College Tuition and Fees Increase Exceeds Inflation Again in 2000-2001

November 7, 2000

National Governors Association

Contact: Kristin Conklin


Tuition at Americas colleges and universities outpaced the rate of inflation again in 2000-2001. Trends in College PricingThe College Boards annual survey of tuition, Trends in College Pricing, showed that college tuition and fees rose 4.4 percent at four-year public institutions and 5.2 percent at four-year private colleges last year. Room and board expenses are also up at least 4.2 percent from last year. The rate of inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index, rose only 3.4 percent during the same period.

Increases in college enrollments and endowments have not translated into a leveling or a decrease in tuition averages nationwide. In general, the West offers the lowest average tuition rates at public four-year colleges and universities ($2,747) and the Southwest offers the lowest average tuition at private four-year colleges ($11,965). The highest tuition is found in New England, where four-year public tuition averages $4,748, and four-year private tuition averages $21,215. In such states as California, New York, and Virginia, policies now requires tuition rates be frozen at public institutions.

Financial aid from all sources increased in 2001-2001 by four percent, which was not enough to keep pace with the rise in tuition. According to the College Boards annual survey of financial aid, Trends in Student Aid, loans continue to displace grants as the primary source of student aid. Borrowed money now represents 59 percent of all aid, compared with 41 percent in 1980.

The College Board has tracked trends in college tuition and financial aid for the last thirty years. Since 1981, average, inflation-adjusted tuition has more than doubled at both public and private four-year institutions. Meanwhile, median family income has risen only 20 percent during that same time.