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Chapter 2. School-Related Characteristics

Indicator 19. College Costs

College students in the 2007–08 academic year paid more for a college education than they did a decade earlier. Between 1999–2000 and 2007–08, the total annual price of attending college for full-time, full-year dependent undergraduates, of whom about two-thirds were under the age of 25, increased at both public and private institutions (Aud et al. 2011, table A-39-1).9  The total price of attending can be offset by grants, which do not have to be repaid, and loans, which do have to be repaid. The net access price, therefore, is the total price minus grants and loans. In 2007–08, the average annual price was $12,100 to attend a public 2-year institution, $19,300 to attend a public 4-year institution, $37,400 to attend a private not-for-profit 4-year institution, and $24,200 to attend a private for-profit less-than-4-year institution (in constant 2009–10 dollars). In 2007–2008, students received a higher amount of grants and loans at each level and control of institution than in 1999–2000. In addition, public 4-year and private not-for-profit 4-year institutions saw increases in the net access price (the total price of attendance minus grants and loans). The increases in net access price suggest that the increases in grants and loans did not counteract rising tuition and fees at 4-year institutions. In 2007–08, the net access price of attending a private not-for-profit 4-year institution was greater than that of a public 4-year institution ($18,100 vs. $11,000). In addition, private for-profit less-than-4-year institutions were more expensive, on average, than public 2-year institutions (net access prices of $12,400 vs. $9,400).

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9 The total price of attending a postsecondary institution includes tuition and fees, books and materials, and an allowance for living expenses.