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Indicators

Postsecondary Institution Revenues
(Last Updated: May 2018)

Between 2010–11 and 2015–16, revenues from tuition and fees per full-time-equivalent (FTE) student increased by 23 percent at public institutions (from $6,003 to $7,380 in constant 2016–17 dollars) and by 7 percent at private nonprofit institutions (from $20,071 to $21,394). At private for-profit institutions, revenues from tuition and fees per FTE student were 5 percent lower in 2015–16 than in 2010–11 ($15,806 vs. $16,698).

In 2015–16, total revenues at degree-granting postsecondary institutions in the United States were $564 billion (in current dollars). Total revenues were $364 billion at public institutions, $183 billion at private nonprofit institutions, and $17 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: 2015–16

Figure 1. Percentage distribution of total revenues at degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by institutional control and source of funds: 2015–16


# Rounds to zero.
NOTE: 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. 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. 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 2017, Finance component. See Digest of Education Statistics 2017, tables 333.10, 333.40, and 333.55.


The primary sources of revenue for degree-granting institutions were tuition and fees; investments;1 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 2015–16, public institutions received 43 percent of their overall revenues from government sources (which include federal, state, and local government2 grants, contracts, and appropriations). In 2015–16, student tuition and fees constituted the largest percentage of total revenues at private nonprofit institutions and private for-profit institutions (39 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, private nonprofit, and private for-profit institutions.


Figure 2. Revenues from tuition and fees per full-time-equivalent (FTE) student for degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by institutional control: 2010–11 and 2015–16

Figure 2. Revenues from tuition and fees per full-time-equivalent (FTE) student for degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by institutional control: 2010–11 and 2015–16


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 2016–17 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 2012 and Spring 2017, Finance component; and Spring 2011 and 2016, Fall Enrollment component. See Digest of Education Statistics 2017, tables 333.10, 333.40, and 333.55.


Between 2010–11 and 2015–16, 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 2016–17 dollars, based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI). During this period, tuition and fee revenues per FTE student increased at both public and private nonprofit institutions. The largest increase in revenues from tuition and fees per FTE student was at public institutions, where they increased by 23 percent (from $6,003 to $7,380), more than three times the percentage increase at private nonprofit institutions (7 percent, from $20,071 to $21,394). 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 5 percent lower in 2015–16 ($15,806) than in 2010–11 ($16,698).


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: 2010–11 and 2015–16

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: 2010–11 and 2015–16


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 2016–17 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 2012 and Spring 2017, Finance component; and Spring 2011 and 2016, Fall Enrollment component. See Digest of Education Statistics 2017, tables 333.10, 333.40, and 333.55.


Total revenues per FTE student from federal, state, and local government sources between 2010–11 and 2015–16 varied by institutional control. Revenues per FTE student from government sources were 32 percent lower in 2015–16 ($783) than in 2010–11 ($1,155) at private for-profit institutions and 14 percent lower in 2015–16 ($7,600) than in 2010–11 ($8,849) at private nonprofit institutions. At public institutions, revenues per FTE student from these sources were similar in 2015–16 ($14,959) and in 2010–11 ($14,926).

Revenues per FTE student from federal government sources alone were lower in 2015–16 than in 2010–11 across all institutional control categories. The largest percentage change was at private for-profit institutions, where federal revenues per FTE student fell by 30 percent (from $1,051 to $735). At both private nonprofit and public institutions, federal revenues per FTE student decreased by 14 percent during this period (from $8,126 to $6,959 at private nonprofit institutions and $5,578 to $4,802 at public institutions).

The percentage change in state and local government revenues per FTE student varied by institutional control. Revenues per FTE student from these sources were 9 percent higher in 2015–16 ($10,157) than in 2010–11 ($9,348) at public institutions but 11 percent lower in 2015–16 ($641) than in 2010–11 ($724) at private nonprofit institutions. At private for-profit institutions, revenues per FTE student from state and local government sources decreased by 54 percent during this period (from $104 to $48) but accounted for only a small percentage (less than one-half of 1 percent) of total revenues.


1 Investments/investment returns are aggregate amounts of dividends, interest, royalties, rent, and gains or losses from both fair value adjustments and trades of the institution’s investment and/or endowment.
2 Private grants and contracts are included in local government revenues at public institutions.


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