Tuition and Fee Charges Increase at Slower Rate; Institutional Expenses Continue to Rise
October 21, 2005
Average published tuition and fee charges for undergraduates attending public institutions increased at a slower pace in 2005-06 compared to the increases in 2004-05. At independent four-year institutions, average published tuition and fee charges for undergraduates increased at the same rate as last year. According to the recently released 2005 Trends in College Pricing by the College Board, when comparing the increases in published tuition and fee charges in 2005-06 and 2004-05:
- At independent four-year institutions, published tuition and fee charges in 2005-06 average $1,190 more than in 2004-05 (5.9 percent increase); in 2004-05, published average tuition and fees increased 6 percent from the prior year.
- At public four-year institutions, published tuition and fee charges in 2005-06 average $365 more than in 2004-05 (7.1 percent increase); in 2004-05, published average tuition and fees increased 10 percent from the prior year.
- At public two-year institutions, published tuition and fee charges in 2005-06 increased an average of $112 (5.4 percent); in 2004-05, published average tuition and fees increased 9 percent from the prior year.
Thirty-nine percent of full-time undergraduates at public four-year institutions and 57 percent at independent four-year institutions had their published tuition and fees increase by less than 6 percent. Almost half (46 percent) of full-time undergraduates attended a four-year institution with a published tuition and fee charge of less than $6,000.
Considerable variation exits by region and state in tuition and fee charges and increases over the past decade. For example, public four-year institutions in the Southwest have experienced the most rapid growth in tuition from 1995-96 to 2005-06. Four-year public and independent institutions in New England had the highest average published tuition and fee charges of any region; public two-year institutions in the middle states had the highest average tuition and fee charges, followed closely by public two-year institutions in New England. Average published tuition and fee charges for full-time students at public two-year institutions ranged from as low as $810 in California to as high as $6,280 in Pennsylvania.
What students actually pay (net price) to attend postsecondary institutions has increased during the past decade at four-year public and independent institutions but has decreased slightly at public two-year institutions. In 2005-06, the average net price for undergraduate students attending independent four-year institutions was $11,600—an average price reduction of more than $9,000 from the published 2005-06 prices of $21,235. At public two-year institutions, the average net price was about $400; in 1995-96, it was $900 (2005 dollars).
The cost associated with operating a college or university has grown significantly over the past 20 years. Institutional expenditures for fringe benefits have increased from a Price Index of 100 in 1985 to approximately 275. Similarly, professional salary expenditures have increased from a Price Index of 100 to more than 200, and expenditures for utilities have increased from a Price Index of 100 to about 175 from 1985 to 2005.
Additional data, figures, and charts are available in the 2005 Trends in College Pricing full report on The College Board’s Web site. In addition to the 2005 Trends in College Pricing, the College Board has released its annual 2005 Trends in Student Aid (see related e-bulletin) as well as a supplement updating Education Pays 2004: The Benefits of Higher Education for Individuals and Society.
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