Today’s College Costs

RISING COLLEGE COSTS have become a major concern. How much might your family pay? Consider some numbers:

  • According to the College Board, it costs an average $22,690 in tuition, fees, room and board to send a child to an in-state university for the 2021–22 academic year. Public university costs have increased an inflation-adjusted 158% over the past 30 years.
  • For a private college, the average tab for 2021–22 is $51,690, bringing the cost increase over the past 30 years to an inflation-adjusted 97%. Sound steep? At some elite private colleges, the cost is now more than $70,000.
  • Some have contended the real cost hasn’t climbed nearly as fast as the sticker price, thanks to financial aid. Still, as published college costs have increased, so too have education loans. Figures from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York show education borrowing up 82% over the 10 years through 2021’s fourth quarter.
  • Among students graduating from public and private nonprofit colleges during the 2019–20 academic year, 55% had borrowed to pay for their bachelor’s degree. The average amount was $28,400, says the College Board.
  • During the 2020-21 academic year, grants accounted for 56% of financial assistance to undergraduates and graduates, federal loans 34%, nonfederal loans 5%, education tax breaks 5% and work study 0.5%, according to College Board data.
  • How much debt do college students graduate with? Check out this interactive map, which allows you to look at averages by state and by individual colleges.
  • For undergraduates who take out federal loans during the 2021–22 academic year, the interest rate is typically 3.73%, up from 2.75% the year before.
  • Want to see more stats? Check out the slew of numbers compiled by

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