Blog: The Educated Reporter

‘Tuition Tracker’ Shows Real Price Tag, Inequities in College Costs

There have been some first-rate stories produced by education reporters using the new Tuition Tracker, an online tool created through a partnership of EWA, The Hechinger Report and the Dallas Morning News.

The Tuition Tracker is a searchable database of more than 3,000 colleges and universities nationwide, showing the actual price tag of attendance (including housing, meals, and textbooks) over the past four academic years. The costs are then broken out by a student’s economic status. At many campuses the data (ably compiled by The Hechinger Report’s Jon Marcus and the Dallas Morning News’ Holly Hacker) is nothing short of stunning. 

Katy Murphy of the San Jose Mercury News used the Tuition Tracker to take a closer look at college costs for students at St. Mary’s College in Moraga, Calif. It turns out low-income students have seen their tuition soar 60 percent in four years, compared with an increase of just 6 percent for more affluent students. 

From the Mercury News story:

“Institutions are really allocating resources to attract those not full-paying, but close to full-paying, students to secure the revenue they need,” said Laura Perna, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education and an expert on higher-education financing. ”As any rational actor, they’re making decisions in their own self-interest, but those are not necessarily in the public interest.”

The Tuition Tracker is a free resource, and I encourage you to check it out for yourself. We’re keeping tabs on related stories over at And you are also welcome to catch a replay of the webinar which gives a full rundown of the Tuition Tracker’s many features. 

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