the law provides that if the dollar amount of the increase over three years is $600 or less, the institution is not included on the list. A number of public institutions with low tuition and low net prices, however, saw increases just over the $600 threshold.

Contact

Bryan Dickson
Senior Policy Analyst
202.861.2505
E-mail