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© 2012 The College Board.
The Annual Survey of Colleges
Prices described in this report are based on data reported to the College Board by colleges and universities in the Annual Survey of Colleges. Data for 2012-13 are from an online questionnaire distributed in October 2011, with data collected and reviewed through early September 2012. Tuition and fee figures are based on charges to full-time students over the course of a nine-month academic year of 30 semester hours or 45 quarter hours. For those institutions with tuition and fees that vary by year of study, weighted average undergraduate tuition levels are used in the analysis. We are not able to estimate differences in tuition and fees by program, but rely on average prices reported by institutions.
Enrollment-Weighted and Unweighted Data
This report provides enrollment-weighted average prices. Charges reported by colleges with larger full-time enrollments are weighted more heavily than those of institutions with smaller enrollments.
As a snapshot, neither set of averages is more or less correct than the other; they describe different phenomena. The weighted averages may be more helpful to students and families in anticipating future education expenses. Some researchers, policy analysts, and academic administrators find the unweighted averages useful in studying longitudinal trends and evaluating a particular institution's practices against a larger set. Thus, the College Board computes both weighted and unweighted averages.
The most recent enrollment data available are for fall 2011. For 2011-12 and earlier years, prices are weighted by same-year enrollments. For 2012-13, prices are weighted by fall 2011 enrollments. In other words, the percentage changes reported in Tables 1A and 1B reflect only price changes, not changes in enrollment patterns. In contrast, the historical data on changes in enrollment-weighted prices reported in Tables 2A and 2B reflect changes in both prices and in the distribution of full-time students across institutions.
Weighted averages for each price are based on relevant populations:
- In-state tuition and fees are weighted by full-time undergraduate enrollment.
- Out-of-state tuition and fees are calculated by adding the nonresident premium, weighted by full-time out-of-state enrollment, to average in-state tuition and fees. Data on out-of-state students receiving a waiver of some or all of the tuition premium are not available.
- Resident room and board are weighted by the number of undergraduates living in campus housing at each institution.
- Out-of-district charges for public two-year college students are not accounted for in the average prices reported here.
- Estimated other student budget components are weighted as follows:
- Books and supplies are weighted by full-time undergraduate enrollment.
- Resident transportation and other resident costs are weighted by the number of undergraduates living in campus housing.
- Commuter room and board, commuter transportation, and other commuter costs are weighted by the number of commuting undergraduates at each institution, reflecting the expenses of commuters.
Institutions Included in Calculations
Out of the 3,775 public two-year, public four-year, private nonprofit four-year, and for-profit institutions that were surveyed in both 2011 and 2012, 3,125 were included in this year's analysis, including over 97% of the surveyed schools in the public and private nonprofit sectors and 39% of those in the for-profit sector. Our imputation process allows us to include schools for which we are missing one year of data. We exclude from our calculations military academies and other institutions that report zero tuition. Tables A1A and A1B describe the institutions that were included in this analysis, by sector and Carnegie Classification, respectively.
Table A1A: Institutions Included in Tuition and Fees (T&F) Analysis in Table 1A
Table A1B: Institutions Included in Tuition and Fees (T&F) Analysis in Table 1B
Revision of Base-Year Values
The prices for 2011-12 used in this analysis differ somewhat from the 2011-12 averages reported last year. One factor contributing to the revision is the reweighting of the prices, shifting from fall 2010 to fall 2011 full-time enrollment figures. The base-year numbers also shift because several hundred institutions submit revised tuition figures for the previous year. The recomputed average for 2011-12 tuition and fees at public four-year institutions is $12 higher than the level we reported last year for in-state students and $53 higher for out-of-state students. The recomputed average for 2011-12 tuition and fees is $4 lower than the level we reported last year for public two-year institutions.
This year, we have included additional institutions in the private nonprofit four-year sector in our analysis. These institutions tend to be small and charge lower-than-average tuition and fees. As a result, the recomputed average for 2011-12 tuition and fees is $617 lower than the level we reported last year for the private nonprofit four-year sector. Our estimate of the average 2011-12 price for for-profit students is $250 higher than it was last year because of changes in full-time enrollment and changes in the number of institutions included in the calculations.
In Tables 2, 2A and 2B, tuition averages from years prior to 1987-88 are extracted from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). The two data sets, IPEDS and the College Board's Annual Survey of Colleges, track very closely, but IPEDS averages are weighted by full-time equivalent enrollments, while the Annual Survey of Colleges prices are weighted by full-time enrollments.
Net Price Calculations
The calculations of average net price in Figures 9 and 10 for full-time undergraduate students are a best approximation and are based on the aggregate amounts of each type of aid reported in Trends in Student Aid 2012 and on the allocation of each type of aid across institution types and between part-time and full-time students reported in 1993, 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS) data. The distribution of aid for 2009-10 and after was modified to account for the large increase in Pell Grants in 2009-10. Because financial aid data for 2012-13 are not yet available, amounts for that year are estimated based on past years and information about changes in grant policies. Total charges for public two-year students include an estimate of housing and food expenses for students not living with their parents, based on commuter room and board expenses reported by institutions when available and derived from public four-year room and board charges for earlier years in the analysis. The net price estimates reported here are not exactly comparable to those that appeared in 2011 because some figures have been updated.
Net price and grant totals in Figures 9 and 10 are not comparable to those in Figures 11A and 11B, which are based on the IPEDS Delta Cost Data and focus on institutional revenues rather than prices. While Figures 9 and 10 focus on full-time undergraduate students, Figures 11A and 11B cover revenues paid by all students—full-time and part-time, in-state and out-of-state, graduate and undergraduate. Furthermore, Figures 9 and 10 include grants from private sources and federal tax benefits, while Figures 11A and 11B do not.
Institutional Revenues and Expenditures
Figures 11A-B, 14A-C and 15A-B are based on data from the IPEDS Delta Cost Data. Delta data combine IPEDS data with information from the Financial Institution Shared Assessment Program database beginning in 1994. Further details and the entire database are available at: http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/deltacostproject/.
Data on endowments are from the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) and Commonfund Institute, supplemented by data from IPEDS for institutions for which NACUBO or Commonfund data are not available. Public university foundation endowment assets are included.
The Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers (CPI-U) is used to adjust for inflation. We use the CPI-U in July of the year in which the academic year begins. See ftp://ftp.bls.gov/pub/special.requests/cpi/cpiai.txt for changes in the CPI-U over time. Table A2 provides CPI data for 2002 through 2012. Additional historical data are available in Table A2. The Factor column provides the user with a multiplication factor equal to that of CPI (base year, 2012) divided by CPI (current year). A simple multiplication of a current-year figure by the associated factor will yield a constant-dollar result.
Table A2: Consumer Price Index-All Urban Consumers, Not Seasonally Adjusted, All Items, U.S. City Average, 1982-84=10
Carnegie Classification 2010: Basic Classification
This year, we updated our Carnegie Classification with the 2010 update. For the past few years, we had been using the 2005 edition. The number of institutions in each Carnegie Classification changed slightly from 2005 to the 2010 update, although the classification structure of the 2010 update is the same as that for the 2005 edition.
"Doctoral universities" include institutions that award at least 20 doctoral degrees per year (excluding doctoral degrees that qualify recipients for entry into professional practice, such as the J.D., M.D., Pharm.D., DPT, etc.); "master's colleges and universities" include institutions that award at least 50 master's degrees per year; "bachelor's colleges" include institutions where bachelor's degrees represent at least 10% of all undergraduate degrees and that award fewer than 50 master's degrees or fewer than 20 doctoral degrees per year. All of the categories above exclude "special focus institutions" and "tribal colleges."