Author(s): The College Board
Published: Nov. 13, 2014
"Between 2013-14 and 2014-15, the percentage increases in published tuition and fees in all sectors were lower than the average annual increases in the past five years, the past 10 years, and the past 30 years. College price increases are not accelerating. But they are accumulating. Tuition and fees have been rising in real terms for decades. The inflation-adjusted average published price for in-state students at public four-year universities is 42% higher than it was 10 years ago and more than twice as high as it was 20 years ago. In the private nonprofit four-year sector, the increases were 24% over 10 years and 66% over 20 years.
With the price of college rising faster than the prices of most other goods and services, despite the high financial payoff to college, people perceive themselves as giving up increasing amounts of other things to pay for college. Even more important is the reality that real incomes have not increased for more than a decade, except at the top of the income scale. Much of the growth in the earnings gap between college graduates and high school graduates has been the result of declining wages at the lower end of the distribution, as opposed to increases for those with a college education.
Assuring that our nation continues to provide postsecondary education to all who are motivated and can benefit is a prerequisite for both a healthy economy and a society that provides meaningful paths to rewarding and independent lives for all individuals. While published college prices can be misleading because most students receive financial aid that reduces the amount they actually have to pay, these prices provide an important indication of social priorities, of opportunities, and of the struggles facing many students and families as they plan their futures.
Trends in College Pricing 2014 reports on the published prices in 2014-15 and in previous years. We also incorporate the latest data reported in Trends in Student Aid 2014 in calculating the net prices students and families pay after taking financial aid into consideration. The information in this report provides the basis for a better understanding of college financing and for the analysis of policy options designed to reduce the barriers to a more educated population."