Home Policy Tuition Increased by Lower Rates in 2021-22: Report

Tuition Increased by Lower Rates in 2021-22: Report

Graduate cap on top of the money, scholarship money, cost of education (tuition) and student loan debt concept.
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College sticker prices normally keep up with inflation, increasing by 169 percent from 1980 to 2019. However, a new report found that college tuition and fees for the 2021-22 academic year rose at historically low rates.

Tuition and fees fell at public two-year, four-year, and private nonprofit four-year institutions, despite adjusting for 3.9 percent inflation, according to the College Board’s 2021 Trends in College Pricing and Student Aid report.

In the report, the published tuition and fees are as follows:

  • 1.6 percent for state residents at public four-year institutions, for an average tuition of $10,740
  • 1.3 percent for in-district students at public two-year colleges, for an average tuition of $3,800
  • 2.1 percent for students at private nonprofit four-year institutions, for an average tuition of $38,070

But with the presence of federal, state, and even university aid, most students did not have to carry the burden of paying the full sticker price. The report disclosed that 75 percent of public two-year, 78 percent of public four-year, and 88 percent of private nonprofit four-year students received some form of aid during the 2019-20 academic year.

Emergency funds from the CARES Act and the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund also slowed the rise of college costs while providing grants and other relief aid to students.

Keeping Costs at Bay

Colleges and universities across the country have had varied responses to the pandemic. Some have hiked tuition for all, some have imposed limits, while others chose not to charge tuition at all. 

“Many schools continue to recognize that we’re still in the middle of a pandemic and students and families are still struggling. And so many schools choose to keep their tuition flat,” College Board Senior Policy Research Scientist and author of the report Jennifer Ma, said.

Early this year, the College of Lake County in Illinois projected an $8.7 million deficit but made no plans to increase tuition. The Yale School of Drama announced that it would no longer charge its students tuition due to a large philanthropic gift. 

Judy Scott-Clayton, an education and economics professor at Columbia, also disclosed that schools are forced to keep tuition increases low not to lose potential enrollees. An example would be Houghton College in New York, which had to cut its tuition by half to attract students. 

However, there are also plenty of university systems that pushed through with hiking tuition and fees, including the Mississippi public university system, University of California system, Ohio State University, and Michigan State University.