Average Rates of Growth of Published Charges by Decade

Between 2006-07 and 2016-17, published in-state tuition and fees at public four-year institutions increased at an average rate of 3.5% per year beyond inflation, compared to average annual increases of 3.9% and 4.2% over the two prior decades.

Figure 4: Average Annual Percentage Increase in Inflation-Adjusted Published Prices by Decade, 1986-87 to 2016-17

Notes & Sources 

Notes: Each bar in Figure 4 shows the average annual rate of growth of published prices in inflation-adjusted dollars over a 10-year period. For example, from 2006-07 to 2016-17, average published tuition and fees at private nonprofit four-year colleges rose by an average of 2.4% per year beyond increases in the Consumer Price Index. Average tuition and fee prices reflect in-district charges for public two-year institutions and in-state charges for public four-year institutions.

Sources: College Board, Annual Survey of Colleges; NCES, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

  • The 3.5% per year average rate of increase in published tuition and fees in the public four-year sector between 2006-07 and 2016-17 corresponds to an average annual increase of $280 in 2016 dollars, compared to $150 per year between 1986-87 and 1996-97 and $230 per year between 1996-97 and 2006-07. (online Table 2; calculations by the authors)
  • The average annual rate of increase in published tuition and fees at private nonprofit four-year institutions declined from 3.1% between 1986-87 and 1996-97 to 2.9% over the next decade and to 2.4% between 2006-07 and 2016-17. The average dollar increase rose from $530 per year to $650 and to $710 over these decades. (online Table 2; calculations by the authors)
  • Room and board charges consistently rise more slowly than tuition and fees, although the gap in growth rates has narrowed over time.