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Digest of Education Statistics: 2017
Digest of Education Statistics: 2017

NCES 2018-070
January 2018

Appendix A.5. Commonfund Institute

Higher Education Price Index

Commonfund Institute took over management of the Higher Education Price Index (HEPI) in 2005 from Research Associates of Washington, which originated the index in 1961. HEPI is an inflation index designed specifically to track the main cost drivers in higher education. It measures the average relative level of prices in a fixed basket of goods and services purchased each year by colleges and universities through current fund educational and general expenditures, excluding research.

The main components of HEPI are faculty salaries; administrative salaries; clerical salaries; service employee salaries; fringe benefits; miscellaneous services; supplies and materials; and utilities. These represent the major items purchased for current operations by colleges and universities. Prices for these items are obtained from salary surveys conducted by the American Association of University Professors, the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as well as from price series for components of BLS’s Consumer Price Index (CPI), Employment Cost Index (ECI), and Producer Price Index (PPI).

HEPI measures price levels from a designated reference year in which budget weights are assigned. This base year is FY 1983 and is assigned a price value of 100.0 for index compilation. An index value of 115.0, for example, represents a 15 percent price increase over 1983 values.

Further information on HEPI may be obtained from

Commonfund Institute
15 Old Danbury Road
Wilton, CT 06897