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.