Trends in College Pricing 2013 and Trends in Student Aid 2013

By Betsy Prueter

The College Board recently released its two annual reports on the price of college and student financial aid. Trends in College Pricing 2013 provides data on current and historical published tuition, fees, and other expenses for undergraduate students, as well as current and trend data on the net price of an undergraduate education, including how that price varies by type of institution, state, and region. Additionally, the Trends in College Pricing report provides data on institutional revenues and expenditures, endowments, and enrollment patterns.

Trends in Student Aid 2013 provides current and historical data on the types of financial assistance to undergraduate and graduate students to finance their educations, including federal, state, institutional, and private grants, loans, work study, and education tax benefits. In addition, the Trends in Student Aid report provides information on cumulative student debt loads, student loan defaults, as well as information on college 529 savings plans.

Among the findings in both reports:

  • The average, published tuition and fees (in-state) for public four-year institutions increased by 2.9% ($247); from $8,646 in 2012-13 to $8,893 in 2013-14.
  • The average, published tuition and fees at public two-year institutions increased by 3.5% ($110); from $3,154 in 2012-13 to $3,264 in 2013-14.
  • The average, published tuition and fees at private nonprofit four-year institutions increased by 3.8% ($1,105); from $28,989 in 2012-13 to $30,094 in 2013-14.
  • Estimated average tuition and fees in the for profit sector increased by .5% ($70); from $15,060 in 2012-13 to %15,130 in 2013-14.
  • In inflation adjusted dollars, the rate of increase for in-state tuition and fees at public four-year colleges and universities from 2003-04 to 2013-14 was 4.2%. For private, nonprofit four-year institutions, the rate of increase was 2.3%.For public two-year institutions, the rate of increase was 3%.
    • The rate of increase for the past 5 years (from 2008-09 to 2013-14) was even higher. For public four-year institutions, the rate was 27%, for private, nonprofit four-year institutions, the rate was 14%, and for public two-year institutions, the rate of increase was 29%.
  • Net price (i.e., the price after taking grant aid and tax benefits into consideration) continues to rise in all sectors.
    • Between 2009-10 and 2013-14 the average in-state net price at public four-year institutions, increased from $1,940 (in 2013 dollars) to $3,120. Including room and board, that figure comes to $12,618.
    • At private nonprofit four-year institutions, net price increased from $11,550 in 2011-12 to $12,460 in 2013-14. Including room and board, that figures comes to $23,283.
  • $238.5 billion in financial aid was distributed to undergraduate and graduate students through grants from all sources, federal work-study, federal loans, and federal tax credits and deductions in 2012-13. Additionally, students borrowed about $8.8 billion from private, state, and institutional sources.
  • In inflation-adjusted dollars, total federal aid for postsecondary education has increased by 105% from 2002-03 to 2012-13. Of this federal aid, Pell grants have increased by 118%, federal loans have increased by 86%, and education tax benefits have increased by 203%. Additionally, the federal share of all funds used to finance postsecondary education has increased from 63% in 2002-03 to 69% in 2012-13.
  • In 2012-13, $185.1 billion of student aid was distributed at the undergraduate level. Of this amount, 37% was in the form of federal student loans, 19% was in institutional grants, 17% was in federal Pell grants, 9% was in federal education tax credits and deductions, 7% was in federal grants other than Pell, 5% was in employer and private grants, 5% was in state grants, and less than 1% was distributed in the form of federal work study.
  • At the graduate level, federal student loans make up a far greater share of the total fund used to finance an education. Of the $53.4 billion of student aid distributed at the graduate level in 2012-13, 63% was in loans, 18% was in institutional grants, 9% was in employer and private grants, 6% was in federal education tax credits and deductions, 3% in federal grant programs, less than 1% in state grants, and less than 1% in federal work study.