Saving for College: Average Tuition Cost 2020-2021

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

The average college tuition cost for the 2020-2021 year can help give high school students an idea of how much they will need to save to go to college. According to U.S. News & World Report, attending an in-state school is more or less 72% less than the full rate charged by private colleges.

High school students and parents that are planning for college can keep these tuition prices in mind. University level education is a reasonable next step for high school students after earning their high school diploma. The decision to go to college not only rests on professional and academic aspirations but also financial capacity.

Checking out tuition prices can help high school students and high school parents get an idea of what kind of financial commitment is on the horizon.

The data that U.S. News & World Report has gathered shows that the 2020-2021 average college tuition cost has dropped over the past year. The tuition cost has lowered across both public and private colleges and universities.  

This tuition cost is the amount the university or college advertises as its full rate for tuition and fees, BEFORE any financial aid, scholarships, or any other kind of aid is applied. The net price is the amount that a family then pays, after aid and scholarships, are applied.

Tuition has risen year after year but for the first time in a long time, the tuition hike trend has reversed.

Average tuition and fees at private colleges have fallen around 5%. 

Average tuition and fees at in-state colleges have dropped by around 4%.

Average tuition and fees for out-of-state public college students have dropped by 6%.

Why? A large reason is that many colleges and universities decided to suspend their planned annual tuition hikes this year due to the economic impact that the novel coronavirus pandemic has had on families across the country.

The cost of education continues to be a financial challenge for many families in the country. Small increases do add up over decades. These increases, paired with years of static or declining wages, can result in a huge struggle. U.S. News & Report has cited the Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis which stated that the U.S. median household income in 2018 was nearly the same as it was 20 years prior. We must recall that students and their families also have to pay for other expenses such as housing, food and books. These other costs can run thousands of dollars a year.

What are the average tuition and fees at ranked colleges?

Private colleges and universities – $35,087
Public, out-of-state – $21,184
Public, in-state – $9,687

Students and families who are paying for college right now or prospective students and families who are worrying about the cost of college tuition will want to consider the differences in these tuition prices. 

Financial aid becomes even more important as students and families continue to face any economic hardship brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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