It’s no secret — the average cost of college stateside has skyrocketed in recent years. In the good old days, baby boomers were able to support themselves through higher education with just part-time summer jobs. Nowadays, millennials are struggling through their adult lives to repay the huge student loans they took out. While the rising cost of college has rendered higher education more expensive, it is not out of reach for most people, and, with some careful planning, it can even turn out to be a bargain. Read on for our full analysis.
Stats and Facts on the Average Cost of College
- In-state students pay about $103,456 to attend a four-year college.
- Out-of-state students pay $174,884 on average for higher education.
- In the last 20 years, the cost of college has grown at a rate of 6.8% per year.
- The average college class costs approximately $1,677.
- The average cost of attending college online varies between $38,496 and $60,593.
- A student will spend about $1,200 per year on textbooks.
Average Cost of 4 Year College Statistics
1. Alumni of an in-state institution should expect to pay around $103,456 in total for the cost of state college.
Out of this, $38,320 goes towards tuition fees and $65,136 on additional expenses such as housing, food, and other necessities. This compares to a bill of $174,884 at the end of the four years for out-of-state students. They pay an estimate of $109,748 on tuition and $65,136 on other expenses.
2. For graduates of a private non-profit university, the total cost of college amounts to a whopping $215,796.
Their tuition amounts to approximately $148,800 while they spend about $66,996 on related goods and services. For attendees of a for-profit institution, the average total cost of 4 year college is $138,192. They spend $53,900 in fees and $84,292 on other necessary purchases.
3. The cost of college education for students attending an in-state school for two years is $32,074 in total.
They pay just $6,744 for fees and $25,330 for other expenses. Those that go to a two-year private non-profit institution, graduate with an average total bill of $69,112. They pay about $34,588 on tuition and their adjacent costs are $34,524. For-profit colleges charge, on average, $31,948 for two years of tuition fees and students attending those spend around $27,968 on the rest of their necessities, amounting to a total cost of $59,916.
Private vs. Public College Facts
4. The average cost of private college is around $50,900 in total.
Out of that, $34,740 is spent on tuition. Students of private universities pay about $12,210 for room and board, $1,220 on books and supplies, $1,030 on transportation, and $1,700 on miscellaneous expenses.
5. Out-of-state public institutions cost around $40,940 in total for a four-year program.
Public colleges have the reputation of being cheaper than the cost of a private college, but how much can students really save? The tuition price tag at a public college stands at $25,620, with other expenses on top of that. Students who pick the in-state route meanwhile will pay $25,290 on average to cover the full costs of attending a four-year program.
6. Unsurprisingly, the average cost of community college is lower than the cost of 4-year college education.
Public community colleges cost $4,864 (in-state) and $8,622 (out-of-state) per year. However, the amount students in America spend on higher education is still very high, with student loan stats showing that borrowers spend approximately 20 years paying off their debt. Taking into account the interest and income loss they face, the ultimate cost for a bachelor’s graduate may even go above $400,000.
Average Cost of College Per Year Stats
7. In the United States, the average yearly college cost for in-state university students is $25,864.
Meanwhile, the median price of in-state tuition is $9,580 per year, and the additional expenses a student should expect to have to support themselves are around $16,284. Out-of-state tuition averages $27,437, with estimated $16,284 additional expenses needed, totaling $43,721.
8. Nonprofit university students spend $53,949 as their average yearly cost of college.
As much as $37,200 from the total per-year amount goes to tuition and other fees. The remaining $16,749 meanwhile goes to cover related costs. For-profit college attendees pay an average of $34,548 per year in total. Out of that, $13,475 goes to annual college fees, and $21,073 is allocated for the rest.
Stats on How to Lower the Average Cost of a Four Year College
9. Around 66% of students apply to the federal financial aid program.
Undergraduates eligible for federal work-study earn about $1,794 per year, on average. Moreover, 18% of students gain income through work-study. Financial aid consists of grants and scholarship programs designed to help students with good results in school and sports. Students with disadvantaged personal situations who show extraordinarily academic results may also be favored. As such, the average cost of college tuition can be reduced drastically.
(Education Data, Federal Student Aid)
10. About 60% of students receive scholarships, with an average award of $7,923.
Those who score a GPA of 4.0 or higher get the chance of getting a scholarship and sidestep some college costs, but other students may also benefit from them in special circumstances. Each school may have different rules on them. But how much does it really help? Besides covering the tuition costs, the aid may also be spent on other necessities, within reason. Students that have the opportunity for one should, as the average cost of college after scholarships are significantly lower, if not even zero.
11. Approximately 10% of high school students participate in dual enrollment courses.
These programs allow high-school students to participate in classes at institutions such as community colleges. Also referred to as early college, this type of program is a great way to earn some extra credits for free or very cheap. These will then count to the requirements for the future college curriculum while at the same time also allow high schoolers to finish their current education. It can be challenging to study in this rhythm, however, it’s a great way to reduce the average cost of a semester of college, since you won’t be paying for as many classes.
12. In 2018-2019, over eight million students enrolled in community college.
One often-overlooked way of getting a higher education is through a 2-year program in a community college, maybe even in your hometown. Many students falsely believe their careers will suffer if they do not complete the full four years in university. The truth, however, is that employers rarely care and the money saved due to the lower cost of community college is not something to pass up on easily. College students can take valuable credits for a fraction of what they would have spent otherwise.
13. The average cost of online college tuition ranges from $38,496 to $60,593.
Over the past few decades, online college classes have also been growing in popularity. It doesn’t just offer a cheaper alternative to traditional higher education, but it’s also more flexible and convenient.
Besides the cost of online college tuition being lower, a ton of other expenses can also be avoided. Some students may even choose to keep living with their parents and have basically zero accommodation costs. Another huge advantage of online college is that due to its flexibility, students may have an easier time working while also completing their education.
Average Cost of Books for College Statistics
14. The cost of college textbooks can add up to over $1,000 a year.
College textbooks are infamous for burdening down students, not only literally, but also in price. Many students have also complained that besides paying a lot of money, they didn’t even use some of the textbooks at all. Still, a study done by US PIRG found that 94% of students who didn’t have the textbook required for a class felt their academic progress was impacted negatively. The average cost of college textbooks is estimated to be around $1,200 per year.
(Cappex, U.S. PIRG)
15. Over two-thirds (67%) of students choose to buy old books instead of paying the high fees for new ones.
While this might not always be an option since some classes require supplemental materials that will only come with a new book, most of the time it is a viable alternative. Besides, your chances of finding a book that still is in good shape are fairly high. If some notes and scribbles here and there are not distracting, this option can be a significant cost saver. To top it all off, at the end of the semester, you can then resell it yourself, and recoup some of your money, lowering your average cost of college books significantly.
16. Over half of students rent textbooks.
Renting or sharing books is another great alternative students use to save on costs. Studies show that 55% of all students rent textbooks. Sharing is also widely popular, so, if you have a friend taking the same classes as you, splitting the cost of a book in two is a good alternative. If you can manage it, you could even split it with multiple people, and bring your average cost of college textbooks per semester lower.
17. Digital books can more than halve textbook costs.
Digital books are another new and creative way students are saving money. Textbook companies do offer, most of the time, a digital alternative. This is great news for students since the cost of physical books is always higher. For example, a new copy of the 11th edition of Campbell Biology costs over $200, while its digital counterpart can be obtained for as little as $55.
Additional Major Student Expenses Statistics
18. The average cost of college student health insurance is estimated to be somewhere in the $1,500-$2,500 range per year.
Most students don’t want to hear a word about health insurance. Colleges, however, typically require enrollment in a student health insurance plan if they are not already insured elsewhere. However, 8.7% of students in 2016 still lacked coverage, exposing them to enormous potential financial hardship due to the exorbitant costs of healthcare in the US.
19. Attendees of a 4-year institution pay anywhere ranging from $10,216 to $11,945 to cover room and board costs.
One cost that students can hardly avoid is housing since most are not attending college in their hometown or even home state. Food is another significant daily expense. Students who live on campus spend around $11,451 annually while the average cost of college room and board for those who stay off-campus is $10,781.
20. Students spend $11,620 on room and board at public four-year institutions on average.
This doesn’t tell us the full story though, as, depending on where you attend, these costs may go up or down drastically. For example, students at the University of California, Berkeley, pay approximately $19,620 yearly, which is almost double the national average. On the other hand, Northwestern Oklahoma State University attendees have to pay significantly lower, $4,950 per year. This is half the average cost of room and board for college in America.
(The Scholarship System)
Stats on the Historic Cost of College
21. The price for higher education has grown by 3,009% over the last 50 years.
While inflation naturally accounts for part of this surge, data shows that since 1970, the total inflation has been only 591.38%, meaning that the truth still stands: the cost of college over time is skyrocketing.
22. The average cost of college in 1970 was $405 per year for four-year public institutions.
The actual numbers pointing to the growth of the cost of college tuition over time are extraordinary, showing it cost $1,792 to attend a private establishment in the 1970s. Over the next decade, it grew to $800 and $3,620 for public and private education, respectively. In 1990, students paid $1,910 on average per year to attend public universities and $9,340 for private ones. By 2000, the costs had climbed to $3,510 and $16,070. The following decade, the prices grew to $7,630 and $26,770.
Average College Expenses by State
23. For the 2019-2020 academic year, statistics place the average cost of college in California at $3,736 for in-state and $19,272 for out-of-state.
Unsurprisingly, the cost in California is higher than the national average. Glendale Career College has been dubbed as the most expensive, requiring a total of $71,838 for fees. At the other end of the spectrum, the ABC Adult School costs only $700.
(College Tuition Compare)
24. Infamous for its high costs of living, New York City also requires a hefty price for college.
NYU estimates the total costs of attendance for alumni of 2020 at $76,614, out of which $53,310 were spent on tuition and fees, $18,684 for room and board, $752 on books, $1,110 for transit, $2,758 for personal expenses, and $4,620 on miscellaneous purchases.
25. The average cost of college in Texas is just over $16,000.
The median in-state yearly cost of college in Texas for tuition was about $16,319 for the 2019-2020 academic year. Midwestern State University Wichita Falls meanwhile has been dubbed as the most affordable college in the state.
(CollegeCalc, Affordable Schools)
26. The average cost of college in Florida is just over $6,000 if you’re from the Sunshine State.
College tuition on average in 2020 was $6,179 for state residents and $23,861 for students from a different state. The most expensive is the University of Miami ($51,930) and the cheapest is the University of South Florida-Sarasota-Manatee ($16,502) when we consider the average total cost of college.
(College Tuition Compare)
27. The cost of college in Michigan is among the lowest in the country.
To attend the Ann Arbor University of Michigan, the estimated fees for students in 2020 were $15,558 for in-state freshmen and sophomores and $17,522 for juniors and seniors. Also, out-of-state students paid about $51,200 and $54,794, respectively.
Stats on the Average College Costs Abroad
28. Canadians pay about $5,100 a year on college education.
As a multicultural and diverse country like the US, Canada is highly attractive for students from all around the globe and fetches lower tuition fees than the average cost of college in America. The cost of college in Canada is an average of C$6,463 ($5,139) for undergraduate degrees per year. International students should expect a yearly bill of C$29,714 (~$22,500).
29. Thе cost of college in Germany is zero for locals and in most cases, for international students.
It might be shocking for someone from the US, but the average cost of a college education for most of the Universities in Germany is actually zero. You read that right. Since 2016, the majority of German universities have abolished fees for higher learning. Besides some small administrative spending and living expenses, the cost of free college stands.
Since 2016, however, some establishments (albeit not all) reintroduced fees for internationals. For example, non-EU attendees of Baden-Württemberg must now pay €3,000 (~$3,500) per year in tuition fees, which is still a bargain compared to the average cost of college in the States.
30. The cost of college in France is also zero in most cases.
As a member of the EU and the European Economic Area, France offers the option to attend college for free to students that come from other members of these political and economic unions. However, if you are an international student, you must pay tuition fees. International students in France will have to fork out €2,770 ($3.356) per year in tuition fees.
31. The cost of college in Japan is also lower than the average cost of college in the US.
Japan is known to offer some of the highest standards of education in the world. Compared to their American counterparts, Japanese students have it easy, having to pay ¥535,800 (or $6,500) per year.
(International Student Insurance)
32. Australia has over 624,000 international students and counting.
While there’s a lot to look forward to if you go to study Down Under, the cost of college in Australia is quite high, with estimates suggesting that a student must pay about A$20,290 (~$14,600) per year on living costs and AU$30,840 (~$22,170) on tuition. This would put the average cost of a college degree obtained in Australia at a minimum of $169,840.
33. Students looking for a better deal on the cost of college tuition than in the US may want to look somewhere different than Ireland.
While a little cheaper, the cost of college in Ireland is still higher than in most places in Europe. As such, it costs approximately between $9,915 and $13,145 to study for a year at Trinity College Dublin. The University College Cork charges around $7,320-$28,550, depending on the area for those studying abroad.
The Bottom Line
The average cost of college and university is on the rise, which puts a lot of pressure on students and their families. That said, there are ways to reduce those costs with careful planning and possibly, exploring some overseas studying options.
References: Education Data, ValuePenguin, Education Data, Federal Student Aid, NACEP, CCRC, U.S. News, Cappex; U.S. PIRG, PRNewswire, Back2BU, U.S. News, BestColleges, The Scholarship System, InflationTool, Yahoo, College Tuition Compare, CNBC, CollegeCalc, Affordable Schools, College Tuition Compare, CNBC, TopUniversities, TopUniversities, Study.eu, International Student Insurance, TopUniversities, Master Portal
What is the average cost of college in the US? ›
The average cost of college* in the United States is $35,551 per student per year, including books, supplies, and daily living expenses. The average cost of college has more-than doubled in the 21st century, with an annual growth rate of 7.1%.What is the general trend of the cost of college? ›
College costs have been on a mostly upward trend for the last two decades. In addition to rising tuition prices, paying for housing, food, transportation, books and other school-related fees can add thousands of dollars to college expenses. To cut costs and limit student debt, many families consider in-state colleges.How many people don't go to college because of the price? ›
As college costs continue to rise, financial hurdles are proving insurmountable for many potential students. Thirty-four percent of young adults who aren't currently enrolled in college say it's because they can't afford it.How does the cost of college affect students? ›
The Effect of Rising Tuition on Students and Graduates
Student loan debt increased 76% since the class of 2000, exceeding the inflation rate by 41%. As of 2021, student loan debt stands at about $1.7 trillion. Graduate student debt contributes a disproportionate amount.
There are a lot of reasons — growing demand, rising financial aid, lower state funding, the exploding cost of administrators, bloated student amenities packages. The most expensive colleges — Columbia, Vassar, Duke — will run you well over $50K a year just for tuition.What are 3 reasons why the cost of college is increasing? ›
- Economic Trends. One of the biggest factors affecting college tuition is the overall economic climate. ...
- It's Taking Students Longer to Graduate. ...
- The Traditional Campus Experience Costs More. ...
- Sticker Price Is Often Much Higher Than Tuition Paid. ...
- Fees Add Up.
That's a 180% increase. College prices have soared across all institution types, but private nonprofit institutions continue to cost more than public colleges.What are the 6 common costs for college? ›
- Tuition & Fees. College tuition and fees are the greatest costs of attending college. ...
- Books & Supplies. Look into options for buying used books or renting books. ...
- Housing/Rent. Most schools offer various options of on-campus housing and dorm rooms. ...
- Food. ...
- Transportation. ...
- Entertainment. ...
- Other Expenses.
According to the latest findings, computing science degrees have the highest number of students dropping out. The most recent research available says that 10.7% of students never graduate from computing. Advertising comes second, with 7.7% of dropouts. Then, there is agriculture, with a 7.4% dropout rate.What college has the highest dropout rate? ›
=1. American InterContinental University-Atlanta (30% retention rate)
Who is most at risk of dropping out of college? ›
Postsecondary students from households with incomes in the lowest quarter are 79.3% more likely to dropout than students from the highest quarter-income households. Most college dropouts are between the ages of 35 and 64 years old. 37.1% of individuals aged 25 to 44 years have bachelor's degrees.Will college ever be affordable? ›
In fact, the average net tuition and fees paid by in-state students at public four-year colleges is on track to be at the lowest point in 16 years, when adjusted for inflation, according to the report. For 2021-2022, it's estimated to be $2,640 this year, down from an inflation-adjusted high of $3,720 in 2012-13.What can reduce the cost of college? ›
- Consider dual enrollment. ...
- Start off at a community college. ...
- Compare your housing options. ...
- Choose the right meal plan. ...
- Don't buy new textbooks. ...
- Earn money while in school. ...
- Explore all of your aid options. ...
- Be responsible with your student loans.
Despite the rising cost of post-secondary education, a college degree still pays off for the majority of graduates. On average, those with a bachelor's degree earn significantly more than their peers with only a high school diploma.Why should college be free? ›
Research shows that free tuition programs encourage more students to attend college and increase graduation rates, which creates a better-educated workforce and higher-earning consumers who can help boost the economy.Why the cost of college should be reduced? ›
To ensure that hard-working students can obtain higher education while affording basic needs, it is imperative to vastly reduce or eliminate the cost of public four-year universities before it is entirely unobtainable for lower-income Americans.Why do we pay for college? ›
It helps cover the amount an institution spends to provide educational services to students, but the total amount to deliver a high-quality college education exceeds the price students pay.How can the government lower the cost of college? ›
Lowering barriers to entry, increasing price transparency, and imposing sense onto federal financial aid programs will all help reduce the cost of college for students.Why is college tuition rising faster than inflation? ›
The reasons for such an rise in tuition can be attributed to a variety of factors including less state funding, an increase in demand, and even an increase in the amount of federal aid awarded.What's the best way to pay for college? ›
- Fill out the FAFSA. ...
- Search for scholarships. ...
- Choose an affordable school. ...
- Use grants if you qualify. ...
- Get a work-study job. ...
- Tap your savings. ...
- Take out federal loans if you have to. ...
- Borrow private loans as a last resort.
When did college become unaffordable? ›
And yet, by 1970, college access was disrupted by double-digit inflation and a struggling economy. Tuition and fees rose alongside the inflation rate, making college — once again — unaffordable for many students.Why is college so expensive 4 reasons for the ever rising costs? ›
College tuition and student-loan debt are higher than ever. College is expensive for many reasons, including a surge in demand, an increase in financial aid, a lack of state funding, a need for more faculty members and money to pay them, and ballooning student services.Is college more expensive now than in the past? ›
From tuition hikes to higher student loan borrowing costs, inflation is making college even more expensive. Beyond highlighting the overwhelming burden of student loan debt, the last few years of economic turmoil have also shed light on the sky-high cost of college.What are the top three costs of college? ›
- Tuition. ...
- Room and Board. ...
- Textbooks and School Supplies. ...
- Equipment. ...
- Personal Expenses. ...
- Transportation. ...
- School and Activity Fees.
- ROOM & BOARD. The cost of a place to live and the meals you eat for the school year. ...
- BOOKS & SUPPLIES. The cost of such items as books, course materials, office and art supplies. ...
- PERSONAL EXPENSES. ...
- TRANSPORTATION. ...
- TUITION & FEES.
Clothing and personal care
- Electronics: $306.41.
- Furnishings: $164.38.
- Clothes: $158.98.
- School supplies: $83.56.
- Criminal Justice.
- Religious Studies.
- Social Work.
What are the hardest degree subjects? The hardest degree subjects are Chemistry, Medicine, Architecture, Physics, Biomedical Science, Law, Neuroscience, Fine Arts, Electrical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Economics, Education, Computer Science and Philosophy.What is the most successful degree? ›
|Rank||Degree subject||% high meaning|
|2||Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS)||44%|
|3||Applied Economics and Management||69%|
Like high school, a good college GPA is generally 3.7 or above, and ideally higher in your major classes. Graduate schools in particular tend to weight GPAs more heavily than test scores.
What college has lowest graduation rate? ›
|University of Akron Wayne College Orrville, OH||5.6%|
|Oklahoma State University Oklahoma City Oklahoma City, OK||5.7%|
|Blinn College Brenham, TX||5.8%|
|Dallas College Dallas, TX||5%|
Based on these numbers, the college dropout success rate is only at around 6%. There is no guarantee of financial success if one chooses to leave school and pursue an interest that could possibly be translated into a scalable business.What is the #1 reason students dropout of college? ›
While financial issues are probably the most common reason for dropping out of college, every student has their own reasons. Some unfortunately have family issues, a lack of support, or unexpected medical problems that are beyond their control.What are 3 reasons students drop out? ›
- Family obligations.
- Financial difficulties.
- Moving to a different part of the state or country.
- Unprepared for the academic requirements.
- Need a break from the rigors of education.
- Lack of dedication and time for classes and coursework.
Seventeen percent of US college students don't plan to return in the autumn, a survey shows. The strong jobs market and rising costs are some of the reasons given for dropping out of college. Some students say they can't afford tuition or regular living expenses, while others want to start a business.How much does it cost to study in USA for 4 years? ›
|Average fees at US universities, 2018-19|
|Public two-year colleges||Public four-year colleges (out-of-state fees)|
|Tuition and other fees||$3,660||$26,290|
|Room and board||$8,660||$11,140|
|Total (per year)||$12,320||$37,430|
Despite the rising cost of post-secondary education, a college degree still pays off for the majority of graduates. On average, those with a bachelor's degree earn significantly more than their peers with only a high school diploma.What is the average cost of 1 year of college? ›
Average College Tuition and Fees
For the 2021-2022 academic year, the average price of tuition and fees came to: $38,070 at private colleges. $10,740 at public colleges (in-state residents) $27,560 at public colleges (out-of-state residents)
|Subtotal - billed costs||$72,357|
|Estimated personal expenses (including $800-$1,000 for books)||$3,500|
|Estimated travel costs||$0-$4,150|
|Total billed and unbilled costs||$75,857-$80,007|
The following are the top five best state in USA for Indian students:
- New York.
How can I study free of cost in USA? ›
Apply for Scholarships
International students can study in USA for free by applying for fully-funded or partially-funded scholarships in the USA. The amount of funding provided by each scholarship varies according to the applicant's study level, course, and institution.
USA has always been considered as one of the most expensive countries to pursue higher education for international students. Students can also find colleges that offer high-quality education at affordable prices. Here is a list of some of the cheap universities in USA.What degrees are not worth getting? ›
- Advertising. If you're an advertising major, you may hope to get into digital marketing, e-commerce, or sports marketing. ...
- Anthropology And Archeology. ...
- Communications. ...
- Computer Science. ...
- Creative Writing. ...
- Criminal Justice. ...
- Culinary arts. ...
The College Debt Numbers
From a general economic perspective, earning a college degree is still worth it. On average, students who graduate with a bachelor's, regardless of their major, will increase their earnings potential relative to their non-bachelor counterparts.
“If the question is 'Is it worth taking student debt to go to college and finish a degree vs. not going to college,' the answer is, for the vast majority of people, it is worth doing it.” It's important to note that it's hard to know exactly how causal these estimates are—how much of the college effect is selection vs.How much is normal for a college student to spend in a month? ›
According to Admissionly, depending on how strictly your student budgets, their average monthly spending will likely fall between $1,400 and $2,082 for necessity and non-necessity expenses combined.How much should you spend on college? ›
In looking at all ranked schools, the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2022-2023 school year is $39,723 at private colleges, $22,953 for out-of-state students at public schools and $10,423 for in-state residents at public colleges, according to data reported to U.S. News in an annual survey.How much does a college student cost per month? ›
What is a good college student monthly budget? According to the College Board, the average college student spends approximately $2,270 per month on living expenses.What GPA is required for Harvard? ›
Most students admitted to Harvard have an unweighted GPA of 4.18 or above, so you'll need to have at least a 4.2 to be seriously evaluated. To meet the Harvard requirements, you'll have to score primarily A's on your high school courses.What GPA do I need to get into Harvard? ›
It is tough to get into Harvard. The university receives applications from more qualified applicants than they can accept, and most applicants have at least a 4.18GPA. Meeting GPA and SAT/ACT requirements (although these are now optional) will help you get through the first round of filters.
Is Harvard free if you get in? ›
If your family's income is less than $75,000, you'll pay nothing. Families who earn more than $150,000 may still qualify for financial aid.