Net Prices by Income over Time: Public Sector

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From 1999-2000 through 2011‑12, on average, grant aid from all sources covered tuition and fees for students from families with incomes below $30,000 (in 2011 dollars) enrolled in public two-year and public four-year institutions.

Figure 2013_12: Net Tuition and Fees, Net Room and Board and Other Costs, and Total Grant Aid in 2011 Dollars by Family Income, Full-Time Dependent Students at Public Institutions, 1999-2000, 2003-04, 2007-08, and 2011-12

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Net price measures the amount students pay after grant aid. The dark blue segment represents average published tuition and fees less average total grant aid per student. When there is no dark blue segment, average grant aid exceeds tuition and fees. The light blue segment represents average other costs of attendance, including room and board, books and supplies, and transportation, after subtracting any average grant aid exceeding published tuition and fees. The total height of the bars, including the orange average grant segment, represents total published cost of attendance.

Notes & Sources 

NOTE: The 2011-12 numbers were revised in December 2013. Grant aid includes grants from all sources and veterans' benefits, but not federal tax credits and deductions. Income categories (all in 2011 dollars) for each year are: lowest: less than $30,000; second: $30,000 to $64,999; third: $65,000 to $105,999; highest: $106,000 or higher.

SOURCE: NCES, National Postsecondary Student Aid Study, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, and 2012.

  • In 2011-12, net tuition and fees at public two‑year colleges ranged from $0 for students in the lower half of the income distribution to $2,051 for the highest-income group.
  • Net tuition and fees at public four-year institutions ranged from $0 for the lowest-income group to $8,346 for the highest-income group.
  • From 1999-2000 through 2011‑12, grant aid covered an average of about 25% of published tuition and fees for public four-year college students from families in the highest-income group and about one-third for upper-middle-income students.