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California Association of Private Postsecondary Schools

Study: Out-of-Pocket Costs in Most of Higher Education Rising

12/06/2013

Inside Higher Ed.  December 4, 2013.  Students during the 2011-12 academic year paid, on average, higher immediate out-of-pocket costs to attend public and private colleges than their counterparts in 2007-8, according to a new federal report released Tuesday.

The average out-of-pocket net price -- a college’s sticker price minus all forms of financial aid -- increased by $800 at both private not-for-profit and public four-year universities, after adjusting for inflation. At community colleges, the same figure rose by $400.

The for-profit sector was the only one to see a decrease between 2011-12 and 2007-8. Across all for-profit institutions, the average out-of-pocket net price fell from $11,500 to $9,900 in inflation-adjusted dollars. Still, the average out-of-pocket net price at two-year for-profit institutions ($12,400) was more than double the figure at two-year public institutions ($6,000) in 2011-12. 

The out-of-pocket net price essentially represents the amount of money a student has to pay up front while attending college. It doesn’t include the value of loans that have to be repaid or the long-term cost of such debt.  The data come from the Education Department’s latest National Postsecondary Student Aid Study, which is completed every four years.