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Average Undergraduate Charge at Public 4-Year Institutions as a Percentage of Disposable Personal Income (Percent)

State Indicator S-25

This indicator represents a broad measure of how affordable higher education at a public institution is for the average resident. It is calculated by dividing the average undergraduate charge at public 4-year institutions in the state by the per capita disposable personal income of state residents. The average undergraduate charge includes standard in-state tuition, room, board, and required fees for a student who is a resident of the state; it does not include any adjustment for financial aid that a student might receive. Data on state expenditures on student aid, which may reduce the nominal charges facing students, are provided in indicator S-26. The year is the end date of the academic year. For example, data for 2016 represent costs for the 2015–16 academic year.

Average undergraduate charge is collected from institutions by the National Center for Education Statistics in the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System.

Disposable personal income is the income available to state residents for spending or saving. It is calculated as personal income minus personal current taxes paid to federal, state, and local governments.

High values indicate that a year of undergraduate education consumes a high percentage of the disposable personal income of state residents. Undergraduate charges have generally increased relative to per capita income, and beginning in the early 2010s, the cost of a year of undergraduate education at a public institution began to exceed 50% of per capita disposable income in many states. Large increases in state per capita income in a given period may mask increases in undergraduate charges.

Data sources: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics; U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, State and Local Personal Income data.

  • 1st Quartile

    50.88%59.55%
  • 2nd Quartile

    44.75%50.52%
  • 3rd Quartile

    39.92%44.73%
  • 4th Quartile

    28.14%39.6%
  • No data

Footnote

NA = not available.

NOTES: The national average charge for the United States is the value reported by NCES and does not include U.S. territories. Average charges are for full-time equivalent students. Average charges include in-state tuition, fees, room, and board; The national value for the United States for per capita disposable income is the value reported by the Bureau of Economic Analysis and does not include U.S. territories.

SOURCE: National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics (various years), data as of March 2017; U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, State and Local Personal Income data (various years), data as of September 2017.

Recommended Citation: National Science Board. 2018. “Average Undergraduate Charge at Public 4-Year Institutions as a Percentage of Disposable Personal Income.” Science and Engineering Indicators 2018, State Indicators. Alexandria, VA: National Science Foundation (NSB-2018-1). https://www.nsf.gov/statistics/state-indicators/indicator/ave-undergraduate-charge-per-capita-disposable-income

Last updated: January 18, 2018