Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Some More on Tuition and Fees

There is a lot of data out there on college costs, but the story is not so easily seen.

That's why I like this data set from the 2013 Digest of Education Statistics, Table 330.30. It breaks tuition charges into percentiles by college or university control and further into two-year and four-year. Use the filters (in the blue boxes, at the top) to select Tuition and Fees only, or Tuition, Fees, Room, and Board (on the left); and institutional control and type (on the right). The top chart shows the charges, in nominal (not-adjusted for inflation) dollars. For your reference, inflation over the time period of 2000 to 2012 was 33 percent.

You can see the labels at the end of the lines: Purple is 90th percentile, for instance, and the orange line shows the 25th.

But toggling through the different types of colleges and universities can be less than insightful, other than seeing they've all increased pretty dramatically over time.  Look instead at the bottom chart, which shows percent change over the same time period.  What does this suggest to you?