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Ignore the sticker price: How have college prices really changed?


Education Policy | Brookings

TLDR; Rising college costs are a concern, but the actual price students pay is often less than the sticker price due to financial aid. The net price has stabilized and even fallen in recent years, but it has risen for families at all income levels. The net price is consistently higher at private institutions, and it has only increased for higher-income students. The sticker price is a poor indicator of college costs, and tracking it should be done with caution. The net price has increased over time for students at all income levels, and college costs are still too high, especially for lower- and middle-income students. The analysis is based on data from 1995-1996 through 2019-2020 and provides insights into the changing net prices…

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