Tuition Tracker


Don’t let the sticker price fool you

Don't let the sticker price fool you.

This new tool shows what students really pay for college, based on their family income. We've got trends, too. Search from more than 3,000 colleges and universities in the United States.

Don’t let the sticker price fool you.

This new tool shows what students really pay for college, based on their family income. We’ve got trends, too. Search from more than 3,000 colleges and universities in the United States.

Visit and start searching.

Click Special Projects to view the original stories by Holly Hacker and Jon Marcus.

Click Latest News below to view stories from around the country drawn from the Tuition Tracker database.

Latest News

Seattle: College-Tuition Burden Shifts to Low-Income Families

At Seattle Pacific University officials acknowledge that net costs have gone up faster for low-income families — from about $13,000 in 2008-09 to $20,400 in 2011-12 for the lowest-income families. Students whose families earned more than $110,000 saw their tuition jump far less, by about $1,000, during the same time period. Those students paid about $30,500 in 2011-12.

Latest News

The Syllabus Blog: Insanely Complicated

Partway through, one of the project’s leaders called college pricing “insanely complicated.” It was a throwaway line — he had detoured into talking about how some colleges have cut their sticker prices and are offering less aid — but it was probably the most accurate thing I’ve heard recently about higher education costs.

Latest News

Online Tool Helps Sift Through College Rates

How much does college cost? Somewhere between “a heck of a lot” and “not as much as you might think.”

Sure, college is expensive, but a new online tool unveiled last week, Tuition Tracker, is trying to take some of the mystery out of college pricing.

Latest News

College Costs Increasing Dramatically for Poor Students. For Wealthy Students? Not So Much

The price of a college education has skyrocketed over the past decade—but not for wealthy Americans. Recent federal data shows it’s actually the families who can least afford a college education who have seen their costs double or triple over the past five years, as they bear the brunt of outrageous tuition hikes and funding cuts.

Latest News

Oregon: Data Shows Low-Income Students Bear Bulk of Tuition Increases, University of Oregon Among Most Affordable

According to an article in Dallas News, the data shows a widening gap between country’s rich and poor, making it increasingly difficult for low-income students to go to college. The University of Oregon offers one of the most affordable net price tuition rates (cost of attendance minus grant and scholarship aid) in the state for low-income students.

Latest News

Tool Helps Families Compare College Sticker Price Vs. Net Price

Does it cost more to attend a taxpayer-subsidized state university or a private liberal arts college?

It depends on the school, but it’s not the easiest information to come by, since some private liberal arts colleges offer many families a hefty discount, based on their income, bringing down the average cost.

Latest News

Net Price of College Rises More for Low-Income Than Wealthy Students

The net price is often welcome news, since most families get some form of discount. However, this analysis shows that, from 2008-09 to 2011-12, students from lower-income families at many colleges are actually paying more while prices have come down for upper-income students. Over that time period, the net price for college increased for all students by an average of $1,100 at public institutions and $1,500 at private ones between 2008-09 and 2011-12, according to data from the U.S. Department of Education.

Latest News

Editorial: Much College Aid Goes To The Affluent

The published cost to attend a Texas public university exceeds $20,000 a year for in-state students. Aid programs exist to help students from less-affluent backgrounds trim thousands from the cost, but it takes savvy to ferret them out.

A good tool is, which helps get parents and students the information they need to make decisions they can afford.

Higher education shouldn’t be just for the privileged. It must be affordable and available to those who would benefit the most.

Latest News

Rising Tuition Costs Disproportionately Hit Poorest Students

At private universities, between the 2008-2009 and 2011-2012 academic years, students in the lowest income group saw their costs go up by around $1,700, while higher-income students saw costs rise by $850 to $1,200 dollars.

Jon Marcus of the The Hechinger Report joins Here & Now’s Robin Young to discuss his reporting.

Latest News

Ohio: Tuition Hikes Hit Hard on Poor

At 10 public community colleges and universities in Ohio, the net cost to low-income students increased by an average of $3,490; meanwhile, the increase for the high-income students — those in an income category of $110,000 or more — had an average increase of $1,891.

Latest News

U.S. Universities Tailoring Financial Aid to Lure Well-to-Do Families

Students from low-income families in Nebraska have seen the net price of college rise faster than their higher-­income classmates’, an analysis of federal data shows.

The rise came despite initiatives in the state college and university systems to make tuition free for low-­income students in Nebraska, one of 21 states where the biggest percentage increase in net costs at public universities was borne by the poorest families.

But while attending most public colleges in Nebraska became more expensive for low-income students, it was a different story in Iowa.

Latest News

At Some California Colleges, Poorer Families Bear Greatest Burden

The surprising trend is playing out at many Bay Area schools, especially private universities, but the University of California is a notable exception.

At Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, the total bill for low-income freshmen — including housing, meals and books — rose 60 percent in three years to $26,100, on average, even after subtracting scholarships and grants. For wealthier students, that net cost grew by 6 percent.

Key Coverage

Texas Public Universities Are More Affordable Compared with Most States

Texas public universities remain more affordable compared with most states, though out-of-pocket costs for many families continue to rise.That’s based on a Dallas Morning News analysis of cost data that colleges report to the federal government.

The published cost to attend a Texas public university averages more than $20,000 a year for in-state students. Thanks to financial aid, most students pay less than that.

Special Project

Data Show Poorer Families Are Bearing the Brunt of College Price Hikes

Nick Mills of McKinney and his twin brother received scholarships from the University of North Texas based on academic success and family income, which made the school within financial reach. As states have cut spending on higher education, public universities have raised tuition to make up the difference. (Tom Fox/Courtesy: Dallas Morning News)

America’s colleges and universities are quietly shifting the burden of their big tuition increases onto low-income students, while many higher-income families are seeing their college costs rise more slowly, or even fall, an analysis of federal data shows.

It’s a trend financial-aid experts and some university administrators worry will further widen the gap between the nation’s rich and poor as college degrees—especially four-year ones—drift beyond the economic reach of growing numbers of students.

Special Project

Wealthier Families Increasingly Benefit from Federal, College Financial Aid

It’s not just colleges and universities that are shifting their financial aid from lower-income to higher-income students.

Tuition tax credits and other tax breaks to offset the cost of higher education — nearly invisible federal government subsidies for families that send their kids to college — also disproportionately benefit more affluent Americans. So do tax-deductible savings plans and the federal work-study program, which gives taxpayer dollars to students who take campus jobs to help pay for their expenses.

Special Project

How Some Families Pay Less for College Than Others

The sticker price at Pennsylvania State University runs about $30,000 a year for in-state students. At Swarthmore College, it’s nearly twice that.

Yet Swarthmore ends up being cheaper for most students. That’s because this private liberal-arts college near Philadelphia offers many families a hefty discount, bringing down the average cost to even less than taxpayer-subsidized Penn State’s.