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Data
Point
U.S. Department of Education NCES 2014-902 April 2014
Out-of-Pocket Net Price for College

What is the out-of-pocket net price students must pay for college and how has it changed over time?

FIGURE 1. TRENDS IN OUT-OF-POCKET NET PRICE AND TOTAL PRICE Average out-of-pocket net price and total price among full-time, full-year undergraduates in constant (2012) dollars, by source of funds and type of institution: Selected years, 2000–12

FIGURE 1. TRENDS IN OUT-OF-POCKET NET PRICE AND TOTAL PRICE
Average out-of-pocket net price and total price among full-time, full-year
undergraduates in constant (2012) dollars, by source of funds and type of
institution: Selected years, 2000–12

NOTE: “Grants” include grants, scholarships, and tuition waivers. “Loans” include only loans to students. “Other aid” includes federal Parent PLUS loans, institutional graduate teaching and research assistantships, state vocational rehabilitation and job training grants, federal veterans benefits, and military tuition aid. “Full time” is defined as having been enrolled in one postsecondary institution for 9 months or more full time. “For-profit” includes all less-than-2-year, 2-year, and 4-year for-profit institutions. Inflation adjustment is based on an academic year (July–June) average. Estimates include students enrolled in TitleIV eligible institutions in the 50 states and the District of Columbia (excluding Puerto Rico). Estimates may not sum to totals due to rounding. All values in this figure (along with standard errors) can be found in table 1, available at https://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2014902.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 1999–2000,2003–04, 2007–08, and 2011–12 National Postsecondary Student Aid Studies (NPSAS:2000, NPSAS:04, NPSAS:08, and NPSAS:12).

Out-of-pocket net price is the immediate amount students and families must pay to attend college after subtracting grants, loans, work-study, and all other student aid from studentsí total price of attendance.1

  • Despite an increase in grant and loan aid between 1999–2000 and 2011–12, out-of-pocket expenses also increased during this period for full-time, full-year students in all but for-profit institutions.2
  • Students in private nonprofit 4-year colleges paid the highest out-of-pocket net price in all years except 2007–08, when out-ofpocket net price was highest for students in for-profit institutions.
  • Between the two most recent study periods (2007–08 and 2011–12), only students in public 4-year collegesfaced higher outof-pocket expenses: $10,800 vs. $11,800. Apparent differences for public 2-year and private nonprofit 4-year institutions were not statistically significant.

How did out-of-pocket net price vary with income in 2011–12?

  • Dependent students are those under age 24 and financially dependent on their parents. Among full-time, full-year dependent students, out-ofpocket expenses were higher at each successive income quartile, from the lowest ($8,500) to the highest ($19,700).
  • The out-of-pocket expenses for the lowest income independent students (primarily age 24 or older) were not significantly lower than those of their lowermiddle income peers ($10,900 and $11,000), but they were lower than those of students in the upper-middle and highest income quartiles. Out-of-pocket expenses were higher at each successive income quartile in the three quartiles from lowermiddle to highest.

FIGURE 2. OUT-OF-POCKET NET PRICE AND TOTAL PRICE, BY SOURCE OF FUNDS AND INCOME LEVELS IN 2012 Out-of-pocket net price and total price, by source of funds and income levels for full-time, full-year dependent and independent students in 2011–12

FIGURE 2. OUT-OF-POCKET NET PRICE AND TOTAL PRICE, BY SOURCE OF
FUNDS AND INCOME LEVELS IN 2012
Out-of-pocket net price and total price, by source of funds and income
levels for full-time, full-year dependent and independent students in
2011–12

NOTE: Independent students are age 24 or older or meet one of the following requirements: have children or other dependents, served in or are veterans of the U.S. armed forces, or are orphans or wards of the court. Estimates include students enrolled in TitleIV eligible institutions in the 50 states and the District of Columbia (excluding Puerto Rico). Estimates may not sum to totals due to rounding. All values in this figure (along with standard errors) can be found in table 2, available at https://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2014902.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center forEducation Statistics, 2011–12 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study(NPSAS:12).

Endnotes

1 This measure may not reflect the actual cost to the student over the long-term because students who finance their education using loans must repay not only the principal balance but also any accrued interest. Total price of attendance includes tuition and fees, books and materials, housing, food, transportation, and personal expenses.
2 Among for-profit institutions, out-ofpocket net price was highest in 2008 at $19,000.

Data in this report are from the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS), a nationally representative sample survey. To learn more, visit https://nces.ed.gov/surveys/npsas. For questions about content or to view this report online, go to https://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2014902.

This NCES Data Point presents information on education topics of current interest. It was authored by Laura Horn and Jonathan Paslov of RTI International. Estimates based on samples are subject to sampling variability, and apparent differences may not be statistically significant. All noted differences are statistically significant at the .05 level. In the design, conduct, and data processing of National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) surveys, efforts are made to minimize the effects of nonsampling errors, such as item nonresponse, measurement error, data processing error, or other systematic error.

TABLE 1. TRENDS IN OUT-OF-POCKET NET PRICE AND TOTAL PRICE: Average out-of-pocket net price and total price among full-time, full-year undergraduates in constant (2012) dollars, by type of institution: Selected years, 2000–12

Type of institution and year Out-of-pocket net price Other aid Work-study Loans Grants Total price
Public 2-year            
   1999–2000 $9,400 $200 $100 $700 $1,800 $12,100
   2003–04 9,400 200 200 800 2,200 12,700
   2007–08 9,600 200 200 1,200 2,300 13,600
   2011–12 9,600 300 100 1,400 3,400 15,000
Public 4-year            
   1999–2000 10,100 700 200 3,100 2,800 16,900
   2003–04 10,500 900 300 3,400 3,400 18,500
   2007–08 10,800 1,100 300 4,200 4,100 20,400
   2011–12 11,800 1,500 200 4,500 5,200 23,200
Private nonprofit 4-year            
   1999–2000 16,700 600 600 5,100 9,000 33,000
   2003–04 17,500 700 700 5,600 9,800 35,400
   2007–08 17,600 700 700 7,300 11,100 38,800
   2011–12 18,100 700 700 6,200 15,600 43,500
For-Profit            
   1999–2000 14,200 # # 6,100 2,800 24,700
   2003–04 13,000 100 100 6,700 3,800 24,900
   2007–08 19,000 100 100 8,800 2,800 31,700
   2011–12 15,000 100 100 8,100 4,100 29,300
# Rounds to zero.
NOTE: “Grants” include grants, scholarships, and tuition waivers. “Loans” include only loans to students. “Other aid” includes federal Parent PLUS loans, institutional graduate teaching and research assistantships, state vocational rehabilitation and job training grants, federal veterans benefits, and military tuition aid. “Full time” is defined as having been enrolled in one postsecondary institution for 9 months or more full time. “For-profit” includes all less-than-2-year, 2-year, and 4-year for-profit institutions. Estimates include students enrolled in Title IV eligible institutions in the 50 states and the District of Columbia (excluding Puerto Rico). Estimates may not sum to totals due to rounding.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 1999–2000, 2003–04, 2007–08, and 2011–12 National Postsecondary Student Aid Studies (NPSAS:2000, NPSAS:04, NPSAS:08, and NPSAS:12).

TABLE S1. Standard errors for table 1: TRENDS IN OUT-OF-POCKET NET PRICE AND TOTAL PRICE: Average out-of- pocket net price and total price among full-time, full-year undergraduates in constant (2012) dollars, by type of institution: Selected years, 2000–12

Type of institution and year Out-of-pocket net price Other aid Work-study Loans Grants Total price
Public 2-year            
   1999–2000 $160 $30 $20 $60 $60 $160
   2003–04 200 30 10 60 60 210
   2007–08 130 20 10 40 40 120
   2011–12 170 30 10 60 90 120
Public 4-year            
   1999–2000 100 40 20 40 60 230
   2003–04 110 30 10 40 50 140
   2007–08 80 40 10 50 50 80
   2011–12 160 60 10 60 80 170
Private nonprofit 4-year            
   1999–2000 380 100 30 120 280 470
   2003–04 490 90 30 130 360 420
   2007–08 280 120 30 150 230 270
   2011–12 400 180 30 130 270 350
For-Profit            
   1999–2000 480 240 240 160 490
   2003–04 330 160 30 240 180 540
   2007–08 440 110 20 250 90 330
   2011–12 330 160 10 130 70 340
† Not applicable.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 1999–2000, 2003–04, 2007–08, and 2011–12 National Postsecondary Student Aid Studies (NPSAS:2000, NPSAS:04, NPSAS:08, and NPSAS:12).

TABLE 2. AVERAGE OUT-OF-POCKET, AID RECEIVED, AND TOTAL PRICE BY INCOME LEVEL IN 2012: Average out-of-pocket net price, financial aid received, and total price by income levels for all full-time, full-year dependent and independent students in 2011–12

Dependency status and income level Out-of-pocket net price Other aid Work-study Loans Grants Total price
Dependent student family income            
   Lowest 25 percent $8,500 $900 $400 $3,700 $10,800 $24,400
   Lower middle 25 percent 10,900 1,600 400 4,400 8,800 26,000
   Upper middle 25 percent 14,900 2,200 300 4,400 6,000 27,800
   Highest 25 percent 19,700 2,500 200 3,700 5,400 31,600
Independent student income            
   Lowest 25 percent 10,900 700 200 5,500 6,700 23,900
   Lower middle 25 percent 11,000 900 100 6,000 5,600 23,700
   Upper middle 25 percent 11,900 1,300 100 6,100 4,100 23,500
   Highest 25 percent 13,900 1,400 # 5,700 2,500 23,500
# Rounds to zero.
NOTE: Independent students are age 24 or older or meet one of the following requirements: have children or other dependents, served in or are veterans of the U.S. armed forces, or are orphans or wards of the court. Estimates include students enrolled in Title IV eligible institutions in the 50 states and the District of Columbia (excluding Puerto Rico). Estimates may not sum to totals due to rounding.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2011–12 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:12).

TABLE S2. Standard errors for table 2: AVERAGE OUT-OF-POCKET, AID RECEIVED, AND TOTAL PRICE BY INCOME LEVEL IN 2012: Average out-of-pocket net price, financial aid received, and total price by income levels for all full-time, full-year dependent and independent students in 2011–12

Dependency status and income level Out-of-pocket net price Other aid Work-study Loans Grants Total price
Dependent student family income            
   Lowest 25 percent $210 $80 $20 $80 $220 $250
   Lower middle 25 percent 170 90 20 80 180 250
   Upper middle 25 percent 250 110 20 100 230 280
   Highest 25 percent 320 140 20 110 190 330
Independent student income            
   Lowest 25 percent 280 90 20 160 200 320
   Lower middle 25 percent 250 110 20 160 170 250
   Upper middle 25 percent 250 160 20 160 140 310
   Highest 25 percent 340 160 240 240 480
† Not applicable.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2011–12 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:12).