Where Does Your College Tuition Actually Go?

College tuition is one of the things that many people have concerns about but don’t actually know a lot about. Of course, if you’re currently in college or interested in attending college, you’re more than likely going to have to pay at least some of your college tuition. The changes and growth in tuition have become a huge political and social discussion, especially in the last few years. However, even with all this discussion, you might not know a lot about college tuition. Here’s what you need to know about what your college tuition pays for.

What Does Your College Tuition Actually Pay For?

A Full Breakdown of College Tuition Spending

The United States Department of Education collects a variety of information on the ways in which colleges spend their money. By dividing college spending into a number of different categories, you can get a better understanding of the college’s priorities.

However, these numbers don’t always get the point across in the easiest way. You may want an easier breakdown of the ways in which colleges spend the money you pay them. Possibly the best way for you to understand is to consider the way a college would spend $100 of your money.

$61.46 of this $100 would go to direct education costs, which would play out like this:
$15.81 – Salaries
$11.47 – General Instruction Expenses
$9.61 – Auxiliary Student Enterprises
$8.26 – Academic Support
$8.15 – Institutional Support
$4.75 – Student Services
$3.41 – Grants and Financial Aid
These direct education costs are necessary for your college to function and provide you with the services you have available.

The other $38.54 of this $100 is less direct university costs, which typically plays out like this:
$15.58 – Hospitals and Healthcare
$11.66 – Research
$6.25 – Other, Including Taxes and Liabilities
$4.52 – Public Services
$0.53 – Independent Operations
With these two things combined, your university is able to function above and beyond just the basic functioning system that you expect from a college.

Private and Public College Tuition

The difference between private and public college tuition tends to be many thousands of dollars per year. According to the College Board, on average, private school tuition, fees, room, and board costs $27,920 more per year than public school, adding up to $111,680 more for a four-year degree.

There are also differences in where public and private schools use that tuition. Salaries and other instruction expenses tend to be about 2.5 times higher for private schools than public schools, matching up well to the 2.2 times higher tuition tends to be. However, grants to students are actually less widespread with private schools; public schools spend more than three times the amount that private schools do.

Conclusion

College tuition is different for every school across the country. When you look at just an aggregate average, you won’t be able to tell exactly what you’ll get from an individual college. However, one thing you will get is information about how school is becoming less affordable for most college-age students. Regardless of what you think the best choice for college tuition is moving forward, having this information can be incredibly useful when you start to talk about it with other people.

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