How Much Does College Cost?

College can cost you more than $35,000 a year. That’s the true cost


The average cost for 1 year of college tuition and fees at 4-year colleges in 2020-2021 was $19,020.

The collective total cost for a year of school at a four-year school — with tuition and fees, on-campus room and board, books, supplies, and other expenses — was $35,551. That’s roughly $142,000 over four years.

As of 2019-2020, the total cost after financial aid for a year of college had a range from $14,000-$28,000 at 4-year schools.

College tuition has tripled in the last 50 years. It doubled in the past 30 years.

In 2020-2021, four-year public colleges’ average tuition and fees were $9,375. At 4-year private nonprofit schools, it was $35,852.

In 2020-2021, tuition at 2-year public colleges, on average, cost $3,501.

In the last 20 years, the price tag of getting a college degree has Went up. Issues over the cost of college may be the cause of sliding enrollment rates.

Several variables can make your college education more or less expensive. Knowing them can help students plan their education. We put other college cost statistics, from average yearly tuition rates to pricing for textbooks and dorms, and how expenses differ across states and school types.

Average Total Cost of College

There is way more to the cost of college than tuition. The all-in cost of college must include tuition and fees, textbooks and supplies, college dorm or living expenses, and other student expenses like transportation.

The National Center for Education Statistics reports the average cost of attending college for first-time undergrads based on learners’ living arrangements: if they live on campus, off campus, or off campus with family.

Four-year schools are more expensive than two-year schools. At four-year schools, a year of college expenses for learners living on campus costs $35,551, or about $142,000 over four years. Two-year schools cost on-campus learners an average of $16,488 per year or roughly $33,000 over two years.

Average Net Cost of College

The total tuition and other college expenses still doesn’t tell the whole story of what learners pay for school. That’s because learners can take advantage of scholarships and grants to subsidize the cost of college.

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