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Between 2013-14 and 2023-24, the average published in-state tuition and fee price for full-time undergraduates attending four-year public colleges and universities institutions declined by nearly 2% after adjusting for inflation, according to the College Board’s Trends in College Pricing 2023 report. A companion study, Trends in Student Aid 2023, found that total grant and student loan aid also fell during the past year.

In 2023-24, the average in-state tuition and fee “sticker price” for undergraduates attending full-time, full-year at four-year public colleges and universities institutions reached $11,260, while the average tuition price at four-year private nonprofit higher education institutions was $41,540. Before adjusting for inflation, prices grew by 2.5% at public colleges and 4% at private nonprofit schools. However, since inflation was 4.5% during the first eight months of 2023, these prices actually fell in inflation-adjusted value. Between 2013-14 and 2023-24, the average price declined by 1.9% after adjusting for inflation at public colleges and by 0.5% at private nonprofit schools.

Trends in Student Aid 2023 shows that the amount of grants received by undergraduates declined from about $151 billion in 2021-22 to $145 billion in 2022-23. Much of this decline occurred in the Federal Pell Grant program, which fell by roughly 3% during the past year and by 33% over the past decade.

While federal grants fell, institutionally funded grant aid rose steadily. On average, in 2021-22, undergraduates attending private nonprofit institutions received $19,870 in institutionally provided grant aid; students at public colleges and universities were awarded $3,880. Both figures more than doubled in the past decade.

Federal student loan borrowing also declined. In the past year, the amount of federal loans received by undergraduates dropped by approximately 5% in inflation-adjusted value. In the past decade, loan volume to undergraduates fell by 48%.

Total grant and loan aid fell in large measure due to sharp drops in student enrollment during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. From 2019 to 2021, the number of students enrolled in postsecondary institutions fell from 19.5 million to 18.6 million. The decline was particularly acute at community colleges, which saw a 13% decline during this period. However, more recent data from the National Student Clearinghouse show that enrollment at community colleges has begun to recover in 2023.


Ken Redd

Senior Director, Research and Policy Analysis


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