Institutional Revenues per Student at Public Institutions over Time

Between 2005-06 and 2015-16, net tuition revenue per student at public doctoral universities increased by $3,460 (in 2015 dollars). Because of declines in government support, total revenue per student increased by just $490.

Figure 17: Institutional Revenues per Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) Student in 2015 Dollars at Public Institutions, 2005-06, 2010-11, and 2015-16

Notes & Sources 

NOTES: Net tuition revenue is the amount of revenue an institution takes in from tuition and fees, net of all institutional grant aid provided to students. Some of this revenue comes in the form of Pell Grants and other financial aid from federal and state governments and other sources. Institutional averages are weighted by 12-month FTE enrollments. Percentages may not sum to 100 because of rounding.

SOURCES: NCES, IPEDS Finance data, 2006, 2011, and 2016; calculations by the authors.

  • In 2015-16, per-student revenues from federal, state, and local governments and net tuition revenue at public doctoral universities were almost two and a half times as large as the revenues from these sources at public two-year colleges. These per-student revenues were $27,300 at doctoral universities, $15,540 at master’s universities, $14,060 at bachelor’s colleges, and $11,190 at associate institutions in the public sector.
  • Over the decade, at public two-year colleges, total revenue per student from federal, state, and local governments and net tuition revenue increased by $740 (7%) in 2015 dollars. Nearly all of this increase is attributable to the growth of $710 in net tuition revenue.
  • State and local appropriations make up a larger share of revenues at public two-year colleges than at public four-year institutions. These revenues fell from 59% of the total at public two-year colleges in 2005-06 to 52% in 2010-11 and were 54% in 2015-16.
  • State and local appropriations declined as a share of total revenues over the past decade at all types of public four-year institutions, falling from 36% to 27% at doctoral universities, from 45% to 36% at master’s universities, and from 45% to 41% at bachelor’s colleges.