Each year at Taming the High Cost of College, I provide the latest available data to show how much families actually pay for college based on their income bracket.
All costs are the average net cost paid by families in each income bracket, after government grants and institutional scholarships are deducted from the cost of attendance. Loans of any kind are not included.
Costs are provided for the most popular schools in all 50 U.S. states, with current costs based on the 2016-17 school year. This is the latest available data as of January, 2019.
All data is sourced from the National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator, a U.S. federal government website. As part of their participation in federal financial aid programs, schools are required to report data to the NCES, which later publishes it on the College Navigator website.
Here are the exact definitions of the data used to compile the cost tables:
Average net price by income for full-time beginning undergraduate students who paid the in-state or in-district tuition rate and were awarded Title IV aid. Beginning students are those who are entering post-secondary education for the first time.
Title IV aid to students includes grant aid, work study aid, and loan aid. These include: Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG), National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant (National SMART Grant), Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant, Federal Work-Study, Federal Perkins Loan, Subsidized Direct or FFEL Stafford Loan, and Unsubsidized Direct or FFEL Stafford Loan.
For those Title IV recipients, net price is reported by income category and includes students who received federal aid even if none of that aid was provided in the form of grants. While Title IV status defines the cohort of student for which the data are reported, the definition of net price remains the same: total cost of attendance minus grant aid.