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Postsecondary Institution Revenues
(Last Updated: May 2017)

Between 2009–10 and 2014–15, revenues from tuition and fees per full-time-equivalent (FTE) student increased by 22 percent at public institutions (from $5,724 to $6,963 in constant 2015–16 dollars) and by 6 percent at private nonprofit institutions (from $19,586 to $20,820). At private for-profit institutions, revenues from tuition and fees per FTE student were 9 percent lower in 2014–15 than in 2009–10 ($15,089 vs. $16,531).

In academic year 2014–15, total revenues at degree-granting postsecondary institutions in the United States were $567 billion (in current dollars). Total revenues were $347 billion at public institutions, $200 billion at private nonprofit institutions, and $20 billion at private for-profit institutions.


Figure 1. Percentage distribution of total revenues at degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by institutional control and source of funds: 2014–15

Figure 1. Percentage distribution of total revenues at degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by institutional control and source of funds: 2014–15

# Rounds to zero.
NOTE: Percentages are based on current dollars. Government grants, contracts, and appropriations include revenues from federal, state, and local governments. Private grants and contracts are included in the local government revenue category at public institutions. All other revenue includes gifts, capital or private grants and contracts, hospital revenue, sales and services of educational activities, and other revenue. Revenue data are not directly comparable across institutional control categories because Pell Grants are included in the federal grant revenues at public institutions but tend to be included in tuition and fees and auxiliary enterprise revenues at private nonprofit and private for-profit institutions. Degree-granting institutions grant associate's or higher degrees and participate in Title IV federal financial aid programs. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), Spring 2016, Finance component. See Digest of Education Statistics 2016, tables 333.10, 333.40, and 333.55.


The primary sources of revenue for degree-granting institutions were tuition and fees; investments; and government grants, contracts, and appropriations. The percentages from these revenue sources varied by institutional control (i.e., public, private nonprofit, and private for-profit). In 2014–15, public institutions received 44 percent of overall revenues from government sources (which include federal, state, and local government1 grants, contracts, and appropriations). In 2014–15, student tuition and fees constituted the largest percentage of total revenues at private nonprofit institutions and private for-profit institutions (35 and 90 percent, respectively).

It is important to note that public and private institutions report financial information according to the accounting standards that govern institution types. Pell Grants are included in federal grant revenues at public institutions but tend to be included in tuition and fees and auxiliary enterprise revenues at private nonprofit and private for-profit institutions. Thus, some categories of revenue data are not directly comparable across public, nonprofit, and for-profit institutions.


Figure 2. Revenues from tuition and fees per full-time-equivalent (FTE) student for degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by institutional control: 2009–10 and 2014–15

Figure 2. Revenues from tuition and fees per full-time-equivalent (FTE) student for degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by institutional control: 2009–10 and 2014–15

NOTE: Full-time-equivalent (FTE) student enrollment includes full-time students plus the full-time equivalent of part-time students. Revenues per FTE student are reported in constant 2015–16 dollars, based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) adjusted to a school-year basis. Revenue data are not directly comparable across institutional control categories because Pell Grants are included in the federal grant revenues at public institutions but tend to be included in tuition and fees and auxiliary enterprise revenues at private nonprofit and private for-profit institutions. Revenues from tuition and fees are net of discounts and allowances. Degree-granting institutions grant associate's or higher degrees and participate in Title IV federal financial aid programs. Some data have been revised from previously published figures.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), Spring 2011 and Spring 2016, Finance component; and Spring 2010 and 2015, Fall Enrollment component. See Digest of Education Statistics 2016, tables 333.10, 333.40, and 333.55.


Between 2009–10 and 2014–15, the percentage change in revenues from tuition and fees per full-time-equivalent (FTE) student varied by institutional control. Revenues per FTE student are presented in constant 2015–16 dollars, based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI). During this period, both public and private nonprofit institutions received higher tuition and fee revenues per FTE student. The largest increase in revenues from tuition and fees per FTE student was at public institutions, where they increased by 22 percent (from $5,724 to $6,963), more than three times the percentage increase at private nonprofit institutions (6 percent, from $19,586 to $20,820). Although revenues from tuition and fees remained the primary revenue source at private for-profit institutions, revenues from tuition and fees per FTE student were 9 percent lower in 2014–15 ($15,089) than in 2009–10 ($16,531).


Figure 3. Revenues from government grants, contracts, and appropriations per full-time-equivalent (FTE) student for degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by source of funds and institutional control: 2009–10 and 2014–15

Figure 3. Revenues from government grants, contracts, and appropriations per full-time-equivalent (FTE) student for degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by source of funds and institutional control: 2009–10 and 2014–15

NOTE: Full-time-equivalent (FTE) student enrollment includes full-time students plus the full-time equivalent of part-time students. Revenues per FTE student are reported in constant 2015–16 dollars, based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) adjusted to a school-year basis. Private grants and contracts are included in the local government revenue category at public institutions. Revenue data are not comparable across institutional control categories because Pell Grants are included in the federal grant revenues at public institutions but tend to be included in tuition and fees and auxiliary enterprise revenues at private nonprofit and private for-profit institutions. Degree-granting institutions grant associate's or higher degrees and participate in Title IV federal financial aid programs. Some data have been revised from previously published figures.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), Spring 2011 and Spring 2016, Finance component; and Spring 2010 and 2015, Fall Enrollment component. See Digest of Education Statistics 2016, tables 333.10, 333.40, and 333.55.


Total revenues per FTE student from federal, state, and local government sources combined were lower in 2014–15 than in 2009–10 across all institutional control categories. The largest percentage decrease was at private for-profit institutions, where revenues per FTE student from combined government sources decreased by 42 percent (from $1,330 in 2009–10 to $769 in 2014–15). Revenues per FTE student from government sources were 2 percent lower in 2014–15 ($14,338) than in 2009–10 ($14,683) at public institutions and 11 percent lower in 2014–15 ($7,734) than in 2009–10 ($8,721) at private nonprofit institutions.

Revenues per FTE student from federal government sources alone also decreased between 2009–10 and 2014–15 across all institutional control categories. The largest percentage decrease was at private for-profit institutions, where federal revenues per FTE student fell by 43 percent, roughly 5 times the percentage decrease in federal revenues per FTE student at public institutions (8 percent) and roughly 4 times the percentage decrease at private nonprofit institutions (10 percent).

The percentage change in state and local government revenues per FTE student also varied by institutional control. Revenues per FTE student from these sources were 1 percent higher in 2014–15 than in 2009–10 at public institutions but 24 percent lower in 2014–15 than in 2009–10 at private nonprofit institutions. At private for-profit institutions, revenues from state and local government sources were 35 percent lower in 2014–15 than in 2009–10 but accounted for only a small percentage (less than one-half of 1 percent) of total revenues at institutions of this category of control.

The percentage of revenues from investment returns, or investment income, was higher at private nonprofit institutions than at public or private for-profit institutions. In 2014–15, revenues from these investments accounted for 11 percent of total revenues at private nonprofit institutions but accounted for less than one-half of 1 percent of total revenues at public institutions as well as at private for-profit institutions.


1 Private grants and contracts are included in local government revenues at public institutions.


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