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|
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
|Degrees granted||No. of degrees||% of total||No. of degrees||% of total|
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.