Studying the Costs: Facts and Statistics About College Tuition

By Josh W.

There are still many parents who don’t think about their children’s college education. They are not fully aware of how expensive it is to get a degree, let alone all side costs attached to college tuition, like lodging and boarding, books, etc.

Millennials and Gen Z, almost 170 million of them in the United States, find it virtually impossible to pay for their education without vicious student loans. On the other hand, Baby Boomers had it easy when it comes to putting themselves through college, being haunted by little to no debts and loans after their student days.

In case you were looking for some good stats regarding the current state of costs of higher education, you’ve come to the right place.

Did you know, for example, that in 2015, the average college costs and fees evened out at roughly $22,432, whereas just three decades earlier, these would average at more than twice as cheap (about $10,696)?

History of College Tuition

The last 30 years irrevocably changed the outlook on the luxury of having a college degree, for several reasons.

During the late 70s and early 80s, the American youth started adjusting to a new idea of raising their overall life quality by leaving homes to get a college degree that would lead to a more comfortable life, a better job, and a higher place in the society.

As legitimate as this idea is, the United States Department of Education, all of a sudden, had to deal with the issue of having to provide more college spots, dorms, libraries, qualified professors, etc. With not enough funds to invest in all this, their choice was to significantly raise the costs of college tuition, while simultaneously enabling everyone equal chances to study.

This is still a burning question. Some projections even suggest that, by 2036, the average cost of studying at a public school will be about $162,818 in total.

College Options

If you are in search of a more affordable way to get a diploma, it is good to consider your state or district’s community or four-year colleges, since you’ll be able to save massive amounts of money on lodging, gas, food, etc.

In-state public education analyses show that this education model continues to be the cheapest, as it allows you to study at the cost of $10k per year, additional fees included. On the contrary, private institutions will cost you about $33,450 a year at the bachelor level.

Some states are less expensive for studying, especially if you’re an in-state or in-district resident student. For instance, two of the most affordable states when it comes to community college tuition are California and New Mexico. For four-year institutions, it is good to consider Wyoming and Florida.

On the costlier side, two states whose in-state students have to pay more, whether it is a two-year or a four-year program, are New Hampshire and Vermont, followed by Massachusetts, South Dakota, etc.

Also, Forbes published that this year it costs almost $48,000 (with no fees) to study at Harvard.


To sum up, you should certainly do thorough research to stay well-informed if you want to give yourself or your child the best college education. After choosing a preferred field of study, start calibrating the costs through the choice of institutions, costs of boarding and life in general, and eventually consider picking up a job so that you can pay off all potential costs or debts.

Below is an infographic of facts and stats about the price of college tuition in the U.S. It covers everything from historic to current college costs, 2-year vs. 4-year tuition, in-state vs. out-of-state tuition, private vs. public colleges, tuition-free colleges, and more.

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