DataPoints: Students’ college costs for 2023-24

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Tuition and fees at community colleges this academic year again average 35% of the in-state tuition and fees at public four-year institutions, according to the College Board’s annual report on trends in college pricing and student aid.

The average 2023-24 tuition-and-fees listed price for public two-year colleges increased this year by $100 to $3,990. For comparison, average tuition and fees for full-time students at public four-year institutions increased $270 to $11,260.

The published prices are enrollment-weighted, meaning charges of institutions with larger full-time enrollments are weighed more heavily than those of institutions with lower enrollments.

When grant aid is applied for community college students, the cost is typically much less. In 2019, 39% of full-time, in-state community college students received enough grant aid to cover their tuition and fees, including 71% of those from families with incomes of less than $40,000 and 38% of families earning $40,000 to $79,999, according to the report.

Tuition and fees are only part of students’ total college costs. Housing and food, books and supplies, transportation and other expenses push up the cost. College Board notes that these expenses vary less across all institutional sectors than tuition and fees.

So, while the average published in-district tuition-and-fee price at public two-year institutions is 35% of the in-state prices at public four-year colleges, the total community college student budget is 69% of the public four-year in-state student budget ($19,860 vs. $28,840), the College Board says.

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.