Net Price by Income over Time: Private Sector

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In 2011-12, grant aid covered an average of about 82% of published tuition and fees for full-time students from families with incomes below $30,000 at private nonprofit four-year colleges. Grants covered about 70% of tuition and fees for lower-middle-income, 52% for upper-middle-income, and 39% for higher-income students.

Figure 2013_13: Net Tuition and Fees, Net Room and Board and Other Costs, and Total Grant Aid in 2011 Dollars by Family Income, Full-Time Dependent Students at Private Institutions, 1999-2000, 2003-04, 2007-08, and 2011-12

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Net price measures the amount students pay after grant aid. The dark blue segment represents average published tuition and fees less average total grant aid per student. When there is no dark blue segment, average grant aid exceeds tuition and fees. The light blue segment represents average other costs of attendance, including room and board, books and supplies, and transportation, after subtracting any average grant aid exceeding published tuition and fees. The total height of the bars, including the orange average grant segment, represents total published cost of attendance.

Notes & Sources 

*Because of the small sample size, grant aid estimates for the highest-income group in the for-profit sector are unstable and should be interpreted with caution.

NOTE: The 2011-12 numbers were revised in December 2013. Grant aid includes grants from all sources but not federal tax credits and deductions. Income categories (all in 2011 dollars) for each year are: lowest: less than $30,000; second: $30,000 to $64,999; third: $65,000 to $105,999; highest: $106,000 or higher.

SOURCE: NCES, National Postsecondary Student Aid Study, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, and 2012.

  • For students in the lower half of the income distribution, the average net tuition and fee price at private nonprofit four-year institutions was lower (in 2011 dollars) in 2011‑12 than in 2003-04 and 2007-08. Net price including all costs of attendance was higher than in earlier years.
  • For students in the upper half of the income distribution, the average net tuition and fee price was higher in 2011‑12 than in 1999‑2000 and 2003-04. The increase between 1999-2000 and 2011-12 was largest for those with incomes between $65,000 and $105,999 — about $2,600 more (in 2011 dollars). Total net cost of attendance, including room and board and other expenses, was about $5,600 more in 2011‑12 than in 1999‑2000 for these students.
  • Published tuition and fee levels are higher at private nonprofit four-year institutions than at for‑profit institutions, but average net tuition and fee levels are higher in the for-profit sector, except for students from the most affluent families. For lower-middle-income students, the average net tuition and fee level in 2011‑12 was 59% higher at for-profit institutions than at nonprofit institutions, up from 11% higher in 2003‑04.