Community college sticker price up nearly 2%

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The average 2020-21 tuition-and-fees sticker price for public two-year colleges is $3,770, which is an increase of 1.9% (or $70) for full-time students compared to last fall, according to an annual report from the College Board.

The published tuition and fees for full-time students this fall at community colleges range from $1,430 in California and $1,940 in New Mexico, to $8,600 in Vermont, according to the report. Published prices didn’t increase for public two-year colleges in 14 states, it noted.

Many community college students are eligible for grants that completely cover their tuition and fees, the report said. However, tuition and fees are only part of the total cost of attending college. The College Board reported that the average estimated budget (tuition and fees, books and supplies, transportation and other expenses) is $18,550 for full-time, public two-year college students. After grants are applied, the average net cost for estimated food and housing is $8,860 and $5,700 for books, supplies, transportation and other expenses.

Published tuition and fees at in-state public four-year institutions increased 1.1% ($120) to $10,560 this year. Their average estimated budgets for in-state students is $26,820. For out-of-state students, it is $43,280.

The College Board also examined five-year percentage changes in in-district tuition and fees. Overall, community colleges saw a 2% increase between 2015-16 and 2020-21. Wyoming saw the largest increase – 43% – over the five years, followed by Nevada (23%) and Mississippi (22%).

Eight states saw a decrease over the five years. Arizona saw the biggest drop at 15%, which was attributed to many community colleges in the state offering discounts this year due to the pandemic, the report said. California and Florida both saw 8% declines over the five years.

About the Author

Matthew Dembicki
Matthew Dembicki edits Community College Daily and serves as associate vice president of communications for the American Association of Community Colleges.