Average Net Price over Time for Full-Time Students at Public Two-Year Institutions

From 2015-16 through 2018-19, full-time students at public two-year colleges received, on average, enough grant aid and tax benefits to cover their tuition and fees and have about $400 to help with other expenses— less than they had from 2009-10 through 2014-15.

Figure 8: Average Published and Net Prices in 2018 Dollars, Full-Time In-District Undergraduate Students at Public Two-Year Institutions, 1998-99 to 2018-19

Notes & Sources 

NOTES: Estimates of net price exclude military/veterans aid, which awards relatively large amounts to a small number of students. Because information on grant aid and education tax benefits for 2018-19 is not yet available, the net price for 2018-19 is estimated based on 2017-18 financial aid data. Room and board expense in this sector refers to housing and food costs for commuter students since few community colleges provide on-campus housing.

SOURCES: College Board, Annual Survey of Colleges; Trends in Student Aid 2018; NCES, IPEDS Fall Enrollment and Student Financial Aid data.

  • In 2018-19, full-time students at public two-year colleges must cover about $8,300 in room and board on average after grant aid and tax benefits, in addition to paying for books and supplies and other living expenses.
  • After declining (in 2018 dollars) from about $0 in 1998-99 to -$400 in 2002-03, average net tuition and fees at public two-year colleges rose to about $400 in 2006-07. With the increases in federal aid, it declined to a low of about -$1,000 in 2010-11, but has risen to an estimated -$400 in 2018-19.
  • Between 2008-09 and 2018-19, the average published tuition and fees at public two-year colleges increased by $930 (34%) after adjusting for inflation. Average combined grant aid and tax benefits increased by over $1,300 (almost 50%) over the decade.