Every year, the College Board releases new college cost data and trends in its annual report. Although costs can vary significantly depending on region and college, the College Board publishes average cost figures, which are based on a survey of approximately 4,000 colleges across the country.
Over the past decade, average tuition, fee, room, and board costs have increased 11% at public colleges and 14% at private colleges over and above increases in the Consumer Price Index. Here are cost highlights for the 2021-2022 year.1
Public colleges: in-state students
- Tuition and fees increased 1.6% to $10,740
- Room and board increased 1.9% to $11,950
- *Total cost of attendance: $27,330
Public colleges: out-of-state students
- Tuition and fees increased 1.5% to $27,560
- Room and board increased 1.9% to $11,950 (same as in-state)
- *Total cost of attendance: $44,150
- Tuition and fees increased 2.1% to $38,070
- Room and board increased 2.3% to $13,620
- *Total cost of attendance: $55,800
* Total cost of attendance includes direct billed costs for tuition, fees, room, and board, plus an amount for indirect costs for books, transportation, and personal expenses.
Sticker price vs. net price
The College Board’s college cost figures are based on published college sticker prices. But many families don’t pay the full sticker price. A net price calculator, available on every college website, can help families see beyond a college’s sticker price.
A net price calculator provides an estimate of how much grant aid a student might be eligible for at a particular school based on the student’s financial information and academic record, allowing families to estimate what their out-of-pocket cost, or net price, will be. The results aren’t a guarantee of grant aid, but they are meant to be close. A net price calculator can be a useful tool for students who are currently researching and/or applying to colleges.
FASFA for 2022-2023 year opened on October 1
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the 2022-2023 school year opened on October 1, 2021. The 2022-2023 FAFSA relies on income information from your 2020 federal income tax return and current asset information. Your income is the biggest factor in determining financial aid eligibility.
Note: The FAFSA is getting an overhaul in an effort to simplify it. The changes will be phased in, with all changes expected to be completed for the 2024-2025 FAFSA (available starting October 1, 2023), a year later than originally planned. Three things to watch out for: (1) the expected family contribution, or EFC, will be replaced with a measurement known as the student aid index, or SAI; (2) parents with multiple children in college at the same time will no longer receive a discount in the form of a lower EFC; and (3) cash support and other types of income will no longer have to be reported on the FAFSA, including funds from a grandparent-owned 529 plan.2
Student loan repayment to resume in February
Repayment on federal student loans is set to resume beginning February 1, 2022. There have been four pauses to federal student loan repayment since the start of the pandemic. The first pause was instituted in March 2020 for six months (through September 2020) when Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The second and third pauses came via presidential executive order and extended the payment pause through January 2021 and through September 2021, respectively. The fourth and “final” extension is now scheduled through January 31, 2022, meaning payments will resume beginning February 1, 2022.3