What is the Average Cost of College Tuition?

College tuition varies based on factors

like where the school is located, and whether the school is public or  private. The average cost of college for in-state students at a four  year institution in 2020-2021 was $10,560. Read on for more information about the average tuition costs, and other expenses facing college students.

The Average Cost of College

The average cost of attending a private four year institution was  $37,650. These averages are based on the published price at a college or  university. This includes tuition and room and board.

Historical Average Cost of Tuition

The cost of tuition has increased dramatically over time. For the  1985-86 school year, the average cost of college tuition at a public  four year institution was $8,981 for a student receiving in-state  tuition. In just 20 years, tuition rose to $15,411 for the 2005-06  school year.

Average Total Cost of College

A traditional undergraduate college degree takes four years to  complete, which means four years of tuition costs. According to  EducationData.org, the cost of college has risen, on average, about 6.8%  annually since 2001.

Average Additional College Expenses

Tuition generally makes up the majority of a student’s college expenses.  But there are other fees and costs to factor in including the cost of  room and board, books and other supplies.

What Is the Cost of Room and Board?

The average cost of room and board for the 2020-2021 school year was  $11,620 for four-year public institutions (for both in-state and  out-of-state students, and $13,120 for four-year nonprofit institutions.

The Cost of Extra Classes

Tuition at some schools may cover the cost of a certain number of credit  hours. Depending on how many credit hours you take and the types of  classes you enroll in, the number may change.

Books and Supplies

On top of those expenses, don’t forget to budget for books and supplies. The average college student attending a four-year college  spends over $1,240 on textbooks and supplies over the course of the  year.


Transportation is another major category of expenses for college  students. Will you have a car on campus? If so, plan to pay for gas,  insurance, and a parking permit.

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