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NCES Releases New Report on Price of Attendance and Degrees Conferred

September 7, 2010

The NCES report, Postsecondary Institutions and Price of Attendance in the United States: Fall 2009 and Degrees and Other Awards Conferred: 2008-09, and 12-Month Enrollment 2008-09 focuses on IPEDS data collected in fall 2009 from 6,822 higher education institutions and administrative offices in the United States.  In academic year 2009-10, these postsecondary institutions collectively enrolled 27.4 million students (unduplicated headcount enrollment during the July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010 period). Of these, 23.7 million were undergraduates, 3.5 million were graduate students, and 197,000 were professional students (those enrolled in law, dental, other medical, and theology programs). 

During the 2009-10 period, the four-year public colleges and universities charged an average tuition and required fees of approximately $6,400 for in-state resident undergraduate students and about $15,100 for out-of-state students. Four-year private not-for-profit institutions charged approximately $21,100, on average, in undergraduate tuition and fees, and private for-profit (proprietary) institutions reported charging an average of about $15,700. These tuition and fee charges are based on the institutional "sticker prices" and do not include price reductions for financial aid or other discounts that undergraduates may have received. 

Among four-year institutions, proprietary schools reported the highest average total price of attendance during 2009-10 for students living on campus (approximately $36,700), followed by four-year private not-for-profit institutions (about $34,200). Public four-year colleges and universities reported an total average price of attendance of approximately $18,600 for in-state students living on campus and $27,700 for out-of-state students living on campus. 

The report provides information on recent trends in college costs as well. Between 2000-01 and 2009-10, four-year public colleges increased their tuition and fee charges by 46 percent increase in average inflation-adjusted value for in-state residents and a 34 percent increase for nonresidents. Over the same 10-year period, four-year private not-for-profit colleges and universities increased their tuition and fee "sticker" prices by 31 percent increase, on average, while proprietary institutions increased their tuition and fee charges by 20 percent. 

In 2008-09, postsecondary institutions collectively conferred about 4.1 million postsecondary degrees or certificates. Of these, about 1.6 million were bachelor's degrees, and 863,000 were graduate degrees and certificates. About 2.6 million of the total degrees and certificates were awarded to graduates of four-year public and private nonprofit colleges and universities. Roughly 58 percent of these awardees were women. Degrees and certificates accounted for approximately 10 percent of the awards earned by male graduates of four-year colleges and universities and 7 percent of those earned by women.  Business administration and management was also the largest program of study for master's degree recipients for both men (22 percent of the approximately 260,000 degrees) and women (11 percent of the approximately 400,000 degrees). Law was the largest program of study for both men and women who earned doctor's degrees (32 percent of the approximately 80,000 degrees awarded to men and 26 percent of the approximately 80,000 degrees awarded to women). 

The full report is available from the NCES Website.


Ken Redd
Director, Research and Policy Analysis