Tuition and Fees and Room and Board over Time (Unweighted)

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Unweighted average prices count each institution equally, while the weighted prices reported throughout Trends in College Pricing give more weight to institutions with larger numbers of full-time students.

Table 3: Average Tuition and Fees and Room and Board (Unweighted) in Current Dollars and in 2015 Dollars, 1986-87 to 2015-16

Table 3 represents Average Tuition and Fees and Room and Board (Unweighted) in Current Dollars and in 2015 Dollars, 1986-87 to 2015-16

Notes & Sources 

NOTES: Average tuition and fee prices reflect in-district charges for public two-year institutions and in-state charges for public four-year institutions. Components may not sum to totals because of rounding.

SOURCE: The College Board, Annual Survey of Colleges. 

  • The $3,614 unweighted average tuition and fees for public two-year colleges in 2015-16 compares to a weighted average of $3,435. Weighting all colleges equally instead of using enrollment-based weights brings the number up by $179 (5%).
  • The $8,743 unweighted average in-state tuition and fees for public four-year institutions in 2015-16 compares to a weighted average of $9,410. Smaller colleges given more weight in the unweighted average brings the average down by $667 (7%).
  • The $27,422 unweighted average tuition and fees for private nonprofit four-year institutions in 2015-16 compares to a weighted average of $32,405. Smaller colleges given more weight in the unweighted average brings the average price down by $4,983 (15%).
  • The 10-year increases in unweighted average prices have been slightly smaller than the increases in weighted average prices for the public sector. By this measure, average tuition and fees increased by 25% (in constant dollars) at public two-year colleges over the decade, compared to 29% for weighted averages. At public four-year colleges and universities, the increase was 39%, compared to 40% for weighted averages.
  • At private nonprofit four-year institutions, average tuition and fees increased by 23%, compared to 26% for weighted averages. In other words, smaller private nonprofit institutions raised their prices by less than larger institutions in this sector.