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Business and Policy Areas
Business and Policy Areas

ED Unveils 2014 College Cost Watch Lists

July 9, 2014

On June 30, the Department of Education updated its annual lists of institutions sorted by price. Six separate lists are provided for nine categories of institutions, delineated by type and control. The lists are:

  • Highest tuition and fees (top 5 percent)
  • Lowest tuition and fees (bottom 10 percent)
  • Highest net price (top 5 percent)
  • Lowest net price (bottom 10 percent)
  • Largest percent change in tuition and fees over three years (top 5 percent)
  • Largest percent change in net price over three years (top 5 percent)

The information is posted online at the College Affordability and Transparency Center, developed by ED in response to requirements mandated by the Higher Education Opportunity Act.

Colleges and universities among the top 5 percent (by institution type) for increases in tuition and fees or net price over the past three years are required to provide additional detail to ED on their costs and efforts to control them.

ED has developed an online survey instrument to collect the information from the schools and prepared a summary report of the results for 2012, which also relied on data submitted to the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) finance survey. The summary report showed that almost 40 percent of the more than 500 institutions responding cited increased enrollments as a key driver in escalating costs, requiring additional staff and facilities to meet student needs.

The report notes that public institutions often don't have control over prices charged to students. Decisions at 45 percent of the public, four-year and 70 percent of public, two-year institutions are made by a statewide authority. This is the case in the nine states that account for almost half of the public institutions that landed on the lists for the highest increases.


Anne Gross
Vice President, Regulatory Affairs