- The highest cost schools tend to be in the Northeast.
- The lowest-cost schools are mostly located in the Plains and the South.
- The overall average cost of tuition and required fees in the 2019-2020 school year was $21,035 per year for a public 4-year college, for an in-state student.
- For the 2019-2020 school year, the nationwide average for a year of tuition and required fees at a private 4-year college was $32,769.
- In the 2020-2021 school year, the average tuition and required fees for a year at a public college for an in-state student was $10,388 and $22,698 for an out-of-state-student.
- The average cost of a year at a private college for the 2020-2021 school year was $38,185.
Average Private College Tuition
- The average (nationwide) private 4-year college tuition, including required fees, in the 2019-2020 school year was $32,769.
- This was $886 more than the average private 4-year college tuition and required fees from the 2018-2019 school year, which was $31,883.
- Adding in room ($7,401 on average) and board ($5,761 on average) for the 2019-2020 school year, the total cost per year for private 4-year college was $45,932 per year.
- This was an increase of $1,261 over the total tuition, required fees, plus room and board for private 4-year colleges for the 2018-2019 school year.
Average Public College Tuition
- Nationwide, on average, public school tuition and required fees for a 4-year college in 2019-2020 was $9,349, for an in-state student.
- In the same year, the average out-of-state student would pay $17,674 more, for a total of $27,023.
- If the in-state student also needed to pay room ($6,655 on average) and board ($5,031 on average), then their total for the 2019-2020 school year would have been $21,035.
- The tuition and required fees for an in-state student at a public 4-year college were only $138 more in 2019-2020 than in 2018-2019, when they totaled $9,212.
- Adding in room and board brings the increase to $438, from the in-state 4-year college 2018-2019 total of $20,597.
- Public 2-year colleges including required fees were much less expensive per year, with 2019-2020 averaging only $3,377 per year.
- This was a very modest increase of only $65 over the 2018-2019 cost of $3,312 per year.
- The average out-of-state student, however, would pay $8,126 per year in 2019-2020 for a public 2-year college education, including required fees.
Average College Tuition In-State Versus Out-of-State
- In 2019-2020, the average cost of a year of out-of-state student tuition and required fees at a 4-year public school was $27,023 versus $9,349 that an in-state student would pay.
- That was a difference of $17,674 more that an out-of-state student would pay compared to an in-state student, on average, for a year of public college education at a 4-year college.
- In 2019-2020, out-of-state tuition and required fees for a year at a public 2-year college, on average, nationwide, was $8,126 versus only $3,377 for an in-state student.
- The difference between the nationwide average for in-state and out-of-state tuition at a public 2-year college for the 2019-2020 school year was $4,749.
- There was no noted difference between the average in-state versus out-of-state cost for private 4-year colleges.
Average College Tuition by State
The following statistics take into account information for full-time and full-time-equivalent students for the entire academic year. The data was compiled from the 2019-2020 school year before the COVID-19 pandemic and so does not include any changes that may have been made as a result of any refunds or other adjustments that may or may not have been instituted.
- The least expensive 2-year colleges (tuition and fees), on average, are in California at $1,270 per year, followed by New Mexico at $1,724 per year.
- The most expensive 2-year colleges (tuition and fees), again, on average, are in Tennessee at $16,937 per year, and then New Hampshire at $15,335 per year.
- On average, the least expensive 4-year college tuition and fees are for public in-state students in Florida, at $4,463 per year.
- A close second is Wyoming for 4-year public college tuition and fees for in-state students at $4,747.
- The most expensive public 4-year schools for in-state students are in Vermont at $17,083 per year, followed by New Hampshire at $16,679 per year.
- The least expensive public 4-year colleges for out-of-state students were in the District of Columbia at $12,704 per year, on average, followed by North Dakota at $13,936 per year.
- On the other hand, the most expensive public 4-year colleges for out-of-state students were in Vermont, at $41,057 per year, followed by Michigan at $36,832 per year.
- Meanwhile, the least expensive private 4-year colleges were in Idaho ($6,429 per year) followed by Utah ($7,600 per year).
- The most expensive average college tuition and fees, overall, were at private 4-year colleges in Massachusetts at $47,980 per year, followed closely by Vermont at $46,445 per year.
Average College Tuition by State (2019-2020) (Table)
|State||Public 4-year College, In-state||Public 4-year College, Out-of-State||Private 4-year College||Public 2-year College, In-state||Public 2-year College, Out-of-State|
|District of Columbia||6,020||12,704||44,134||n/a||n/a|
Source: See Reference 4, for illustration purposes only
Average College Tuition over Time
- In 1963, the total cost of a 4-year college education (for the total of all four years, including room and board plus tuition and required fees) was $5,144.
- Accounting for inflation, this would be equivalent to approximately $42,220 in today’s dollars.
- The tuition and required fees for a year of college were only $508, on average, in 1963.
- Adjusted for inflation, this would still only be about $4,239.
- In 2020, the cost was $101,584 for the total of all four years of a 4-year college degree.
- In the 10 years between the 2008-2009 school year and the 2018-2019 school year, the cost of an undergraduate education (per year) increased by 28 percent at public colleges and by 29 percent at private non-profit colleges, adjusting for inflation.
- On the other hand, during this same time period, the cost of at private for-profit colleges actually decreased by 6 percent when accounting for inflation.
- The average cost of a year of school (including tuition, fees, room, and board) in 1985 was $4,885.
- When adjusted for inflation, this would be approximately $11,369.
- In 1985, a year at a public 2-year college (including tuition, fees, room, and board) would have cost $2,981, which would be $6,938 when adjusted for inflation.
- That same year, the cost for a year at a public 4-year college, all in, would have cost $3,859, or $8981 accounting for inflation.
- Also in 1985, a year at a private 4-year college would have cost $9,228, or $21,478 adjusting for inflation, and including tuition, fees, room, and board.
Average College Tuition for Graduate and Professional Degrees
The first year for which information is available for the cost of graduate school tuition and required fees at degree-granting postsecondary schools was 1989. Beginning in the 1999-2000 school year, percentiles started to be recorded, as well as a breakdown between non-profit and for-profit private schools.
- In 1989, the average cost of graduate school tuition and required fees was $4,135 per year.
- Adjusting for inflation, the average cost of one year of graduate school tuition in 1989 would equal approximately $8,377 per year in today’s dollars.
- The average cost for a year of graduate school at a public school that year was $1,999, or about $4050 in today’s dollars.
- The same year, the cost for graduate school at a private school was $7,881 per year, or about $15,966 if accounting for inflation.
- Ten years later, in 1999, the average cost of one year of graduate school was $8,069, on average, or about $12,261 in today’s dollars.
- That same year, the average year at public graduate school was $4,042, or $6,142 in today’s dollars.
- In 1999, private schools on average were $13,821 per year of graduate school, which is approximately $21,000 in today’s dollars.
- Non-profits private schools were actually significantly more expensive than for-profits, with the average cost of a year of graduate school at a non-profit being $14,123 in 1999 versus $9,611 at a for-profit school, or $21,460 versus $14,603 in today’s dollars.
- In 1999, a year at a private non-profit graduate school was $4,512 (in 1999 dollars) more than a year at a private for-profit graduate school.
- So in 1999, private non-profit graduate schools cost an average of 46.9% more than a private for-profit graduate school.
- Most recently, as of the 2019-2020 school year, the average year at graduate school costs $19,792.
- At a public school, the cost per year now averages $12,410.
- The average cost at a private graduate school is now $26,597 per year.
- The average cost per year is actually still higher at private non-profits at $28,430 per year, versus $14,289 per year at private for-profits.
- Private non-profit graduate schools currently cost an average of $14,141 more than private for-profit graduate schools.
- In other words, a year at a private non-profit graduate school currently costs approximately 98% more per year than a year at a private for-profit graduate school.
- National Center for Educational Statistics Average Undergraduate Tuition
- Education Data Initiative Average Cost of College and Tuition
- NCES Table 348 Average Graduate and First Professional Tuition and Required Fees by Field of Study and Control of Institution
- NCES Table 330.10 Average Undergraduate Tuition Fees, Room, and Board Rates, 1963 – 2020
- NCES Table 330.50 Average and Percentiles of Graduate Tuition and Required Fees 1989 – 2020
- College Data, What’s the Price Tag For a College Education
- College Board Trends in College Pricing
- NCES Price of Attending an Undergraduate Institution
- US News, See the Average College Tuition in 2021-2022
- Fidelity College Savings and Student Debt Study