College is getting more expensive while wages are stagnating, driving more and more Americans further into debt.
While average college tuition costs ballooned by 59% between 2000 and 2019, median weekly earnings for those with bachelor degrees grew by just 5%, according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Americans owe $1.73 trillion in student loan debt, with the average borrower owing $39,351. For many families, sending their children to college would not be possible without financial aid including scholarships, grants, work-study programs, and loans. With close to 90% of first-year undergrads receiving financial aid for college, access to such aid is crucial to keeping college accessible for most students.
Digital learning marketplace StudySoup analyzed College Scorecard Data from the U.S. Department of Education and net price data across four household income brackets to determine which colleges and universities have the highest tuition costs as of 2019–2020—and to discover what students at these schools actually pay.
The costs, captured for schools with at least 500 students, do not take into account room and board fees. The net price figures reflect the average a student pays in tuition after federal aid, including Pell Grants or loans, is applied, with the average net price figures only taking into account students that receive some sort of federal aid.
The outsized leap in college costs with stagnant wage increases has made it increasingly difficult and expensive for students to attend two- and four-year institutions, public or private. For the 2020–2021 school year, the average public, four-year college costs $10,560 a year for in-state residents and $27,020 for out-of-state residents. The jump in prices, according to reporting from CNBC, is due in part to reduced state funding and an increased cost of living. These costs don't take into account additional expenses, either, which range from housing and school supplies costs to transportation.
Keep reading to discover which U.S. colleges are the most expensive, and what students actually pay.