Net Tuition Revenues, Subsidies, and Education Expenditures per Student over Time

Between 2005-06 and 2015-16, subsidy amounts increased in all sectors except public doctoral institutions. However, as a share of per-student education expenses, subsidies declined in all public sectors.

Figure 18: Net Tuition Revenues, Subsidies, and Education and Related Expenditures per Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) Student in 2015 Dollars, 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. Subsidies are defined as the portion of the cost of educating students not covered by net tuition revenue. Education and related expenditures include spending on instruction, student services, and the education share of spending on central academic and administrative support, as well as operations and maintenance. Expenditures for both undergraduate and graduate students are included in these estimates. Institutional averages are weighted by 12-month FTE enrollments.

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

  • The average subsidy per full-time equivalent (FTE) student at public two-year colleges declined by $940 (15%) in 2015 dollars between 2005-06 and 2010-11; it increased by $1,190 (22%) between 2010-11 and 2015-16, as enrollment in the sector declined.
  • Between 2005-06 and 2015-16, educational expenditures per FTE student increased by 17% in inflation-adjusted dollars at public doctoral universities, 18% at public master’s universities, 12% at public bachelor’s colleges, and 11% in thepublic two-year sector.
  • In 2015-16, the subsidy portion of education and related costs at private nonprofit institutions ranged from 14% at master’s universities to 46% at doctoral universities.
  • Between 2005-06 and 2015-16, average educational expenditures per FTE student at private nonprofit institutions increased by 17% at doctoral universities, 11% at master’s universities, and 9% at bachelor’s colleges, after adjusting for inflation.