For each student aid applicant, a financial aid officer develops a budget that estimates the price for that student to attend the institution. The budget includes amounts for tuition and fees (including out-of-state tuition and fees when applicable), books and materials, and reasonable living expenses for that geographic area (housing, food, transportation, and personal items). The amount allocated for living expenses takes into account whether the student lives on campus, independently off campus, or with parents or relatives. Student budgets represent what the institution thinks students would need to spend to attend, but in fact, students may spend more or less depending on their individual needs, resources, and standards of living. The budget, or price of attending, is the starting point for determining financial aid eligibility (i.e., need analysis).
Reflecting the tuition and fee increases described, the total price of attending (after adjusting for inflation) increased between 1990 and 2000 at all types of institutions except private for-profit less-than-4-year institutions, where the apparent increase was not statistically significant (table 2). In 2000, the educational expenses of full-time dependent undergraduates averaged $8,500 at public 2-year institutions, $12,400 at public 4-year institutions, $24,400 at private not-for-profit 4-year institutions, and $16,000 at private for-profit less-than-4-year institutions.
Figures and Tables
Table 2: Average price of attendance (in 1999 constant dollars) for full-time, full-year dependent undergraduates, by type of institution: 1989–90 and 1999–2000
Table SA4: Standard errors for table 2: Average price of attendance (in 1999 constant dollars) for full-time, full-year dependent undergraduates, by type of institution: 1989–90 and 1999–2000