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Price Increases Sharpest at Public Colleges

Price Increases Sharpest at Public Colleges
September 30, 2005

The cost of attending a public four-year institution rose by 22 percent between 2001-2 and 2004-5 and tuition and fees for in-state students at the institutions grew by 33 percent, more than for any other sector of higher education, according to a U.S. Education Department report issued Thursday.

The study, "Postsecondary Institutions in the United States: Fall 2004 and Degrees and Other Awards Conferred: 2003–04," is released annually by the National Center for Education Statistics. It contains a wealth of data on the number of colleges and universities in the United States, how much it cost to attend them, and how many degrees they awarded and to whom, among other things.

Private four-year colleges (nonprofit and for-profit alike) were more expensive for students to attend than public four-year and two-year institutions, with full-time residential studies paying an average total of $26,292 to attend a private nonprofit college (including room, board and books) and $27,852 to attend a for-profit four-year institution. But driven largely by the significant cutbacks in state general fund expenditures on higher education during the early part of this decade, public four-year colleges saw the biggest increases in student charges from 2001-2 to 2004-5, as shown in the following table:

Changes in Tuition and Cost of Attendance For Full-Time Students, 2001-2 to 2004-5

  Cost of attendance Tuition and fees  
Institution type 2001-2 2004-5 % change 2001-2 2004-5 % change
Public 4-year (in state) $11,700 $14,320 22.4% $3,687 $4,920 33.4%
Public 4-year (out of state) 17,576 21,621 23 9,412 11,973 27.2
Public 2-year (in-district) 7,877 9,257 17.5 1,539 2,000 30.0
Public 2-year (out of state) 10,077 11,876 17.9 4,470 5,326 19.1
Private nonprofit            
4-year 22,606 26,292 16.3 13,748 16,222 18.0
2-year 15,487 17,889 15.5 7,082 8,325 17.5
Private for-profit            
4-year 23,192 27,852 20.1 10,641 12,965 21.8
2-year 18,952 23,150 22.1 9,510 10,910 14.7

 

The study also revealed continuations of prevailing demographic trends among the student population. Of the more than 2.7 million degrees awarded by colleges in the United States in 2003-4, 58.2 percent went to women, up from 57.9 the year before. And the number and proportion of degrees awarded to black and Hispanic students also inched up, although the biggest increase came in the category of students whose race was unknown, many of whom are likely to have declined to identify themselves.

Degrees Granted 2002-3 and 2003-4, by Gender and Race 

  2002-3   2003-4  
Degrees granted No. of degrees % of total No. of degrees % of total
Total 2,620,984 100.0 2,755,402 100.0
By Gender:        
Men 1,103,695 42.1 1,152,560 41.8
Women 1,517,199 57.9 1,602,842 58.2
By race:        
Black 237,615 9.1 253,862 9.2
Hispanic 175,290 6.7 189,470 6.9
White 1,751,927 66.8 1,813,246 65.8
Asian/Pacific Islander 150,438 5.7 157,162 5.7
American Indian/Alask 19,764 0.8 21,310 0.8
Race unknown 144,017 5.5 171,413 6.2
Nonresident alien 141,843 5.4 148,939 5.4

 

The gender imbalance was greater among two-year institutions than four-year ones. Women received 57.2 percent of degrees awarded by four-year colleges and 62 percent of the degrees give out by two-year colleges.

Among other findings of the study:

  • Of the 6,383 institutions in the United States in 2004-5, 2,027 were public institutions, 1,875 were private nonprofit, and 2,481 were for-profit.
  • Of the 2.2 million degrees awarded in 2003–4 by four-year institutions, 6 percent were associate degrees, 63 percent were bachelor’s degrees, 25 percent were master’s degrees, 2 percent were doctoral degrees, and 4 percent were first-professional degrees.

 

 

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