The cost of going to college is declining (inflation adjusted) — and public outcry over spiralling costs are partially credited.
The average private college charges $53,430 in tuition and fees and room and board in 2022-23, down from $57,350 in 2020-21, according to College Board data.
Scholars cite several reasons for the recent decline in college costs. One is that there has been rising public disdain over college costs, and colleges have responded, The Hill noted. Dozens of colleges, mostly selective institutions with large endowments, now pledge to meet the full financial needs of incoming students.
Amid growing concern about student loan debt, some schools now meet that need without loans, The Hill reported.
Adjusting for inflation, the net price for private colleges has fallen by 11% in five years, The Hill added.
At public colleges, the net price of attendance now averages $19,250. That figure has dropped by 13% in five years.
Those net price figures comprise tuition and fees and room and board, subtracting thousands of dollars in scholarships, discounts, and grants that schools and governments provide to recognize merit or need, The Hill noted.
Even for in-state students, College Board estimates the annual undergraduate budget to be nearly $30,000. That number rises to more than $45,000 for out-of-state students. There are three main reasons: growing demand, a shortage of in-state funding, and outsized investment in student services.
At a public university, about two-fifths of undergraduates pay full price, and about a quarter of students at private universities pay full price. Most full-pay students across the board are wealthy.
Comparing net prices between schools is complicated, experts say.
At a typical four-year college, every student in the lecture hall may pay a different rate.
"It's like airplane tickets," said Mark Kantrowitz, a financial aid expert. "Everybody on the flight has paid a different fare for the ticket, even though they're all going from point A to point B."
A student from a relatively prosperous family with $125,000 in household income can expect to pay $32,800 to attend a private college with a large endowment, according to a new report from the Brookings Institution.
The "average" American student pays much less. A student with a household income of $75,000 attending a well-endowed private college pays $17,700, on average.
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