Distribution of Full-Time Undergraduate Students at Public Institutions by Net Tuition and Fees, 2015-16

In 2015-16, more than half of full-time students at public two-year colleges received enough grant aid to cover tuition and fees.

Figure 11: Distribution of Full-Time Undergraduate Students at Public Institutions by Net Tuition and Fees, 2015-16

Notes & Sources 

NOTES: Total grant aid excludes veterans benefits. Includes full-time undergraduate students who were U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Percentages may not sum to 100 because of rounding.

SOURCES: NCES, National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS), 2016; calculations by the authors.

  • Fifty-six percent of independent students and 50% of dependent students at public two-year colleges did not pay any part of their tuition and fees. Among the 12% of dependent students from families with incomes of $120,000 or higher, 44% paid $2,500 or more in net tuition and fees.
  • Almost 60% of full-time dependent students from families with incomes below $35,000 at public four-year colleges received enough grant aid in 2015-16 to cover their tuition and fees. By contrast, only 8% of full-time dependent students from families with incomes $120,000 or higher at public four-year colleges received enough grant aid to cover tuition and fees.
  • Even students with enough grant aid to cover tuition and fees have additional expenses such as living expenses, transportation, books, and supplies. For example, dependent students from families with incomes below $35,000 at public two-year colleges received an average of $2,620 in grant aid to help them cover other expenses in 2015-16, but they had to cover an average of $9,330 from other funding sources.
  • In 2015-16, the average net tuition and fees paid by students from families with incomes between $35,000 and $70,000 at public four-year institutions was about 30% of the average price paid by those from families with incomes of $120,000 or more ($3,200 vs. $10,590). However, the total expenses remaining to cover from family, loans, or work were about 70% as large ($18,100 vs. $25,800).